Creepshow is the lovechild of two horror icons. Initially debuting back in 1982 as an anthology film written by Stephen King (his first feature film screenplay) and directed by George Romero, it spawned a series of beloved comic books and even a second film in 1987. Decades later, Creepshow returns with a vengeance as an anthology series and streaming exclusively on Shudder. Every episode is split into two standalone stories, each with a runtime of about twenty-something minutes.
Last week saw the premiere of the newly reanimated Creepshow. A week later, the series continues to show signs of life with its second episode, though overall it doesn’t quite leave the impression of last week’s stellar segment The House of the Head. Let’s take a quick look at what week two had to offer!
Bad Wolf Down
Written/directed by: Rob Schrab
The Creeper’s latest batch of scary stories to tell in the dark kicks off with a segment written and directed by Monster House scribe, and frequent Dan Harmon collaborator, Rob Schrab. Bad Wolf Down opens on a ragtag band of American soldiers during WWII who are forced to retreat following the gruesome onslaught of a ruthless Nazi officer (Jeffrey Combs) and his troops. The GI’s take shelter in an abandoned police station, but little do they know there is a werewolf in their midst.
Bad Wolf Down continues the longstanding tradition in horror of pairing up the Third Reich with lycans. This time out the two face off against one another and the end result is unexpectedly grizzly. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as much fun as it should be. The production value is spectacularly cheap.
I’ve always found that the physical transformation from human to werewolf is half of the appeal of this particular monster. If done right, not only can it make for one hell of a visual but it’s an effective way to communicate the character’s turmoil. Bad Wolf Down features a number of such transformations, but Schrab never lets us experience them. When the full moon rises on the police station and those stricken by lycanthropy are about to transition, the action freeze frames before fading into the animated aesthetic of a comic book, the kind Creepshow often utilizes. The comic then flips forward a few pages, as if being read by the Creeper itself, until landing on a panel featuring a fully transformed werewolf.
We then fade back into live-action with a pack of stiff-looking werewolf puppets that proceed to unleash hell on some unfortunate German souls. There’s plenty of blood, but too often is it difficult to make out exactly what is unfolding. Much of the horror is merely suggested as the editing tends to cut away from the kills you can clearly tell the producers deemed to expensive to show. It’s a shame too. Bad Wolf Down is the kind of bombastic grindhouse horror we don’t see much off these days. Unfortunately, it’s obvious that Shudder didn’t want to commit to the level of production this particular story requires.
⭐️⭐️ (out of five)
Directed by: Greg Nicotero
Written by: David J. Schow
Next up is The Finger, written by horror novelist David J. Schow and once again directed by Greg Nicotero. Clark Wilson (Supernatural’s DJ Qualls) stars as a deadbeat collector of discarded junk who coincidentally comes into the possession of, you guessed it, a severed finger. But to what, or whom, was it attached? Fascinated by its unknown origins, Clark takes the gnarly-looking appendage home and sets it in his refrigerator. Before Clark can once again complain about how his ex-wife abandoned him, the mysterious finger grows into a hand, then a full arm, and then a complete Xenomorph-like hellspawn with an affinity for its new master. Clark names the creature Bob and soon cops are knocking on Clark’s door questioning him about a batch of disappearances. Could Bob have anything to do with all this?
Admittedly, I was a bit out off of The Finger in its first half. Not only was I coming off the disappoint Bad Wolf Down, but this second segment heavily relies on voiceover narration from Clark, a self-righteous chatterbox. I’m typically not a fan of VO. I think it’s a lazy way to communicate information in a visual medium. Moreover, I tend to roll my eyes when it gets used in shorts like The Finger. Really, Schow, you can’t just tell a twenty-minute short story without the irritating verbal assault of a jerk like Clark?
Things start turning around once Bob comes into the picture. Sure, he looks like he just burst out of somebody’s chest, but he’s undeniably adorable the way he shoves popcorn into his snout while watching T.V or purrs like a kitten when he’s happy or hangs his head when he thinks he’s in trouble with Clark. By the time the episode ends, you’ll definitely want a Bob of your own.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ (out of five)
Those are my quick thoughts on the second episode of Shudder’s Creepshow series! Did you check them out yet? Do you even subscribe to Shudder? If so, let me know down in the comments below! I want to hear from you!