After many, many years in limbo, “Creepshow” is finally revived by Shudder/AMC Networks for a modern generation bringing the love child of George Romero, Tom Savini, and Stephen King back for more terror. Premiering exclusively on the Shudder streaming service (then later on AMC), “Creepshow” is led by legendary Gregory Nicotero, doing everything to pay tribute to the EC Comics and the 1982 horror masterpiece. With six episodes featuring stories by Joe Hill (NOS4A2), Joe Lansdale (Bubba Ho-Tep), Josh Malerman (Bird Box), and Paul Dini et al., “Creepshow” is a great companion to the original pair of classic anthology films.
Show runner and Director Nicotero prefers to stick to the original comic book format for this revival, centering more on the original and adapted short stories, where the Creeper resides as a background presence. At two short stories per episode, “Creepshow” offers up a first season that varies in tales that might just please anyone clamoring for a return to the universe. Among the best of the horror tales, there’s the addiction allegory “Gray Matter,” the ambiguous tale about insanity called “The Finger,” the excellent revenge tale “All Hallow’s Eve” the classic EC Comics morality tale “The Man in the Suitcase,” which is easily my favorite of the season.
There are also some genuine chillers like the throwback to contemporary folklore “The Companion” and “Lydia Layne’s Better Half,” another classic comeuppance tale that thrives on suffocating claustrophobia and ends on a high note that’ll leave many talking. Even weak tales like “Night of the Paw” and “Bad Wolf Down” aren’t much, but end on particular high notes. All in all, despite its limited budget, Nicotero and co. are able to produce some fantastic horror yarns, all of which pack in dark comedy, pretty creepy twists, and a ton of nods to the original Romero/Savini/King films.
“House of the Head” and “Gray Matter,” in particular, offers some very clever meta-nods to Stephen King, even bringing in one of banner icons from “Creepshow 2” for the former tale. The cast are also pretty excellent with folks like Giancarlo Esposito, Cailey Fleming, Tricia Helfer, Tobin Bell, DJ Qualls, and Adrienne Barbeau (returning to the “Creepshow” universe!) respectively, appearing for some banner performances.
“Creepshow” is a pretty excellent carrier of the torch for Romero’s love child, and it promises even more surprises with the upcoming second season. For fans of physical media, this is a great compliment to the deluxe editions of “Creepshow” and “Creepshow 2” for the library.
The set from Image Entertainment and Shudder features story-specific audio commentaries for various episodes with Episode 5 even featuring two commentaries. Greg Nicotero offers up a lot of info within the commentaries. The commentaries include Episode 1 featuring Greg Nicotero & co-writer Philip de Blasi for Gray Matter – Director John Harrison with Michael Felsher for The House of the Head, Episode 2 featuring Michael Felsher and Rob Schrab for Bad Wolf Down – Greg Nicotero with writer David J. Schow, Episode 3 for The Man In The Suitcase Audio Commentary featuring Michael Felsher with John Harrison for All Hallow’s Eve, and Michael Felsher with David Bruckner for The Man in the Suitcase
Episode 4 featuring David Bruckner with Matt Venne for The Companion, and Roxanne Benjamin with Greg Nicotero for Lydia Layne’s Better Half, Episode 5 featuring Michael Felsher with John Harrison for Night of the Paw & Times is Tough in Musky Holler and the second pair of commentaries with Michael Felsher with John Esposito for Night of the Paw, and Michael Felsher with co-writer John Skipp for times is Tough in Musky Holler.
Finally there’s the Episode 6 commentary featuring Greg Nicotero, Roxanne Benjamin, Dana Gould for Skincrawlers, and Michael Felsher with Director Tom Savini for By The Silver Water of Lake Champlain. Last but not least, there’s the fantastic hour long “Creepshow Resurrected,” a documentary that tackles the reboot of the famed horror series, and includes episode specific behind the scenes and discussions about their relations to the classic films and whatnot. They can be watched in chapter form or all in one. In either case, it’s a great segment for folks that can’t get enough “Creepshow.”
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