Anthologies are a tricky format to tackle. While there are some that have succeeded and raised the bar, there are plenty that are a tonal mess. Putting together multiple directors to tell short stories in a visual format can be a fun ride, but without a consistent theme, it can prove ineffective. The first two Creepshow movies were successful because they clearly had a team working together with a similar vision. The various home video releases only prove the dedicated fan base exists, but there’s plenty to explore with the themes and some great twist endings. Shudder was smart and knew their audience loved these movies and followed through with the potential to create an exclusive franchise. The results have been mixed and CREEPSHOW season four is no different.
Season four has six episodes, with two stories per episode. While each episode is generally under an hour, they manage to jam plenty of material into each story. The first couple of episodes feel bland and it is surprising that they used these as the starting point for CREEPSHOW Season 4.
One story, “The Hat,” involves a hat that cures writer’s block but with icky consequences, doesn’t have as much fun as it should. “Smile,” a moral dilemma involving an award-winning photographer, was the most interesting of the first two episodes. The concept of war photography always made me uncomfortable and it’s a rare form of exploitation that I won’t indulge in. If you feel the same, then you’ll enjoy this one.
Episode three has “To Grandmother’s House We Go,” which was my favorite of the season. Starring Keegan Connor Tracy (Final Destination 2, “Bates Motel”), Marcia is a money-hungry soulless piece of trash who is so much fun to watch thanks to Tracy’s over-the-top performance. She learns of an inheritance and drives her stepdaughter to claim their money, but not without some unexpected detours. Keegan is a familiar face in the genre and always leaves a memorable mark even if her roles tend to be on a smaller scale. Don’t miss this one as it’s a fun half hour!
The rest carry not-so-memorable offerings, but the occasional cameo. Tom Atkins (Halloween 3, Night of the Creeps) plays an absent father in “Something Burrowed, Something Blue,” who tries to make it up to his daughter in exchange for an eternal favor. Episode six is a love letter to the late director with “George Romero in 3-D!” where his unpublished comics are discovered only to unleash zombies visible only with the included 3D glasses. The season ends with “Baby Teeth,” featuring a helicopter mother who holds onto her daughter’s childhood relics. While it initially seems like a segment focusing on an attached parent, it’s apparent that something nonhuman is at play.
While the narratives of a lot of these stories leave a lot to be desired, a lot of credit deserves to go to the special effects team. There are various monsters and creatures throughout, mostly designed via practical effects. Not only that, they are designed to feature lots of dripping fluids as well as induce discomfort for anyone with texture-related phobias. “Baby Teeth” featured my favorite creature of the season and should be up there with the monsters of “Channel Zero.”
Creepshow continues to shell out all kinds of stories for Shudder and carry on the property as we fans will keep watching. Despite mostly forgettable offerings, CREEPSHOW Season 4 has a couple of entries worth watching.
CREEPSHOW Season 4 is now available exclusively on Shudder.
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