May 24, 2020

We All Need More CREEPSHOW in Our Lives
CREEPSHOW SEASON 1 (Blu-ray Review)
Starring Adrienne Barbeau, Tobin Bell, Bruce Davison, Giancarlo Esposito, Jeffrey Combs, Tricia Helfer, D.J. Qualls, Cailey Fleming, Dana Gould, David Arquette. Various directors. (2019/265 min)

Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat😺

The original Creepshow was arguably the best horror anthology film ever made...scary, gory, funny and very stylish, with a colorful comic book aesthetic that made it unique for its time. More importantly, it was consistent. Whereas most other anthology films always seemed to have a clunker or two, all the stories in Creepshow displayed the same black-humored playfulness, as envisioned by one director (George A. Romero) and one screenwriter (Stephen King).

Though it seems like it should have happened years ago, Creepshow is now a TV series streaming on Shudder. I’m happy - and somewhat relieved - to say it retains the look and spirit of the original film, right down to the transitional comic book panels, as well as the return of “The Creep” (through both animation and puppetry). But even if you first tuned-in on Shudder or AMC, this 3-disc Blu-ray set is still worth picking up because it’s loaded with substantial bonus features...not-to-mention being binge-worthy and rewatchable.

What naughty kids get for Christmas.
Overseen by executive producer Greg Nicotero, these six episodes – consisting of two stories each – are the work of various writers and directors, a few of whom were involved in the original film. Hence, the individual stories vary in quality, but so far, the show’s overall batting average is pretty damn good. The series begins with a bang with “Gray Matter,” a dread-fueled piece based on one of my all-time favorite Stephen King tales, followed by “House of the Head.” The latter is directed by John Harrison (Creepshow 2) and is as much horrifying fun as anything from the original film.

In subsequent episodes, stand-out stories include “Bad Wolf Down,” an amusing spin on werewolf lore set during World War II; “Skincrawlers” is a hilarious and nasty satire of weight-loss programs; in “The Man in the Suitcase,” a few slackers get more than they bargained for with a titular character who spits out gold coins when in pain; “Lydia Layne’s Better Half” has a corporate executive trying to dispose of her dead girlfriend after accidentally killing her, but gets trapped in an elevator with the body.

"You said to pack light."
While none of the stories are terrible, a few of them never really take off. We don’t really need another retelling of “The Monkey’s Paw,” and while “Times is Tough in Musky Holler” has some social satire that’s pure Romero, the story itself is convoluted. Considering the final tale is based on a Joe Hill story and directed by Tom Savini, “By the Silver Waters of Lake Champlain” is a surprising disappointment.

From a technical standpoint, though, every episode is extremely well put together, utilizing good old fashioned practical effects, deliberately artificial production design and a playfully sinister music score. And of course, the whole thing retains the colorful comic book look of the film that inspired it. With great performances by a large cast of familiar faces, Creepshow Season 1 is fun old school horror. Fast-paced, gory and often really funny, they’ve done King and Romero proud.

FEATURETTES – For all 6 episodes
BEHIND-THE-SCENES FOOTAGE – For all 6 episodes
AUDIO COMMENTARIES – For all 6 episodes
SERIES 1 FEATURETTES -Creepshow Resurrected”; “Acting Scared”; “The Past is Present”; “The New Blood”; “Joe Hill: Full Circle”; “Ripped from the Pages”; “Creature Comforts”
EASTER EGG (Disc 3 – click the pair of orange eyes on the Series 1 Screen) Fittingly, this features a plethora of Easter Eggs throughout the series paying homage to the original Creepshow, Stephen King and a slew of other classic horror films.
SUPPLEMENTARY BOOKLET – Featuring comic art, cast & crew credits

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