There is not a single 80s horror fan out there that won’t sing high praises for the Creepshow movies. Even if the films as a whole don’t stand up for most, there are certain segments that have become classics (such as The Raft in the first movie). These films fuelled a sense of nostalgia for the 50s and 60s style of horror comics, where the effects are physical, the music is dramatic, and the reactions are wide-eyed and over the top.
The Creepshow series is also firmly rooted in nostalgia. Except instead of being nostalgic for the horror comic style that the stories are fuelled by, my fondness for Creepshow is tethered by my nostalgia for the original movies. And it still works.
The cast so far is impressive featuring the likes of Adrienne Barbeau, Tobin Bell, Jeffrey Combs and DJ Quallis. They lean in to the bonkers stories with a dedication and glee that is admirable. The combination of the acting and the wonderfully fun physical effects make for an entertaining hour.
In the first four minutes of the first segment, there are enough Stephen King references to keep you salivating for days. This series, pulled together by the direction of Greg Nicotero, Tom Savini, and more, makes it clear that this is a series for horror fans, by horror fans. I know that I often say that horror is for everyone, and it is. But Creepshow seems designed as a treat for all of the fans that have hung in there through thick and thin, and don’t just go to the odd horror flick to impress a date. This series is made for those of us who live and breathe and dissect our horror; if this is you, you will not be disappointed.
The second story in the first episode, The House of the Head, was the real standout for me. A little girl plays with her one of a kind dollhouse, setting the scene for the happy “Mommy and Daddy and baby make three” family she dubs the Smith-Smiths. One day, the little girl opens the house to find a severed head on the kitchen table, with mom and dad looking extremely worried. The scenes continue to escalate, building with a tension that delivers some legitimately disturbing moments. The girl tries to save the family with the likes of a policeman doll, but things quickly go from bad to worse despite her efforts.
In the second episode, DJ Quallis is the standout in The Finger as a man lamenting his broken life as he wanders the street collecting junk to take home and fix up. He finds a finger on the road, and as the day goes on, the finger begins to morph into a creature named Bob. As Bob’s body forms, it becomes clear that he will do anything to please his new benefactor.
Told with the straightforwardness of the original films, Creepshow is successful because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Its willingness to just embrace the absurdity of the stories told and jump in quickly to tell the tale in approximately twenty minutes is refreshing.
For me, horror is serious business all year round. But October? Halloween is for fun! It’s a time to revisit the classics, re-watch childhood favourites, and maybe convert another couple of people to loving Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Halloween horror is all about the camp, and you can’t get much campier that the fun of Creepshow this year.
New episodes of Creepshow air every Thursday on Shudder.