Movies & TV / Reviews

Creepshow (Season 1) DVD Review

June 16, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Creepshow Gray Matter
8
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
12345678910
Your Grade
Loading...
Creepshow (Season 1) DVD Review  

Creepshow Season 1 DVD Review

(see the full cast and crew here)

Distributed by Shudder and RLJE Films

https://www.facebook.com/CreepshowTV/

Buy it here

CreepshowSeason1DVD

Creepshow, the horror anthology TV show based on the movie franchise created by George A. Romero and Stephen King, recently completed its first season on Shudder (the show has also aired on AMC, the parent company of Shudder), and the season is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from RLJE Films. Like pretty much every anthology TV show that I’ve ever seen, some of the episodes of Creepshow are excellent and some are just okay. There are six episodes, with each episode telling two different stories (each episode runs about 45 minutes and each story is roughly 20 minutes long, although some are a slightly longer and some are shorter). The episodes are not linked in any way. Each story is a self-contained tale. And I’m guessing that the whole “each episode tells two different stories” thing is to mimic both Creepshow movies, as both Creepshow and Creepshow 2 told very different stories in each movie (there is a movie that’s called Creepshow III, which isn’t terrible, but at the same time it has absolutely no business being called Creepshow anything). The show was spearheaded by Gregory Nicotero, the legendary special makeup effects artist from KNB Effects and producer and director on The Walking Dead. Nicotero worked with George A. Romero multiple times (Nicotero even had a bit part in Romero’s Day of the Dead) and fellow make up effects legend Tom Savini (Savini created the make-up effects for the original Creepshow and played the Creep in Creepshow 2), so it makes sense to have Nicotero involved. You know that, with Nicotero involved, the show will have its heart in the right place, even if the show isn’t successful. Thankfully, the show is successful, and it’s definitely worth your time if you’re a Creepshow fan, a fan of horror anthology shows, or just a fan of horror in general.

Each episode is “introduced” by the Creep, either in live action form or in animated form. The Creep never says anything (he’s more the Creep from the first movie as opposed to the second), but he does sort of laugh. The people and things he interacts with tend to be scared of him, and for good reason, since the Creep is some kind of demonic skeleton zombie thing. The practical special effects used are all excellent and gruesome. The 2D animated sequences definitely mimic the “cheapness” of the animation used in Creepshow 2 and actually add another level of unease to the proceedings. To me, the cheaper the animation, the scarier it tends to be. I’m not really sure why that is.

The whole “Creepshow comic” idea is also used throughout the show and it’s usually pretty awesome. My only real complaint with some of these comic page sequences is they’re not on screen long enough to read the captions and word boxes. Yes, I could pause the episode and read the boxes then, but I’d rather not do that. Of course, if there was some sort of voice narration from the Creep we wouldn’t have to worry about having to pause and read anything, but I don’t see that changing in a potential season 2. If the information in the boxes is important to help set up the story, some sort of effort should be made to allow the audience to read the information in the boxes. Otherwise, why do it?

As I said, there are six episodes and twelve stories. I’m going to provide a brief review of each episode and each story.

Episode 1

“Grey Matter”

The debut story, directed by Gregory Nicotero and written by Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi, based on a story by Stephen King, features an all-star cast (Adrienne Barbeau, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tobin Bell), takes place during a hurricane in a small town that’s deserted, presumably because of the storm. A kid walks into a restaurant/store owned by Barbeau’s character to buy some beer for his father, which leads to some revelations about the kid’s father and, ultimately, what’s really going on in the town. The first half of this story is pretty good, but the whole thing peters out when we find out the truth because it’s too much to believe. The special effects, though, are outstanding (there’s a nice mix of practical effects and CGI enhancements), and the top notch cast really sell what’s going on, even if it’s just too hard to believe. The story might have played better if it was longer/there was a better explanation of what’s going on. As it is, it doesn’t quite work the way it should/needs to in order to be completely successful. The special effects, though, are amazing.

“The House of the Head”

Directed by John Harrison (he did the music on several Romero movies and directed the feature length version of Tales from the Darkside) with a script by Josh Malerman, and it’s about a little girl getting freaked out by the goings on in her new doll house. Basically, a weird severed doll head shows up, out of the blue, inside of the doll house, and the doll family is terrified. The little girl, Evie (a terrific Cailey Fleming), tries to help out the doll family by bringing in a cop doll and an Indian shaman doll, only for the severed head to decapitate them. We never see the demonic head do any of this nasty stuff, it happens all off screen, but it’s incredibly involving. You are on the edge of your seat the whole time as more and more nasty stuff happens inside of the doll house. The story kind of peters out at the end, but this is easily one of the best segments of the season.

