Creepshow 2 (1987, Michael Gornick)
Released By Arrow Video Blu-ray
Everyone loves Creepshow. Released in 1982, the collaboration between two undisputed masters of horror —Stephen King and George Romero —was a wonderful throwback to the days of EC Comics, twisted morality plays with typical sting-in-the-tail endings. Five years later we got a belated sequel, and whilst it’s not on the level of the original, it’s a pretty good time. Arrow Video just released the film on Blu-ray in a new 2K scan, so what better time to revisit it? This time around, Romero wrote the screenplay from a bunch of King stories, letting his long-time cinematographer Michael Gornick direct. Sadly, Gornick mostly eschews the comic-book style of the original. Romero used garish colours and even comic-style panels and speech bubbles, but Gornick shoots this film like a standard movie, which feels like a missed opportunity.
Before we dive into the individual stories, let’s get one thing straight. The budget is lower. The film was planned as five stories, and ended up as three. One of them —The Cat From Hell —ended up in Tales From The Darkside: The Movie, while the other —Pinfall —was never shot. As a delightful bonus, Arrow have included that story in comic book form as an extra, which is much appreciated. The lower budget is immediately apparent in the ghastly quality of the animated wraparound story, with ugly-looking characters and really cheap animation. It’s a bad start, and sadly things don’t improve much with the first story, Old Chief Wood’nhead.
George Kennedy, who’s amiable performance is the best thing about this story by a country mile. A flat, lifeless revenge tale, with an occasionally squirm-inducing treatment of its Native American characters, it takes forever to get going and then dispenses with the revenge in the final minute, with two of the deaths occurring offscreen!
Kennedy is such a welcome presence in any movie, and he tries his best, but there’s only so much chin-wagging I can take in a twenty-five-minute anthology tale. When the revenge is finally meted out, it lacks the deliciously ironic edge needed to make these stories work. On the plus side, it’s nicely shot, and the setting is dustily atmospheric. Luckily, things start to improve with the middle section, based on one of my favourite Stephen King short stories —The Raft.
The most memorable of the three, The Raft is the simple story of four dumb assholes stuck on —you guessed it —a raft. The setting is suitably desolate, and the isolation is cleverly increased by the constant wailing of 80s hair-metal coming from the car, so close, and yet so far away. Unfortunately, the creature that’s menacing them is a laughable special effect that resembles a floating black bin liner with seaweed glued to it, but honestly, I’m not here to pick holes, because when the creature attacks…oh boy.
The gore is goopy and bloody, just the way I like it, and there are a couple of nice shocks (unless you’ve read the short story, of course). Things take a decidedly icky turn with an unexpected sexual assault on a sleeping woman from our main character(!), but don’t worry, it’s a Creepshow movie, so you know he’ll get his just desserts. The Raft is a nice slice of slimy 80s fun, and probably should have opened the movie, but we still have one more tale of terror, and it’s another good ‘un.
In The Hitchhiker, former Bond girl Lois Chiles is menaced by the titular character after accidentally running him over whilst racing home to her husband to hide her infidelity. This is easily the most high-energy story of the lot, with plenty of exciting action and a couple of wild stunts, including a hair-raising moment with a stuntman clinging on to the front of a car while it races down a hill. There’s a fun cameo from Stephen King as a truck driver, and the hitchhiker himself is suitable creepy. With the amount of damage inflicted on him, I was surprised to see the film passed the BBFC with a 15 certificate. Man, I’m out of touch these days.
The only real problem I have is the constant monologuing from Chiles. She’s excellent, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not particularly cinematic, and strains credibility. That said, I talk to myself constantly, so maybe I’m just a hypocrite. Arrow’s Blu-ray is typically stacked with special features. In addition to the comic book and the new scan (which looks terrific), there are the usual commentaries, archival making-of, and a series of interviews including heavy-hitters like Romero and Tom Savini, who sat out the effects in this film in favour of portraying the idiotic-looking Creep character. Ah well, you win some, you lose some, eh Tom?
