Updated: Nov 16, 2019
At the tender age of 7 years old, I was a mere slip of a lad when the original Creepshow (1982) appeared. Created by Stephen King and George A Romero and based on the E.C. horror comics of the 1950’s, Creepshow was an anthology, comprised of five tales of terror. Both funny and inventive, Creepshow gained itself a Cult following over the years. Each story was directed by Romero and written by King and boasted a huge array of stars of the time, such as, Adrienne Barbeau, Leslie Nielsen and Ted Danson to name but a few. Sure the stories were cheesy but that only helped capture the feel of the Comics it emulated.
A sequel followed in 1987 and I’m pretty sure I saw part 2 first, being that little bit older. This time around we got three stories instead of the five and George Romero and Stephen King served as writers, while Directing duties went to Michael Gornick (Stephen King’s Golden Years, Tales From the Darkside). I remember being really impressed with the story, segment, The Raft. My young, impressionable self totally won over by the gore and naked boobies.
A Part 3 was released in 2006 but all I really remember about it was not liking it a whole lot. My only advice would be, If you haven’t already seen it, avoid like the plague.
A little while ago I read that Shudder would be producing an updated TV series bearing the Creepshow name. Given the strength of many of the horror themed TV shows being released lately, my interest nipple was tweaked.
For those of you who don’t know, Shudder is like a scary Netflix. For a small subscription fee they bring you a wide collection of horror movies, TV shows and original content. They even recently had their own theme music composed by none other than John Carpenter. Take that Netflix..
On learning of it’s release, I logged in, settled down and prepared for a binge only to discover that it appears that Shudder are releasing it episodically on a weekly basis. A tad annoyed by this, I resigned myself to a one episode teaser. But was it any good I hear you ask..
In short, Yes.
Episode one is comprised of two stories which looks to be the theme of the series. The first segment is a story entitled, Grey Matter and stars Adrienne Barbeau ( The Fog, Escape From New York) and Tobin Bell (Saw 1 - 700). It tells the tale of a boy who’s father has taken to hard drinking due to the grief caused by the loss of his wife.
One night during a storm, the boy enters a shop, owned by Barbeau’s character to purchase beers for his father. Visibly upset by something, she offers the boy shelter and a meal while the local Sheriff played by Bell and accompanied by the towns Doctor, Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), go to check on the boys father.
Something bizarre has happened to the father. It seems the brand of beer he has been drinking has turned him in to a strange, gooey, grey monster with a hunger that grows the more he eats.
Upon entering the house they find that his hunger began with small animals but has grown significantly. The discovery of the half digested bodies of Twin girls does the job of convincing the pair that they need to get the fuck out of Dodge.
Meanwhile, the kindly old shopkeeper makes a horrifying discovery of her own. The Boy has set the Sheriff and Doctor up, driven by his screwed up loyalty to his sticky, Dad, Monster.
The story is all kinds of silly but enjoyable none the less. The special effects are pretty decent and the casting of Tobin Bell and Adrienne Barbeau is a nice treat.
Story number 2 is entitled House of the Head and is by far the superior story. It tells the tale of Evie, a little girl who loves playing with her Doll House. She places the Dolls around the house daily and has given them the family name of the SmithSmiths. That’s not a typo. She called them the Smithsmiths.
One day after returning home from school she runs upstairs to her Doll House and makes a horrifying discovery. A tiny, decomposing, severed head is placed on the small coffee table of the house and the Smithsmiths appear to have been placed in positions that signify their fear.
Over the course of the next few days things get worse in the Doll House so while visiting the local toy shop, Evie decides to buy a Doll of a Policeman. She gets home and puts the Police Doll in the house in the hope that he will investigate what is going on. Evie arrives home the next day to discover the Policeman Doll has been murdered by decapitation.
At this point I am aware how silly this all sounds but it’s actually well handled and comes over as creepy more than silly.
Evie visits the Toy shop once again in the hope of purchasing a Priest Doll to perform an exorcism. The shop owner explains that he doesn’t sell Priest Dolls but he does have a Native American Chief Doll and that Native Americans where very spiritual People. She accepts the Doll and returns home.
It’s worth noting that the Chief Doll is a miniature version of Old Chief Wooden Head, the statue of the Native American Chief who came to life in Creepshow 2 which is a nice touch.
It’s not Long before Chief Wooden Head becomes the next victim in the mysterious Toy slaying and the Smithsmiths keep being placed in creeper positions. The Severed head keeps popping up in the weirdest of places around the Doll House.
Its all very weird but executed well and the story makes something that sounds like nonsense into a tight, spooky tale.
On the whole, this is a solid first episode and hopefully it sets the tone for what is to follow. Personally I am excited for the next episode. Greg Nicotero, the man behind the gore effects on The Walking Dead has brought the series to production and with contributions from the likes of Stephen King and Tom Savini, it would seem that the show is in good hands.
Watch this space for more reviews as the series airs.