Creepshow Episode 4: Recap and Review
My relationship with the new Creepshow series has been real hit or miss. The show has been uneven to me and while the highs have been high the lows are really not my jam. As Shudder pointed out last week in a series of tweets (one of which starred yours truly) its this general unevenness that makes it so popular. What some people love others hate and vice versa. That being said episode four was a great microcosm. It had perhaps my favorite story of the season and my least favorite of the season. Lets start with the good news first.
“The Companion”One night, Harry stumbles upon an old scarecrow. But when he accidentally brings the scarecrow to life and finds a dead body in its wake, can he fix everything before he becomes the scarecrow’s next victim?Written by: Matt Venne, based on the short story by Joe R. Lansdale, Kasey Lansdale & Keith LansdaleDirected by: David BrucknerCast: Logan Allen, Afemo Omilami, Carey Jones, Voltaire Council, Dylan Gage, Addison Hershey
I think this show hits its prime when it uses good directors using excellent source material. With Joe R. Lansdale you know the source material is fantastic. This vignette felt like a slightly amped up Goosebumps novel. I mean that entirely as a compliment. The story starts out using a bully vs. victim plot device. There is a decent chance you can predict the ending of the story but the in-between is riddled with spooky graveyards, quiet abandoned farm houses, and of course monstrous scarecrows. While there was never a scarecrow universal monster there should have been and this episode is the only proof you need. With the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie success its no wonder Creepshow leans into the scarecrow motif. This scarcrow is leaner and certainly meaner. As someone that desperately wanted a werewolf as a best friend I can really dig how this movie ends. The practical effects are new enough they look great but hearken back to older effects so much it tugs on my nostalgic heartstrings. It might have replaced “Bad Wolf Down” as my favorite episode. It doesn’t have any Nazis but lets be honest bullies are pretty damn close.
“Lydia Layne’s Better Half” When Lydia accidentally kills her lover and needs to hide the evidence, she gets trapped in an elevator with the body. The temperature rises and Lydia begins to wonder: will she survive until rescue comes, or will she join her dead lover in hell?Written by: John Harrison, story by John Harrison & Greg NicoteroDirected by: Roxanne BenjaminCast: Tricia Helfer, Danielle Lyn, Michael Scialabba, Jordan Patrick
Let me preface what I am about to say with this statement, Greg Nicotero is an effects wizard. I mean that in the real sense of the word. Like what he does with latex, fake blood, and animatronics is nothing short of magic. I have mostly dug the episodes of The Walking Dead that he has helmed. As a fan of all things zombie I owe him….BIG. There I have gone on the record as being a Nicotero fan. That being said, the episodes he has written are my least favorite. “Lydia Layne’s Better Half” uses the hackneyed plot device of a stuck elevator to create panic and tension. Honestly I think the Blumhouse/Hulu Into the Dark episode “Down” did much more creative things with the environment and circumstances. The story is mostly routine and while it has the feel of some of the original creepshow vignettes it felt more pastiche than homage. I found myself waiting for the end of the episode. I knew what was going to happen. It did make me cringe a bit. Mostly though the highlights of the episode were exactly what you would expect from an episode with Nicotero’s influence. The gore and effects were pretty great. Unfortunately the story let it down. It didn’t have an adorable finger monster to redeem it which probably places it at the bottom of my list.
Creepshow, the new anthology series based on the 1982 horror comedy classic, is still the most fun you’ll ever have being scared! A comic book comes to life in a series of twelve vignettes over six episodes, exploring terrors from murder to the supernatural and unexplainable. Haunted dollhouses, werewolves, murderous goblins, villainous trick-or-treaters, the dead, and medical marvels are just a few of the things to watch out for in this new series. You never know what will be on the next page…
Check out a new episode every Thursday on Shudder. If you don’t have an account now would be a great time. Enter SIGNAL as a promo code to get a full month for free. That month should give you access to all the episodes. Tweet at me your episode rankings.
Tyler has been the editor in chief of Signal Horizon since its conception. He is also the Director of Monsters 101 at Truman State University a class that pairs horror movie criticism with survival skills to help middle and high school students learn critical thinking. When he is not watching, teaching or thinking about horror he is the Director of Debate and Forensics at a high school in Kansas City, Missouri.