Martin Carr reviews season 2 of AMC’s Creepshow on Shudder…
Executive producer and make up maestro Greg Nicotero, has hit pay dirt with season two of Creepshow. With a third season already greenlit, those over at AMC clearly think this nostalgic anthology has legs. With an adherence to practical effects, old school jump scares and a pulp fiction lineage they may have a point. Whether we are talking about Model Kid, which combines old monster movies with voodoo witchcraft, or Sam Raimi pastiche Public Television of the Dead; there is homage amongst the horror.
Casting also feeds into this success, either through the presence of Tobin Bell in season one or Keith David this time round. Iconic actors intrinsically linked to a movie moment in time, broaden the appeal for those fanboy aficionados. Brat pack alumni includes C. Thomas Howell in Dead and Breakfast, as well as Pretty in Pink princess Molly Ringwald for Sibling Rivalry.
By combining pitch black humour with leftfield twists, Creepshow is reinvigorating audience interest. With a gentle hat tip to painter Bob Ross in Public Television of the Dead, this show also embraces films like From Dusk Till Dawn, turning mild mannered bystanders into granite lined action heroes. Not only does this tap into the gallows humour present in George A. Romero movies, but acknowledges those who followed including Robert Rodriguez.
Beyond that Creepshow addresses the rites of passage sub-genre through Model Kid. Terminal disease, domestic abuse and the formative influence of film, all tie together in this old fashioned fireside fable. Elsewhere Pesticide taps into the under rated Steven Spielberg movie Arachnophobia. By taking the idea of extermination to extremes, then turning that notion on its head, Pesticide evolves into an insect ridden fever dream.
Elsewhere The Right Snuff purposes pocks fun at human aspirations, by exploiting our most basic emotions. Jealousy, rivalry and family history all come together in a tale of petty revenge. It explores the darker side of our nature, by addressing parental pressures, whilst delving into the psychological affect those brow beatings can have later on.
However, the most effective story featured over those first three episodes is Sibling Rivalry. Not only because it taps into the John Hughes era of savvy teens negotiating high school, but more importantly because it subverts expectations. By muddling the water through narrative manipulation, audiences are immediately wrong footed. For some the presence of Molly Ringwald only deepens their disorientation through past association, which is when events kick up a notch.
Effective in its approach to the vampire myth, Sibling Rivalry delivers a payoff which is reminiscent of Jennifer’s Body. Darkly comic, viciously scathing and allegorically laden, it excels at dissecting and exposing human frailty. With guarantees of a third season to appease devoted fanboys, never have the fables from Creepshow been more appealing.