Creepshow is a throwback of a horror anthology series, not only to the original 1982 film by George A. Romero and Stephen King, but also to the EC Comics of yore. This franchise has had a bit of a rocky history. Beyond the classic original film, there was a solid 1987 sequel, and an abysmal 2006 DTV third outing. As far as television continuations go, the cult classic ’80s show Tales from the Darkside began life as a Creepshow series, until rights issues prevented it. A (pretty great) film spinoff of that show followed in 1990, with many (including Romero & FX whiz Tom Savini) declaring it the true third film in the series. A rather awful aborted attempt at a webseries in 2009 (Creepshow Raw). After that, the property lied dormant for a decade.
Cut to 2019 and now we have a successful scripted revival series on Shudder, courtesy of Walking Dead maven Greg Nicotero. It’s a series that celebrates all things arch, camp, and kitschy within the horror genre, so it’s not for everyone. Things kicked off three years ago with a fairly solid first season, dishing out a few new great tales – some adapted, some new – like “The House of the Head“, “The Finger“, “The Companion“, and “By the Waters of Lake Champlain“.
So how does this second season stack up? I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a bit of a step down. The season gets off to a great start with the double-whammy of “Model Kid” and “Public Television of the Dead” in the premiere episode. The former sees a monster-loving kid unleashing some of his favorite beasties upon an abusive uncle. The latter is a delightful send-up of The Evil Dead franchise that pits Deadites against the staff of PBS-esque public access station. If you’ve ever wanted to see a Bob Ross analog as a stand-in for Ash Williams, consider your bizarre wish granted!
Unfortunately, it’s almost entirely downhill after that. None of the episodes that follow are unwatchable, but most of them fail to move the needle and on the whole these are lower in quality than even the lesser first season episodes. The same holds true for the two holiday specials that are all included on the disc: the animated Halloween episode and the supersized Christmas one. All of the performers give these tales their all, but a combination of thin scripts and cheap production values undercut them at almost every turn. It’s hard to hold this against the series, however, given that all of this was shot during the height of the pandemic.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. The final (extended) episode of the season, “Night of the Living Late Show“, leaves things on a high note. The basic gist is that Justin Long’s lead character has created a VR system that can allow you to enter your favorite films. This is used to great effect in the tale, as we see Long’s Simon Sherman inserted into 1972’s Horror Express, and then later 1968’s Night of the Living Dead. Getting to live out your favorite horror movies sounds like a dream, but in true EC fashion, soon becomes a nightmare for Simon. It’s a deliciously fun ending to an overall humdrum season.
Despite the fact that I ultimately didn’t enjoy the bulk of the episodes in this set, this is a handsome release nonetheless. The painted cover that adorns both the slip and sleeve is beautiful, as is the alternate imagery on the other side of the sleeve. We are also treated to a nice assortment of special features: 4 featurettes (including one centered solely around “Late Show“) and 4 photo galleries, all of which nicely detail the ins and outs of the productions of both the season and the two holiday specials. To top it all off, there’s also a great little booklet showcasing both the production credits and the comic art for each episode and special.
Bottom line? If you are either a fan of the show or a Creepshow completist (or both), this is a stacked release worth adding to your home video collection. Plus “Model Kid“, “Public Television of the Dead“, and “Night of the Living Late Show” are all downright great.
Creepshow is an anthology horror television series. It was created Greg Nicotero and is based on a film by George A. Romero and Stephen King. This season guest stars Anna Camp, Barbara Crampton, Denise Crosby, Keith David, Kevin Dillon, Hannah Fierman, C. Thomas Howell, Ashley Laurence, Joey King, Ryan Kwanten, Ali Larter, Justin Long, Josh McDermitt, Breckin Meyer, Adam Pally, Ted Raimi, Molly Ringwald, and Kiefer Sutherland.