George Romero and Stephen King bring
audiences three more thrilling tales of terror
Creepshow 2 (1987)
Directed by Michael Gornick
Written by George A. Romero
Starring George Kennedy, Tom Savini, Lois Chiles, Dorothy Lamour, Holt McCallany, Paul Satterfield, Jeremy Green, Daniel Beer,
Page Hannah, Tom Wright
Sequel to 1982's Creepshow
Based on short stories by Stephen King
With Shudder reviving the anthology as a series, it's fitting that I'm sitting here in a hotel room and this movie pops up on Shudder TV. I'm going to offer my two cents on each segment and the film as a whole to see if it holds up after all this time .
"Old Chief Wood'nhead." Right off the bat, this piece feels out of place in horror anthology. The tone is overly dramatic and the acting reminds me more of a soap opera than a horror flick. It's a morality tale mixed with plot that reminds me of Der Golem, a German horror film directed by Henrik Galeen. While that film is a classic and rightfully earned its place in history, this segment is forgettable. (4/10)
"The Raft." This is one that has stuck with me from the first time I saw it. Four teenagers at a secluded lake all become victims of a very hungry sentient gooey sludge, hunting them down one by one. It's a simple set up that is played to the max in violence and gore which is why it has stuck with me to this day. I have bookmarked the story so I can read it. What gets me the most about this one is that no one survives! You don't see that often and I always dig it when it happens. This is a great example of one (main) location filmmaking and being effective at creating a claustrophobic environment in the outdoors. (8/10)
"The Hitchhiker." A woman with a guilty conscience gets what she deserves as she's harassed by the ghost/zombie of a hitchhiker she ran over and left for dead. Stephen King is the only saving grace with his cameo as a truck driver but his standout performance will always be Jordy Verrill, no question. Another morality tale but much more horrific than the first segment.
Overall the sequel is a 6/10 for me. It tries to recapture the magic but falls short. Definitely not as bad as Creepshow 3 but that is another conversation for another time. I highly recommend watching the new Creepshow series on Shudder and check out everything else they have to offer.
Creepshow 2 is a largely forgettable anthology flick, with only one of the three stories standing out as something truly horrifying. The decision to cut the number of stories from five to three makes no sense, especially given that two of these stories are pretty unintentionally silly. Compared to the first one, this film is a major wash, relying too much on the prologue story with Billy and the Creep (Tom Savini), a Crypt Keeper knockoff who serves as our narrator, death puns and all.
The first story, "Old Chief Wood'nhead" stars George Kennedy and Dorothy Lamour as an elderly couple running a general store in a dying town. Out front is Chief Wood'nhead, a wooden statue of an American Indian. When they are robbed by hoodlums and killed, the Chief comes to life and goes after the killers. I'm sure this story was intended to be somewhat serious, but it's so ludicrous that it's impossible not to laugh.
The second story, "The Raft," was my personal favorite. I've read the King short story of the same name, and I thought it was terrifying. Four teenagers go swimming in an isolated lake and are picked off one by one by a gelatinous blob that lives in the water. The effects are bone-chilling, the acting is believable, and the tone is vastly different from the rest of the film. Easily the best of the three.
The final story, "The Hitchhiker," is a mess. Lois Chiles plays an attorney driving home from a one night stand. After she commits a hit and run, she tries to shake it off and continue home, but she keeps seeing the ghostly figure of the hitchhiker she killed. Instead of playing it serious, she keeps re-killing him by running him over, shooting him, and ramming him into a tree using the car. It's ridiculous and I couldn't take it seriously, especially since the hitchhiker keeps saying the same line over and over. "Thanks for the ride, lady." Creepshow 2 is a vastly different experience from the original cult classic. It's a lot goofier, and that doesn't help.