Review by Sean Boelman
Based on the cult classic anthology film, Shudder’s horror-comedy series Creepshow returns to the service this week with brand new episodes containing macabre stories to delight fans. The first episode of the new season leans pretty heavily into the camp factor, but it offers plenty of great moments for the series’s followers.
The first story, “Model Kid”, is a throwback that feels very similar to the segments of the original film. Following a young boy who deals with his abusive uncle with supernatural means, it’s pretty silly, but it thankfully doesn’t take itself too seriously. It also has the characteristic moral lesson to be imparted onto the audience with a stunning finale.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about this segment is its use of practical effects. Although it does take a bit of time for the story to get moving, it has a few gnarly moments that are definite highlights. The overall design of the episode also has a very retro vibe to it that plays nicely into the comic book framing device of the property.
Kevin Dillon is the recognizable face in this episode, playing the tough-love uncle. Fans of ‘80s horror (who likely make up a majority of the series’s viewers) will love getting the opportunity to see Dillon giving another hammy turn in a horror flick after his breakout in The Blob. It might not be a particularly nuanced performance, but it’s consistently fun to watch.
The second half of the episode is likely to be what is more divisive. Although “Public Television of the Dead” is certainly funny, it also doesn’t feel like much of a Creepshow story. Instead, it’s a conglomeration of pop culture references and horror Easter eggs which will allow fans to geek out but leave them feeling mostly empty.
Following a public television producer and some of the eccentric on-air personalities as they battle against the undead taking over when a spell is unleashed on the station, it’s an action-packed segment, but one that viewers will soon forget. Ultimately, the story is little more than an excuse for fanservice.
There are a few cool sequences in the segment that fans will immediately pick up on as homages to the classics of the genre, but apart from that, it’s mostly generic action-horror. The inclusion of some funny tributes and one gratifying cameo are great, but this doesn’t serve as much more than passive entertainment.
If the first episode is any indication, the new season of Creepshow will be a treat for horror-loving viewers. Fans should be looking forward to more star-studded and wackily fun tales to come.
Creepshow streams on Shudder beginning April 1, with new episodes streaming subsequent Thursdays. One out of six episodes reviewed.