Creepshow (2019)

3 out of 5

Produced by: Greg Nicotero

Creepshow and Creepshow 2 are classics of the horror genre, and notable examples of the anthology format, but they’ve never been particular favorites of mine.  I’ve always found them to be entertaining, but erring too much toward the goofy side of horror to be too effective, with the blood and gore delivered in a sort of ‘acceptably’ shocking format.  I recognize the movies are maybe more intended to be fun over scary, but there’s just enough of the latter to unsettle the former, and not enough intelligence behind the humor – again, it’s more goofy than anything – to rate the movies as common repeat viewings.  That all sounds negative, but, I mean, some of those shorts are absolutely burned into my memory (Something to Tide You Over, They’re Creeping Up on You), and they’re each of those types of movies – from back in the non-streaming days – that I’d watch if they happened to be on, so again: entertaining.  And no, I had no idea there was a Creepshow 3 until a few minutes ago.

The Greg Nicotero-produced, Shudder-exclusive Creepshow TV show certainly re-presents the movies’ vibes with an upgrade to modern effects as witnessed via Greg’s movie / TV many credits.  While apparently a fairly low budget setup, which the show inventively works around by making a lot of use of its comic book framing, the gore gags themselves are generally pretty great, and some of the best segments – both of which happen to have been directed by Nicotero – fulfill a kind of full synthesis of Tales from the Crypt wickedness and gore that I would’ve wished for.  But we also definitely get some disappointing throwaways, that reuse already familiar tales or, as in the John Esposito-directed Times is Tough in Musky Holler, have too little time and too much story for their 2-segements per episode allotment, resulting in something somewhat boring and unpleasant to watch, and your appreciation of some other middling episodes will probably depend on if you like how certain writers always go back to the same themes for their works, which, to me, tend to make them wholly predictable from the start.

But again, for better or worse, I think this mixed approach is entirely representative of the Creepshow movies (or the two entries I’ve seen), and the forever benefit of anthologies – books, movies, comics – is that you’re never too far away from something new if you don’t like the current entry, and the show mixes in enough positives during its short, six-episode first season to make that up and down experience a worthwhile ride.