Titans of terror George A. Romero and Stephen King deliver yet another selection of blood-curdling tales in Creepshow 2, the follow-up to the 1982 horror classic.
In “Old Chief Wood’nhead”, a group of young hoodlums face retribution from an unlikely source after looting a local hardware store. Meanwhile, “The Raft” sees a group of horny teens wishing they’d read the warning signs first before taking a dip in a remote lake. Finally, an uptight businesswoman finds herself with some unwanted company following a hit-and-run incident in “The Hitch-hiker”.
Retaining the same EC comic book flavor that made the original such a hit, Creepshow 2, this time directed by long-time Romero collaborator Michael Gornick, is a standout horror anthology from the minds of two of the genre’s master craftsmen.
LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
- Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
- Original Uncompressed PCM Mono 1.0, Stereo and 5.1 DTS-HD MA Surround Audio Options
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Creepshow 2: Pinfall – Limited Edition Booklet featuring the never-before-seen comic adaptation of the unfilmed Creepshow 2 segment “Pinfall” by artist Jason Mayoh
- Audio Commentary with director Michael Gornick
- Poncho’s Last Ride – a brand new interview with actor Daniel Beer
- The Road to Dover – a brand new interview with actor Tom Wright
- Screenplay for a Sequel – an interview with screenwriter George A. Romero
- Tales from the Creep – an interview with actor and make-up artist Tom Savini
- Nightmares in Foam Rubber – archive featurette on the special effects of Creepshow 2, including interviews with FX artists Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero
- My Friend Rick – Berger on his special effects mentor Rick Baker
- Behind-the-Scenes Footage
- Image Gallery
- Trailers & TV Spots
- Original Screenplay (BD-ROM Content)
- Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by festival programmer Michael Blyth
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Mike Saputo
Sadly the Creepshow 2 has SOLD OUT
David Sodergren lives in Scotland with his wife Heather and his best friend, Boris the Pug.
Growing up, he was the kind of kid who collected rubber skeletons and lived for horror movies.
Not much has changed since then.
His first novel, The Forgotten Island, was published on October 1st 2018. This was followed by Night Shoot, a brutal throwback to the early 80s slasher movie cycle, in May 2019.
2020 will be Sodergren’s biggest year yet, with two new horror novels being published. Dead Girl Blues is a slasher-noir mystery, and it will be followed by a return to full-blown supernatural horror before the end of the year.
You can follow David on Twitter @paperbacksnpugs
To find out more about David please visit his official website www.paperbacksandpugs.wordpress.com
Find David on Instagram here
Dead Girl Blues
When a young woman dies in Willow Zulawski’s arms, it sets in motion a chain of events that will push her to the brink of madness.
A mysterious video is the only clue, but as Willow digs deeper into the murky world of snuff movies, those closest to her start turning up dead. Someone out there will stop at nothing to silence her.
After all, when killing is business, what’s one more dead body?
Part noir mystery, part violent slasher, Dead Girl Blues is the latest twisted shocker from David Sodergren, author of The Forgotten Island and Night Shoot.
The Forgotten Island
When Ana Logan agrees to go on holiday to Thailand with her estranged sister Rachel, she hopes it will be a way for them to reconnect after years of drifting apart.
But now, stranded on a seemingly deserted island paradise with no radio and no food, reconciliation becomes a desperate fight for survival.
For when night falls on The Forgotten Island, the dark secrets of the jungle reveal themselves.
Something is watching them from the trees.
You can read the Kendall Review for The Forgotten Island HERE
A group of desperate student filmmakers break into Crawford Manor for an unauthorised night shoot. They have no choice. Their lead actress has quit. They’re out of time. They’re out of money.
They’re out of luck.
For Crawford Manor has a past that won’t stay dead, and the crew are about to come face-to-face with the hideous secret that stalks the halls.
Will anyone survive…the NIGHT SHOOT?
A delirious homage to the slasher movies of the 1980s, Night Shoot delivers page after page of white-knuckle terror.
You can read the Kendall Review for Night Shoot HERE