It can sometimes be hard to formulate words to describe a movie I have cherished for most of my life. CREEPSHOW 2 is definitely one of those movies and tonight we will dive into the twisted tales of terror, written and directed by the masters of terror themselves, George Romero and Stephen King. One thing I particularly love about the CREEPSHOW movies is the comic segment you get in the beginning. The artwork is absolutely awesome and I find it hard to detect any flaws in that aspect of the film and in-between each segment we are treated to the comic animation and interactions with the CREEPSHOW host and Billy, the boy reading the comic.
The first tale we’re treated to is titled “Old Chief Wood’nhead”. This story is a nod to The Gollum, a Jewish folklore which I didn’t know the first few times watching this movie but as I got older and more educated I became aware of this. We’re introduced to Ray Spruce and his wife Martha whom are an older couple running a service station and general store in a rural town in the middle of nowhere. As they discuss the fact that their business is hardly a business anymore, a car pulls up with two younger native men and an older gentleman, Benjamin. It is apparent that Benjamin frequently “borrows” items from the store from Ray and his wife. We discover this as Benjamin offers up some sacred jewelry to the couple as a barter to continue borrowing from them. Essentially, they got punked into an agreement with this guy. Shortly after this encounter, the store is then robbed at gunpoint by Benjamin’s nephew and a few friends. They rough up the couple and get really violent with them and that’s when “things” start to happen. The Indian Chief statue in front of the general store comes to life, seeking revenge for the disrespect of the older couple.
It’s almost impossible for me to say that I didn’t love the acting in this segment. The primary robber is such an over-the-top actor and it just adds to his scummy factor. His constant hair flipping and extreme verbal threats just keep me completely entertained every time I watch this segment. His friends are typical eighties bad guy cronies, cowardly yet still sticking around because they’re told to. The costume and makeup in this movie are also on point as they matched the era perfectly which always keeps everything visually pleasing. The costume design and makeup for the Indian Chief specifically was fantastic. He was made to maintain the wooden statue look and had choppy yet fluid movements. This character used to scare the shit out of me as a child but I found myself never being able to look away.
The kills in this segment are also absolutely fantastic. Sometimes the camera will look away as you see the silhouettes of the characters on the wall as the slashing is happening, then blood splatter onto the wall. My favorite kill is the fat cronie posted up watching TV and drinking a beer, when an arrow unexpectedly flies into the scene penetrating his chest. I also appreciate the ending kill as it gives you a sense of satisfaction because Benjamin’s nephew is a total prick the entire duration of his screen time. My favorite practical effect in the film though is the arrow through the head. In my opinion it’s one of the goriest scenes in this short as well as the ending shot – which you will have to see for yourself.
The next segment we are introduced to is titled “The Raft.” This short is my personal favorite in CREEPSHOW 2.
A group of friends are traveling in a car together smoking a joint of that sweet, sweet ganja bud on a trip to go swimming in a lake. It’s mentioned that it’s almost Halloween, however, the holiday doesn’t play any roll in this short. As they arrive to the lake front they all begin to submerge themselves in the apparently freezing water. Why would you go swimming in a lake in October?? As the friends splash around they swim out towards a wooden pallet raft in the middle of the lake. As they are hanging out they begin to notice a slimly looking blob thing floating along the top of the water. One friend, the level headed character Randy, is terrified and highly concerned about the thing in the water as his friends just brush it off telling him he’s worried about nothing. As the blob displays that it’s there for business, so to speak, it results in the loss of a character. The friends begin to panic and play a waiting game to see if the creature will go away. As more characters meet their incredibly and increasingly painful demise, we are left with Randy whom quickly discovers that this thing cannot be defeated.
The acting in this short is also hilarious. The characters have a real “California attitude”, smoking joints and acting really care free. Though this short is incredibly campy, you can actually obtain a sense of fear in the characters because the situation is actually quite terrifying. One thing I didn’t understand is why they left their car running the whole time and how after an entire day of it running the battery doesn’t die!? The kills in this segment are absolutely fantastic and pretty gory. You see flesh being burned by some type of acid from the creature and flesh falling off the bones. It is so visually pleasing! It’s incredibly difficult for me to choose a favorite kill in “The Raft.” There is a decent amount of flesh destruction during the kills and we even get to see a character get folded in half and pulled into the water through the raft.
The effects of course tie into the kills. I do feel that there wasn’t enough blood for the amount of killing but it was perfectly supplemented with the flesh burning and ripping that I mentioned previously. The blob character at times looks like a floating blob of garbage and other times it looks like a giant algae patch of some sort. The end to this segment is what makes it my favorite out of CREEPSHOW 2 as it was the first time a particular scene made me nervous about large bodies of water.
As we progress onto the third segment we are again treated to the comic animation of Billy. At this time Billy is stopped by a group of typical bullies. The ring leader is this really goofy, possibly gothic, looking dude wearing cowboy boots with spurs. As Billy gets away from the group, our CREEPSHOW host transitions us into the third segment, “The Hitchhiker.”
The beginning of the short we are introduced to a scummy woman that is getting dressed after having an affair with her gentleman caller. After a few moments of irrelevant dialogue and price discussion (yeah he’s a prostitute) she gets into her vehicle and leaves. She begins to talk to herself, trying to come up with an explanation as to where she was to tell her husband. The road is wet and dangerous so she loses control of the vehicle in a bend in the road and hits a hitchhiker. She quickly fleas the scene and it’s at this point where things really beginning to get out of control. The best thing in this entire short is the hitchhiker himself. In my opinion, his acting was phenomenal as he portrayed this unstoppable force. I love the fact that as he is attacking the woman he is continuously saying “I just need a ride.” It makes me feel like he’s trapped in some type of undead paranormal continuum. The actress that plays the main character of Mrs. Lansing, Lois Chiles, does a rather great job playing a woman that you’re supposed to hate. She also does a fairly good job portraying madness within herself as the guilt drives her crazy. I also really enjoyed Stephen King’s cameo as the truck driver because I always find his acting to be funny and he usually says some pretty random stuff.
The blood and gore used during this short made it probably the goriest out of the bunch. The hitchhiker continues to get bloodied and beaten and the makeup team does an excellent job of making him appear so. Gratuitous use of blood and fleshy prosthetics make this my favorite use of effects in CREEPSHOW 2. Aside from the initial hit and run of the hitchhiker there isn’t much in the area of killing; however, there is a really long running and brutal battle in the car between the woman and the hitchhiker.
As CREEPSHOW 2 comes to an end we see Billy once more and his encounter with the bullies. Prior to “The Hitchhiker“, Billy’s bullies are destroyed by a Venus flytrap that Billy was bringing home. Those bullies quickly learn their lessons as Billy’s creature quickly devours them. Overall, I really do love CREEPSHOW 2. It features some of my all time favorite horror shorts along with the first installment, CREEPSHOW. If you consider yourself a fan of the horror genre or even a fan of the macabre or strange, please do yourself a major favor and check this out. Arrow Video just released CREEPSHOW 2 on Blu-ray and it’s beautifully remastered in 2K and loaded with all types of extra goodies and breathtaking cover art. Special features included are audio commentary with director Michael Gornick, Poncho’s Last Ride – an interview with actor Daniel Beer, Screenplay for a Sequel – interview with screenwriter George A. Romero, Tales from the Creep – interview with actor and make-up artist Tom Savini, Behind-the-Scenes Footage, Image Gallery, and more! This is one Blu-ray you are not going to want to miss out on!