Shudder is starting “Halfway to Halloween” month with a bang this year with the Creepshow season two premiere. Anthologies can be a bit of a mixed bag, and the Creepshow’s first season-illustrated that point. I find it hard to think of an episode where I loved both segments. Until now, that is. The season two premiere contains two of the series’ best segments, hitting viewers with a double-barrel blast of horror comedy. If you enjoy horror with a big wedge of cheese and a heap of dark comedy, you’re in for a treat.
The first segment, “Model Kid,” is an emotionally affecting story of a boy, Joe, who loses his mother to cancer. After her death, he ends up living with his aunt and her abusive boyfriend, Kevin (Kevin Dillon). Joe is obsessed with horror movies, especially those of the black and white Universal Monster variety. This goes against what Uncle Kevin considers “normal,” and tension ensues following the death of the boy’s mother.
Creepshow isn’t typically “emotionally affecting,” but the segment pulls off the emptiness of grief well. This melancholy doesn’t last long, giving way to a gruesome conclusion involving Gil Man, the Mummy, and a voodoo doll. The actors all give wonderful performances, even if Dillon is chewing the scenery like he skipped breakfast.
Universal Monster fans will take pleasure in the loving way this segment plays on the looks and sounds of their favorite classics. Modern day horror fans will still get a kick out of the gory and haunting ending. The whole thing plays like a hard-R Goosebumps episode. It’s predictable, but it’s such a loving homage to different generations of horror that it’s hard to fault it.
“PUBLIC TELEVISION OF THE DEAD”
The second segment, “Public Television of the Dead” is an Evil Dead fan’s dream. Featuring a performance from Ted Raimi (playing a fictional version of himself), “Public Television” sets the Necronomicon loose on an unsuspecting public television studio. Sending up public television standards like “The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross” and “Antiques Roadshow,” this segment is a treat for anyone who grew up on these programs.
Mark Ashworth gives a tremendous performance here as Norm, a Bob Ross-type television personality haunted by his years in the army. When the dead start coming to life, Norm springs into action in a surprisingly effective way. It’s a loving homage to Ross, who also served in the army before his television career. It’s also ridiculously funny.
“Model Kid” held back its violence until the very end, but “Public Television” wastes no time getting to the bloodshed. It’s a splatter fest from the moment the book is read to the time the Creep puts it back on his shelf. If you’ve ever wondered how Bob Ross would handle being in an Evil Dead movie, Greg Nicotero now has an answer for you.
The premiere is a solid episode consisting of two solid segments. This is the kind of horror that makes one rediscover why they fell in love with the genre. If the rest of the season has a fraction of the fun found here, horror fans are in for a treat. This is the best episode of the series by a mile, and I’m hoping that means great things are coming.
Overall Score 4/5
A new episode of Creepshow drops every Thursday exclusively on Shudder!
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