FearTASTIC Vault O’FUN #78
Creepshow (TV Series – 2019)
Welcome to PART TWO of our THREE PART love fest for the show that made the streaming network SHUDDER worth the sweet, low price of about $6 a month (I’m waiting for my check Shudder, your move)!
After the first two episodes (CLICK HERE), one can think that a show may lose steam; pretty much the curse of a lot of streaming shows (looking at you Netflix Marvel shows)! I speculate this is because most shows try to start with a formidable BANG and try to end with anything but a whimper in order to seduce the audience back for a second season. The middle however…for some shows…seem to lack basic…care. Sub-plots get sloppy, main story line starts to reek of desperation by turning the show on its head without much purpose and by the climax of the show, you’re just praying to a higher power that the show ends on a high note. Enter the beauty of anthology shows.
What’s great about the format of Creepshow is that each episode consists of two short, straight to the point, no frills but big thrills, frightfully entertaining shorts. I’m sure there are intricacies to how the episodes are chosen but the way this season played out, it really seemed like one could have put all the titles in a bowl and chose at random on the order in which they were shown. The rich collaboration of writers/directors/actors churned out such solid episodes of different tones that the order MUST have been chosen at random! Then again, I’m a crazy person, bring on the shorts!
All Hallows Eve
Director(s): John Harrison
Writer(s): Bruce Jones
Starring: Connor Christie, Madison Thompson, Jasun Jabbar, Andrew Eakle
This entry had a great blend of youthful energy, creepiness and heart that it almost seemed like a great throwback to another anthology show favorite, Are You Afraid of the Dark. The story is innocent enough with a group of Trick or Treaters going around town arguing like normal teens do and going around a town who seem to treat them with despair. What I like about this entry is that it made me feel like I was back in elementary school reading this story in a random book of Scary Stories. It could have easily been a Goosebumps book if the story was fleshed out a bit more but then again, the beauty of this tale was that the creepiness of how it ended with the big reveal being so sudden. The last couple minutes of the short could have been ripped out of a sappy Pixar movie but it really worked based on the nature of the story. SOLID entry to start off the middle of the series.
The Man in the Suitcase
Director(s): David Bruckner
Writer(s): Christopher Buehlman
Starring: Will Kindrachuk, Madison Bailey, Ravi Naidu
While All Hallows Eve felt like an entry from pre-teen horror series, The Man in the Suitcase could have easily been from Aesop’s Fables! This entry was as funny as it was creepy with the main character coming into possession of a man trapped inside a suitcase that comes with unexpected power. If I were to continue, you can probably guess how this story ends but the way it gets to the climax and conclusion was entertaining form beginning to end. The creepy factor was definitely the introduction of the man in the suitcase and although the reveal of the man’s true identity could have benefited from some practical effects, the overall payoff is still quite satisfying.
Director(s): David Bruckner
Writer(s): Matt Venne (Story by Joe R. Lansdale, Kasey Lansdale and Keith Lansdale)
Starring: Logan Allen, Voltaire Colin Council, Afemo Omilami
After two entries that were solid, yet light-hearted, it was nice to get back into monstrous tones of macabre goodness! The story follows a boy who is trying to escape from his psycho brother and ends up on an abandoned farm that hides a terrifying secret about the scarecrow hanging in the field. I think at this point you can figure out what happens with the scarecrow but the practical effects used to bring this scarecrow to life came straight from the delightful 80s horror flicks that I hold so dear. Was the story predictable? SURE but without sounding too dismissive, who gives a shit? What’s great about Creepshow is that the lifeless thing is coming to life, you know its going to kill for revenge/for the sake of killing/etc. but guess what? You have such a great time with it because you look for the style and substance of how they bring this thing to glorious life and this short delivered on every aspect.
Lydia Layne’s Better Half
Director(s): Roxanne Benjamin
Writer(s): John Harrison (Story by John Harrison and Greg Nicotero)
Starring: Tricia Helfer, Danielle Lyn
This series throws another wonderful curveball by introducing the first psychological thriller in the world of Creepshow…well sort of…but YAY! Not all scares need monsters and not all jumps require a loud noise. What I love about this entry is that the point of the tale is pretty obvious within the first 10 minutes and what follows is a wonderful example of how someone can start going insane from a situation that hey caused themselves. The story of a powerful woman who makes a grave mistake turns into a mental cat and mouse game that delivered a powerful performance from Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer. Although one can argue that the ending may have been unnecessary in the vein of a psychological thriller, I actually think it was a clever way of ending the story in a classic Creepshow way but still keeping that great tone of mental suspense that was spooky and delightful.
Now that I think about it, the third episode had two stories that could come straight from story books and the fourth episode showed classic tales from two different side of the horror coin (monsters and thrillers). Perhaps I’m wrong about the randomness of how these episodes are chosen to be in what order for this series. What I do know however, that this series DID NOT suffer from mid-season blues so for that, I’m very thankful.
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.