Review: Shudder's CREEPSHOW Revival is Damn Near Perfect
When Shudder announced that they would be reviving the massively beloved Creepshow, and as a television show no less, horror fans instantly started chomping at the bit. Well, the time has come. The Greg Nicotero fronted Creepshow is dropping September 26th and luckily, we got to check out the first episode, and I’m elated to report back that Creepshow is a surefire hit.
Framing itself in the same way that the now infamous Romero and King films did, Creepshow keeps it’s EC Comics aesthetic while also fully utilizing the Creep and essentially turning him into a silent version of the Cryptkeeper, but poignantly miming out appropriately in line actions that coincide with the stories. Each episode is broken into two segments, each one roughly running about twenty minutes long. The first episode contains “Gray Matter,” a Greg Nicotero directed piece and “House of the Head,” written by Bird Box novelist Josh Malerman.
“Gray Matter” perfectly blends the old school appeal of the original Creepshow while still delivering a modern, gruesome tale of terror. Pulling no punches, horror vets Adrienne Barbeau and Tobin Bell star in the piece, alongside standout talent Giancarlo Esposito. Brilliantly framing transitions and visual onomatopoeia with comic book flare, “Gray Matter” feels like the very best segments of the Creepshow film. It has that Vault of Horror vibe, where it so sincerely embraces camp that it transcends past camp and is just full of charm. Of course, it’s a blast to see Barbeau go full tilt melodrama in her performance and having the signature rasp of Jigsaw in the premier episode of Creepshow just packs a punch that horror fans can’t help but smile at. Nicotero handling this piece also helps make it especially potent for genre fans and the practical effects that ooze into play are absolutely delightful.
The follow up segment, “House of the Head,” feels very different but still tonally in line with the series. It uses color tones and framing to mirror the vibe of the Creepshow films and is a lovely amalgamation of Creepshow and The Twilight Zone. A story of a dollhouse that gets invaded by a miniature zombie head, it is massively unsettling and really lends the word “creep” to the title of the show. While the first piece really amps up to an in-your-face monster short, “House of the Head” is an unsettling and nerve-wracking spine tingler.
Creepshow is exactly what you want it to be. It’s a love letter to the iconic movie series while also modernizing itself in ways that are only beneficial. The only thing that hinders the show, literally only, is the budget, but it doesn’t matter. It all works. Creepshow is escape artistry are it’s finest; just sit back and allow yourself to slip into a euphoric comic book world of horror, forty five minutes at a time.