Review by Sean Boelman
Fans are having to wait longer than anticipated for the next season of Creepshow, but Shudder has brought plenty of treats including October’s animated special and this month’s A Creepshow Holiday Special. Campy in all the right ways, this holiday horror comedy will certainly make its way into yearly rotations.
Based on a short story by J.A. Konrath, the hour-long special entitled “Shapeshifters Anonymous” tells the story of a man who, fearing that he is a murderer, attends a support group for people who share his unusual condition. It’s an interesting idea made even wackier by the holiday tie-in that almost feels forced but is still very fun regardless.
Those hoping that this will be a jolly Christmas special with singing and dancing clearly aren’t familiar with Creepshow. But those fans who are expecting killer Santas and tongue-in-cheek humor will find themselves giddy from Konrath’s admittedly ridiculous blend of goofiness and dark comedy.
The first half of the episode is largely exposition, explaining the rules and backstory of the world, only for things to go off the rails in the last twenty minutes. The action-oriented portions of the special do feel a bit rushed, so it would have been nice if they had a bit more time to breathe, but viewers will never be bored.
Something of note when it comes to this special is that it doesn’t have a particular moral to impart on its audiences. It’s just forty-five minutes of mindless fun, and that’s fine, but it is a bit unexpected. This also causes the thin character development to be even more evident, as the archetypal characters can’t be explained away by the lesson being taught.
The two main stars of the episode are Adam Pally and Anna Camp, and both of them are a ton of fun to watch. However, it is the supporting cast that mostly steals the show. The other members of the eponymous group of therianthropes each get their moment in the spotlight and even hold their own against the more experienced leads.
On a technical level, the crew really went all-out on this special. One doesn’t normally expect anything extravagant for specials like this — just enough to keep the fans happy until the full season — but Greg Nicotero doesn’t hold back. Even though the episode is set mostly in a single location, it feels surprisingly expansive in scale.
A Creepshow Holiday Special is a ton of fun and will keep viewers satisfied until season two can come out next year. It may be a bit less substantial than most Creepshow stories, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is tons of campy fun.
A Creepshow Holiday Special streams on Shudder beginning December 18.