It seems that the best way Creepshow can guarantee success is to simply make sure that they go as crazy as they possibly can and supply a cool monster at the end. I agree, it may not seem like the most sophisticated recipe to win over an audience, but what you have to remember is that this isn’t “elevated” horror, it’s not trying to comment on the human condition at large and it doesn’t need to be even the slightest bit subtle. No – this is proud, unabashed pulp horror, where the twists dont always have to make sense, where it isn’t a issue if the monsters are a bit rubbery or if the whole thing turns out to be a bit silly, it isn’t a great loss.
It seems that this episode of Creepshow decided to embrace this ethos a little tighter than usual as we not only get to travel beyond the stars, but we also our face smushed into an awkward, high school comedy that fulfil that brief I mentioned earlier with aplomb.
The Right Snuff: Sometime in a 60’s inspired future, astronauts Captain Alex Toomey and Major Ted Lockwood are testing an experimental device that manipulates gravity as they orbit the moon in their space station, the Ocula. After a successful test, they drink in the adulation during a televised interview with the press, but it soon becomes clear that years of living in his father’s shadow (he was the first man on Mars) has left Toomey a mite unstable. His issues become even more unhinged when it is revealed that they have an additional, secret mission to meet in person with a benevolent race of extraterrestrials called the Gorangi that have covertly been in communication with Earth. This final straw for Toomey is when the well-meaning Lockwood is chosen for the single-man mission and the Captain proceeds to allow his jealousy guide him into making a decision that’ll get him all the notoriety he could ever ask for.
Sibling Rivalry: Lola Pierce, a vapid, clueless teen who babbles at the speed of an auctioneer at a cattle show, desperately tries to unload the panic stricken story onto her school’s counsellor that concerns her bother trying to kill her. As the long suffering Ms. Porter struggles to keep the scatterbrained girl on track, she tells that after a sleepover at her best friend Grace’s house, she returned home to find her parents missing and to find that her brother, Andrew, had not only poisoned her dinner, but then tied her up in the basement when that failed.
Fleeing her home – but still going to school because she’san idiot – Lola finds that Ms. Porter doesn’t believe a word she’s saying and eventually goes home to face an axe waving sibling, but after straightening out a few facts the ditzy teen soon realises that the killer in the house isn’t Andrew at all and Grace’s sleepover has caused Lola to develop something of an acquired appetite…
After the let down of Creepshow’s previous episode, it’s nice that the second season gets right back into slinging out a couple of enjoyable muddled tales that goes hard on the weird an doesn’t skimp on the monsters. With the first segment, we welcome Joe Lynch director of Wrong Turn 2 and Mayhem, to the Creepshow family as he helms one of the most out there entries yet as we take a trip to Outer space as Ryan Kwanten and Breckin Meyer play a couple of astronauts whose working relationship suffers fatal consequences due to the former’s almost psychotic daddy issues. While the story naturally creaks and groans under the obvious lack of budget, the director wisely leans into the cheap, camp look of the suspiciously sparse looking space station by having this future be heavily inspired by old school, 60’s science fiction which not only aids the look of the segment, but also the tone. Kwanten nails the sped up slow burn of the sheer weight of the family legacy Toomey is struggling with, but it’s nothing compared to the weight Meyer has to endure when the fracturing sanity of his crew mate traps him in a room with the experimental drive and increases the gravity enough until Lockwood’s skull pops like a water balloon. It’s a nice little amble into insanity with a nicely varied backdrop, but things really get weird when Toomey finally get to chat with the Gorangi (rubbery odes to bizarre alien effects that look like they’ve escaped from one of those movies Charles Band produced during his Empire Pictures phase) when he finds out he hasn’t gotten a complete grasp of the full facts. Mankind being judged on the actions of one, unhinged fruitloop is hardly new, but you have to give the show credit for literally shooting for the moon and having the epidode end with the horrified Captain witnessing the lunar satellite plough into the earth.
Moving on to Sibling Rivalry and we flip from camp, sci-fi karma to hyper-active high school comedy if it wasn’t for those animated spots book ending both episodes I’d seriously worry that the abrupt tone change would cause serious whiplash for any viewer not wearing a seatbelt. Directed by Rusty Cundieff (Tales From The Hood, Fear Of A Black Hat), the episode immediately throws us into an unchecked bout of verbal diarrhoea as Maddie Nichols’ abrasive lead exhales an unbroken stream of pointless consciousness and your enjoyment of the entire episode will no doubt hinge on whether or not you can stand her over the top performance. However, while Molly Ringwald’s bamboozled school counsellor struggles to untangle the pertinent facts from Lola’s garbled story, it becomes pretty obvious that the segment is going for a twisted version of movies like Clueless and Mean Girls which makes the the hyper-verbal characters easier to bear.
The big twist is sees sarcastic teen comedies sideswipe George Romero’s pseudo-vampire flick Martin when Lola finds that the true murderer is actually her thanks to her sleepover with Grace leading to her contracting a nasty case of vampirism. On paper, this feels like we could lurch dangerously into Vampire Diaries territory, but thanks to Cundieff’s horror leanings, Lola’s bloodsucking abilities end up being more inspired by Fright Night than Twilight with a seriously kickass vampire design that sees her bottom jaw essentially erupt into a jagged mass of stalagmite-like teeth that make the fanged mandibles of Blade II’s Reapers look like the flawless dental work The Partridge Family.
While both episodes strongly contain that trademark, rough-around-the edges feel that all episodes of Creepshow has (no time for polish, here), the more out-there aspects of their respective tales paper over any serious cracks with a cheeky brazeness that’s become the show’s lopsided trademark.
The Right Snuff: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Sibling Rivalry: 🌟🌟🌟🌟