Creepshow – Season 3, Episode 3: The Last Tsuburaya/Okay, I’ll Bite


Before we head back into our regularly scheduled programming, there’s an issue I’d like to address concerned Creepshow Season’s use of its host/mascot, the Creep. I’m getting increasingly worried that – aside from an awesome visual pun in the previous episode – we’re not getting enough of the live action puppet in the wraparound segments and instead he’s only appearing in cartoon form. Now, with a show like this I realise that the only thing tighter than the budget is probably the shooting time and that use of animation the season has probably made things simpler. However, I put to you the question: how great would The Twilight Zone have been with an animated Rod Sterling or Tales From The Crypt with a two-dimensional Crypt Keeper? Exactly. Bring back the live-action Creep, please – a show this camp needs its mascot in the rotting flesh. Anyway, back to the show.


The Last Tsuburaya: Ishido Tsuraya, an artist in Japan many decades, ago was renowned for his disturbing paintings of monstrous creatures that’s stemmed from his famous disdain for humanity, but after his death, there was one painting that has never been seen by human eyes. It has been past onto his last descendant, lowly store clerk Bobby Tanaka, under the provision that the crate it has been stored in is finally opened on the 100 year anniversary of Tsuburaya’s death.
However, swooping in like the callous buzzard that he is comes tech billionaire Wade Cruise, who out bids the museum and claims the painting himself for the reasons that he’s an art collector and he gets off in destroying dreams. This is effectively proven even further when, on the grand opening of the crate, he burns the painting up before anyone but him can see it – but a lifetime of superhuman douchebaggery is about to be repaid when Wade starts seeing the inhuman figure rendered in the painting stalking him. Is Wade’s underworked conscience finally catching up to him, or is it something more bestial?

Okay, I’ll bite: After receiving some serious jail time for euthanizing his sick mother, timid pharmacist Elmer Strick finds himself in a dire situation as he is forced to cook opium in prison under the say-so of corrupt, brutish guard, Butcher Dill. In fact, things have gotten so bad, that Dill has been sabotaging Strick’s parole hearing to keep his product moving, but to keep his spirits spiralling into despair, he devotes his time to his beloved spider collection, caring for his pets as they were his own children. However, his very best friend is the dog-sized, eight-legged fucker who lives behind on of the bricks in his cell, but after Butcher’s wrath goes from inflicting violence on Strick to stepping on his babies, the hapless prisoner does a deal via some Egyptian incantations to spin a web of vengence that will allow him to get closer to his adored arachnids than ever before.


If there’s a problem with The Last Tsuburaya it’s that its monster stuff is noticably similar to last episode’s entry, “Familiar”, which also saw a fanged, scaly beast stalking our lead by leaping out from shadows and popping up in reflections as it takes gaslighting to an inhuman level. However, thankfully for director Jeffery F. January, this segment is the clearly superior one thanks to its strongly drawn shit-heel of a villain and the injection of Japanese culture which is something of a first for the show. Twining everything to the lore of the fictional Tsuburaya and his legendary dislike of other human beings and then having a sharp suited twat fling his money about not only completes the classic morality structure a lot of short horror stories have, but is also incredibly satisfying when it all starts to pay off. This is mostly thanks to Brandon Quinn’s spite-ridden performance of a man utterly unconcerned with others and who will actual go (and pay) to metaphorically shit on his fellow man at the slightest given opportunity. It also helps that the other actors convincingly sell how awful he is, with horrified reactions in particular from Jade Fernandez and Gina Hiraizumi who look appropriately disgusted everytime Wade obnoxiously flexes all over someone’s aspirations.
Tying it all together is another typically cool creature design that features all the necessary claws and excessive dental work that constitutes the usual find of feral bastard that lurks in these kind of stories, but once again, the Japanese influence manages to differentiate this particular monstrosity from the others. All this and a satisfactory fate for the story’s main uber-prick means that The Last Tsuburaya paints quite the pretty picture – metaphorically speaking, of course.


Elsewhere, we go from monsters stalking through penthouses to surroundings to far more confined surroundings as John Harrison takes us to the big house for Okay, I’ll Bite; a creepy tale that should probably be avoided if you have an aversion to eight-legged crawlers. Harrison is, of course, not only one of Creepshow’s chief contributors but he’s also, by a certain distance, it’s most inconsistent directors and yet this time he manages to put together a cruel little story that has a genuinely gnarly ending. If there’s a noticable aspect to this tale, it’s that even though Nicholas Massouh’s abused and tormented Elmer Strick does elicit twinges of empathy, he’s way too much of a spider-obsessed weirdo to fully care for. Luckily for the viewer (probably not so much for Elmer) the situation he finds himself in with threatening inmates and tyrannical guards is nasty enough to keep you gripped despite all the arachno-worship and his flat, creepy voice. To be honest, at first the connection between a harsh, prison flick and a supernatural spider story seems pretty far divorced to gel cohesively, but it’s all worth it in order to get to the impressive climax.


In a desperate attempt to both end his nightmare and protect his little spider buddies from an iminent fumigation, Elmer sells his soul and gets revenge on his cruel tormentor by becoming a sizable, bloated, webspinner himself. The final shot of the tranformed Elmer, whose head has become the spikey abdomen of his new, scuttling body, is genuinely freakish – as is an earlier, truly horrifying shot of one of Elmer’s pets sinking its fangs into an inmates eye in agonising close up – and makes the whole episode come together with grotesque results.

The Last Tsuburaya: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Okay, I’ll Bite: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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