Episode 2

“Bad Wolf Down”

Written and directed by Rob Schrab, this is a World War II set tale about a group of American soldiers that get trapped inside of a jail cell with a woman who turns out to be a werewolf. A group of Nazis, led by a character named Reinhard played by the Jeffrey Combs, is hot on the trail of the American soldiers. This story starts out strong, gets kind of lame in the middle (a certain character’s choices make no sense, at least to me), and then ramps up big time at the end as we see a pack of werewolves take out the Nazis. Very gory, very action packed, and some decent looking werewolf makeup. We don’t get any onscreen werewolf transformations, though, but we do get werewolf transformations via comic book panels. That’s a great way to do a werewolf transformation and not spend the money to do it on screen because it would have cost a fortune and Creepshow isn’t what you would call a super expensive show.

This segment would have been awesome as its own feature length movie. Werewolves vs. Nazis would make a great movie.

“The Finger”

Directed by Gregory Nicotero and written by David J. Schow and based on a story by Joe Hill, this is a very funny horror comedy segment featuring a top notch performance by DJ Qualls as a sad sack guy that enjoys looking for weird things on the ground and taking them home for his collection. One day, Qualls finds a weird as fuck finger on the ground that, as the story goes on, grows into a little fucking bone monster thing that becomes his best friend and starts killing the people that annoy him/cause him trouble. The monster puppet is fantastic and Qualls is perfect as the guy. He talks to the camera, he interacts with the puppet, and it all works brilliantly. Another excellent segment.

Episode 3

“All Hallow’s Eve”

Directed by John Harrison and written by Bruce Jones, this episode starts out weird, then actually comes together at the end. At the beginning, you have no idea what the hell is actually going on. Is this story about a small town that’s under siege by demonic children for some reason? Is every night some fucked up Halloween here? The story is actually about something else. I don’t want to say any more than that because it’s best to see this episode cold going in. There’s plenty of great atmosphere in this episode, too. The little town set is one place I don’t think I would want to visit, even in the best of circumstances.
I also want to say that the scary kids in this episode should definitely get their own merchandise. They’re that good and cool. I would buy a poster with their characters on it.

“The Man in the Suitcase”

Directed by David Bruckner and written by Christopher Buehlman, this is another great episode that works perfectly, ends brilliantly, and works throughout. Will Kindrachuk plays Justin, a sort of dipshit college student that picks up the wrong luggage at the airport. When he gets home, he finds out that there’s a man (Ravi Naidu) crumpled up inside. Justin tries to remove the man from the suitcase but he can’t, and every time he inflicts pain on the man a gold coin shoots out of his mouth. Justin wants to call the cops for help, but Justin’s best friend Alex (Ian Gregg) and ex-girlfriend Carla (Madison Bailey), when they find out what’s going on, have other plans. You can sort of guess how it’s going to play out just by the plot description, but it’s still so well made and acted that you can’t stop watching. You will love the ending. I did.

Episode 4

“The Companion”

Directed by David Bruckner and written by Matt Venne, based on a story by Joe Lansdale, Kasey Lansdale, and Keith Lansdale, this segment is another one that starts out strong but eventually peters out, which is a shame because this segment has a lot going for it. I’m actually surprised that it isn’t a feature length movie story because it has all of the necessary elements for it. Basically, it’s about an abused kid that is chased by his abuser to a weird, seemingly abandoned farmhouse out in the middle of nowhere. We then see what happened at the farmhouse that made it abandoned, which is incredibly sad. There’s a terrific scarecrow creature in this segment, but I’m not entirely sure it all comes together at the end. This segment definitely needed more time. The ending isn’t as powerful as the segment seems to think it is.

“Lydia Layne’s Better Half”

Directed by Roxanne Benjamin and written by John Harrison, based on a story by Gregory Nicotero and Harrison, this segment is about a businesswoman, Lydia Layne (Tricia Helfer), who accidentally kills her lover and employee Celia (Danielle Lyn) after she gives a promotion to her office rival Tom (Michael Scialabba). Lydia, in a panic, tries to come up with a plan to remove Celia’s body from the building, and while riding down to the garage in the elevator the power goes out, trapping both Lydia and Celia’s body in the elevator. There’s some great suspense and paranoia in this segment, as Lydia suspects that Celia’s dead body really isn’t dead and is trying to kill her, but the supernatural element in the story doesn’t quite work. It would have been better without it. Still, there are some great scenes in the elevator, and Helfer rocks as the desperate woman who wants to get the hell out of that elevator. Definitely one of the best segments of the show.

