Creepshow 2 (1987)

Creepshow 2 (1987)

When The Curtain Goes Up, The Terror Begins!

The latest issue of the Creepshow comic is delivered to a young boy and he reads the three stories: a wooden Indian statue outside a small general store comes to life when some local youths mess about with the elderly couple; some teenagers encounter a blob-like creature which lives in a lake; and a woman does a hit-and-run on a hitchhiker and thinks she’s got away with it, only to be confronted with the dead hitchhiker numerous times down the road.

 

The good old anthology film lives on in Creepshow 2, a follow-up collaboration by director George Romero and writer Stephen King to their 1985 surprise hit. It was their tribute to the old EC horror comics of the past and worked well with a solid cast, a selection of varied stories, a very dark sense of humour and some nice unsuspecting twists. Unfortunately Romero passed on the director’s chair and the lack of his input in the film is clear to see as replacement Michael Gornick lacks the style and panache to turn the material into something unique. Despite this, Creepshow 2 is an underrated sequel which delivers some mild doses of horror. It doesn’t help that wraparound story is really dull. They’ve replaced the live action wraparound story from the original with a weak cartoon and this just doesn’t work. I’m sure a few quick scenes with a couple of actors would have been a lot cheaper and made a lot more sense.

Old Chief Woodenhead is the weakest of the three stories but only because we’ve seen it before. It’s basically your routine slasher film with a cigar-store wooden statue coming to life to take revenge after a gang of criminals rob and kill the elderly couple who own it. The special effects and make-up for the statue are excellent and it moves exactly how you’d expect a something made of wood to move. It even creaks too. But the script for this part isn’t great, the acting from the younger cast is unconvincing and it all moves along predictably. At least old hands like George Kennedy are here to add a bit of class and sympathy to the proceedings even if he looks like he’d be anywhere else but here. The problem with this segment is that, being the 80s, slasher films were ten-a-penny so I don’t see the logic in putting a slasher piece in here.

The Raft is the best of the stories and runs like The Blob meets Jaws as a group of teenagers swim out onto a raft in the middle of a lake, only to become trapped on there by a deadly blob-like creature. The special effects for the creature are cheap and low rent but do their job admirably. It’s like a bin bag floating on the water but as soon as it starts sucking and slurping, the special effects turn nasty and none of the characters on the raft are safe. The cast is enthusiastic (especially the lunk-head in the speedos – one of my favourite horror film characters ever!) despite living up to every teenager cliché going and there’s even some token nudity thrown in for the hell of it. It’s also got the most satisfying ending of the three stories as everyone gets their just desserts.

The Hitchhiker is somewhere in the middle of the other two stories. It’s not really that good but still manages to provoke a few scares and plenty of laughs along the way. The hitchhiker is hilarious and his line “thanks for the ride, lady” is delivered with constant cheese to turn it into a classic one-liner. Every time you see the hitchhiker, he’s gradually got more and more mashed to pieces thanks to Louis Chiles repeatedly driving over him with her car until there is but a skeleton left in the finale. It gets repetitive after a while and they could have cut this segment down to keep it fresh. At half an hour in length, it quickly outstays its welcome. Stephen King makes a cameo here.

 

Creepshow 2 is a pretty enjoyable horror anthology and for those who are sick of watching a mainstream horror film with one story throughout, this is a welcome change. It just lacks a bit of punch where needed and could have done with another imaginative story or two just to cut down the length of some of the stories. The Raft is well worth watching this film for in any case even if you don’t like the other segments. Just shows you what you can do with a bit of imagination and some bin bags.

 

 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

 

 

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