CREEPSHOW Season 1 Episodes 9-12 (2019)
SHUDDER’s new CREEPSHOW series is a fun and welcome addition to their ever growing lineup of quality original programming. While not all of the episodes are winners, there is a wide variety of scares and great effects on display in each. This collection of the first season was recently released on Blu-ray & DVD. I’m going to go through a handful of episodes at a time. Here’s the last bundle.
Episode Nine: Night of the Paw
Directed by John Harrison
Written by John Esposito
Starring Bruce Davison, Hannah Barefoot, Susannah Devereux, Grace Toso, Ryan Clay
“The Monkey’s Paw” is always a good go-to story for anthologies as it has a premise that can be adapted to so many different situations. Some are quite inventive, and others aren’t. This one has a decent story structure, but in the end, felt a bit uninspired by the time the episode ran its course. The story adheres to the original tale a little too much and even when twists and turns are made, it just wasn’t different enough for me. “Night of the Paw” does have a great performance by WILLIARD’s Bruce Davison and actress Hannah Barefoot not only has a cool name, but also has some great acting chops. These performances help make the episode chug along, but still, the wishes the Paw grants and their twist outcomes just felt uninspired.
Episode Ten: Times Is Tough In Musky Holler
Directed by John Harrison
Written by John Skipp, Dori Miller
Starring Dane Rhodes, Karen Strassman, David Arquette, Tommy Kane, Tracey Bonner, Kermit Rolison, Connor Hammond
“Times Is Tough In Musky Holler” isn’t a bad episode, it just kind of shows the kinks in the armor of the series in full. This story seems to be waaaay too expansive for the budget that was allotted for the series and suffers because of that. Sure this means that we are treated to an excessive amount of discourse set to Kelley Jones fun, Bernie Wrightston-esque artwork. But most of the story is told through these comic book panels, leaving only a few scenes to be actually acted out. Arquette and the rest of the actors are sort of wasted here as the bulk of the story is told and not shown, making this episode feel sort of like a cheat. The runtime is even shorter than most of the other installments. I did like the gory payoff in the end and the image of the limbless zombies are quite iconic, but those grisly scenes made me want more to this very brisk and fluffy episode. Here’s hoping there is a bigger budget for the next season, so we don’t have any more filler episodes like this one.
Episode Eleven: Skincrawlers
Directed by Roxanne Benjamin
Written by Paul Dini, Stephen Langford
Starring Melissa Saint-Amand, Chad Michael Collins, Dana Gould, Hina X. Khan, Beth Keener, Jason Graham, Darin Toonder
The last two episodes of CREEPSHOW are some of the best of the bunch. Roxanne Benjamin (BODY AT BRIGHTON ROCK) delivers a quirky and creepy crawly moralistic tale of “be careful what you wish for” as a diet guru discovers a way to lose pounds instantly. Of course, this sparks the attention of many, including a hefty Dana Gould. While Gould’s character is skeptical, everyone else in his focus group are amazed at the instantaneous results in a slim and sexy body. This one plays out pretty perfectly and ends with a glorious and gory homage to the “They’ll Creep Up On You” from the CREEPSHOW movie. It’s great seeing Gould in front of the camera, as he mostly acts as a writer these days. He gives a fun, everyman quality to the role, yet still manages to have a little edgy outsider feel. This one gets really gory, culminating in a monster battle between man and beast. Great stuff.
Episode Twelve: By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain
Directed by Tom Savini
Written by Joe Hill, Jason Ciaramella
Starring Sydney Wease, Connor Jones, David Alexander Kaplan, James Devoti, Gena Shaw
My favorite episode is the last and Tom Savini and Joe Hill (with a little help from co-writer Jason Ciaramella) are the ones behind it. “By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain” is a heartfelt cryptid tale full of interesting characters, fun performances, and some fantastic effects. Savini shows a lot of restraint here as most of the story builds to a wonderful climax featuring Champy, North America’s answer to the Loch Ness Monster. While a lot of tropes like the abusive/alcoholic father, the battered/silent housewife, and the spunky/rebellious teen, everything comes together beautifully and ends the season on a high note. The effects in this episode are top tier as it seems both Savini and KNB gave their all to make this one count. If you’ve ever wanted to see a good Loch Ness Moster-esque story, look no further than this episode. They saved the best segment for last.
Even if you don’t have SHUDDER (and shame on you if you don’t), you can enjoy CREEPSHOW Season One on DVD & Blu-ray.