Episode 5

“Night of the Paw”

Directed by John Harrison and written by John Esposito, this segment is about an assassin played by Hannah Barefoot that, after doing a job, ends up in a car accident and gets help from a distraught funeral director played by Bruce Davison. When the assassin, Angela, wakes up, she wants to know what the hell is going on, and Davison’s Avery Whitlock explains that it all has to do with a magical monkey’s paw that he has in his possession and that has fucked up his life. We then see, via flashback, just how the monkey’s paw fucked up Whitlock’s life. I think there’s way too much going on in this segment as the Whitlock flashback story is good but incomplete and the assassin story is just underdeveloped. It probably would have made more sense to do the Whitlock story as the segment and saved the assassin idea for something else. I suspect that the stories are connected because the final sequence is meant to be a big hooha shock, but I didn’t like it at all. Davison and Barefoot are good in their parts, though.

What the heck is the deal with the “Bruce Davison is on fire but not really” sequence?

“Times is Tough in Musky Holler”

Directed by John Harrison and written by John Skipp and Dori Miller, this is the least developed segment in the series. I’m not even entirely sure what it’s supposed to be about. I think it’s about a town that decides to get rid of its leaders in the midst of a zombie apocalypse because, when the zombie apocalypse started, the leaders turned into assholes or something. We see the old leaders strapped into chairs and then pulled up into a contraption that exposes their heads so they can be eaten by zombies. That’s pretty much the segment. There’s a pretty cool faceless zombie in it, but that’s about all to recommend about it. David Arquette is in it, but he really doesn’t do anything. What the hell happened with this segment? I don’t get it.

Episode 6

“Skincrawlers”

Directed by Roxanne Benjamin and written by Paul Dini and Stephen Langford, this segment is amazing. Dana Gould plays a fat guy that desperately wants to lose weight but stays away from a new weight loss scheme put together by a charismatic businessman played by Chad Michael Collins until he sees that “it works.” Gould’s character volunteers to go on TV and show the world just how the Chad Michael Collins weight loss scheme works, but before anything happens on that front, a really nasty surprise pops up when there’s an eclipse and people start exploding. Just every piece of this segment works, from the performances (Gould is perfect and Chad Michael Collins is just the right kind of nice guy sleaze as the weight loss guru) to the writing (this segment is hilarious) to the special effects. There’s a monster in this segment that will freak you the hell out.

“By the Waters of Lake Champlain”

Directed by Tom Savini and written by Jason Ciaramella, based on a story by Joe Hill, this is the sweetest segment of the first season. This is also another segment that all comes together brilliantly. Basically, it’s about a teen girl that wants to honor her dead father by finding the mythical lake monster that he spent a good chunk of his adult life looking for, a teen boy that wants to get to know the teen girl and who is obsessed with Rambo (he has The Rambo knife at his side at all times), and a complete fucking douchebag abusive stepfather that’s, well, a total fucking douchebag. You will love the kids, you will absolutely despise the stepfather (Chet, played by James Devoti), and you will love the way it ends. If this isn’t the best segment of the season, it’s easily in the top three. The monster may not look all that impressive but, trust me, it all makes sense and works.

Special Features

RLJE went all out with this DVD set, as there are tons of behind the scenes interviews and featurettes for each episode. Each episode also gets a commentary track. These are all fairly informative special features. It also sounds like everyone involved with the show really enjoyed doing it. Giancarlo Esposito’s interview is my favorite of the ones that I watched as he explains how much he loves working with Gregory Nicotero and how his movie and TV acting career started with Maximum Overdrive, the only movie Stephen King has ever directed (Esposito has a bit part as a guy that gets killed by a video game).

The DVD set also comes with a mini Creepshow comic that serves as a kind of insert for the set. The artwork in this comic is excellent. Hopefully someone does an actual comic adaptation of each episode as a big graphic novel thing. That would be cool and definitely worth reading.

Overall

This is a terrific set on all fronts. If you loved the show when it first aired on Shudder or you saw it on AMC, Creepshow Season 1 is worth having so you can relive the season and see how it was made/put together. There will be a season 2, although who knows when that will actually happen at this point. It will be interesting to see if Nicotero and company alter the show in any way, or if we get more of the same. I’m okay with more of the same.

Pick up Creepshow season 1. It’s worth your time. See it, see it, see it.

8.0
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Creepshow is a well-made, entertaining horror anthology TV show that works as a kind of continuation of the movie franchise and is its own thing entirely. Some segments are outstanding, and some segments don’t quite pan out, but even the bad segments are worth seeing. The DVD set is filled with plenty of cool special features including featurettes, interviews, and commentary tracks. This set is definitely worth owning, and the show is definitely worth seeing. Bring on season 2!
legend

article topics :

Creepshow, Bryan Kristopowitz