Movie Review: Creepshow 2

Posted: October 19, 2010 in Movie Review, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

1

Creepshow 2 (1987 New World Pictures Dir. Michael Gornick)

How do you follow the success of one of the most popular horror anthology movies ever? You make Tales from the Darkside for TV of course. What if you’re knee deep in that program and someone reminds you that Creepshow was a theatrical release and that they’d like to have another movie? Well, if you make a sort of halfhearted sequel that’s under funded and as a result fails to capture quite the spirit of the original. I place no blame at the feet of director Michael Gornick. I’ve listened to his commentary and it sounds like he made the best product he could with the tools he was given to work with. The problem was that New World Pictures was trying to make the movie on less than half what the first movie cost, which I can’t help but wonder if that frustrated Romero, which caused him to pass on directing duties. As I understand it, Romero was going to write and direct, and then decided to pass the directing duties to Tom Savini, who either because of time or not wanting to deal with what was becoming a cost cutting adventure passed it on to Gornick. Additionally, because of some production problems, the bonding company ended up placing extra pressure on the company asking them to speed up the production. So, there was some frustration in production, and that caused the end product to be less than stellar. It’s not even that this is bad, or not an enjoyable ride. It’s good, it’s fun, it’s just not as good or as fun as the original. It’s worth watching though, so let’s dive in and check it out.

2

First sign of problems, there are only 3 stories instead of 5. This was for budgetary reasons, like a lot of things on this movie. The movie has an almost fully animated frame story. I say almost because the open of the movie is live action, which becomes animated, remains animated through out the movie and then the frame story becomes live action again at the end. When we enter the film, we get the beginning of the animation and the credits. Then we waltz through a bit of animation where the Creep puns his way towards introducing the first story, Old Chief Wood’n Head.

3

Right away, we kind of hit a snag. Part of then problem with this movie as a whole is that at this point in the proceedings, you quickly know how this story is going to go. The original Creepshow was based two parts in nostalgia, and one part in concept. The thing about nostalgia is that it’s easy to pick up a thing from your past once, much harder to do it multiple times. After a little while, you remember why you put these things down in the first place. The stories for those old comics weren’t terribly well written, they went over the same ground many times, and to an extent you can work your way through an EC Horror comic with your eyes closed because the path is so well trod. That leaves you with the concept, which was more or less abandoned for this second movie. Creepshow 2 doesn’t have the same living comic book feel. Also, since Tales from the Darkside had already done three seasons (and Gornick had directed several episodes) when this movie was made, there is a feeling that these are three episodes made without the constraints of television budgets or censors.

4

This first story has something to say, starting with a comment about the state of the American small town in the late 80s. However, mostly it’s a story where three kids kill a nice old couple and a wooden storefront Indian takes revenge upon them. It’s not a terribly complicated story Once you’ve explained the basic plot (as I have) the only thing left would be to describe in detail how each person is killed (I have no wish to) or just let the review end. I can give a little more detail about the movie I suppose. All three stories are written by Stephen King and adapted by George Romero. After this, I believe the only time George and Steve worked together on a project was Romero’s adaptation of The Dark Half.

5

After the story ends, we get a bit more of the frame story, which in a rare instance actually carries on through the movie instead of just being barely touched on. The tale in this part involves the boy (Billy) getting some Venus flytraps in the mail and having to pick them up from the post office. Then we go right into The Raft, which is probably the best known story because it’s the only one from the movie that’s actually been included in a short story collection. It’s probably the best section of the movie, even though it suffers a similar problem that the last story had. He Raft is again, a very simple story. Some kids swim out to a raft, and discover that some kind of living oil slick wants to eat them. As they wait on the raft, it picks them off one by one. The thing that’s supposed to be the blob doesn’t look anything like as convincing as it should, but one can get over that. It’s well acted, but even the story is like a gothic horror in that it’s mainly about the experience rather than the events.

6

The next frame segment has Billy being chased by some bullies. The only connection that the frame has to the stories is that Billy is reading the comic as he goes along. That brings us to The Hitchhiker, which again is of the gothic, ‘events happen’ style of story. In this, a woman hits a hitchhiker, and instead of staying dead, the hitchhiker clings to the car and terrorizes the woman. The only thing the hitchhiker actually says is “Thanks for the ride lady” while he terrorizes her. The woman keeps trying to shake the hitchhiker, destroying both her car and his body during the process, but doesn’t get away. In the end, the zombie hitchhiker gets her and we go back to the frame story where the bullies are eaten by massive Venus Flytraps. We then go back to the live action and The Creep is in the back of the truck and throws comic books out as the truck drives away and the credits roll.

7

This is not a bad movie. It’s a pretty good movie in fact, it’s just not a great movie. Had it been the first Tales From the Darkside movie, it probably would have been better received. Being compared to the first movie harms this movie though, because it’s supposed to be a continuation of the last movie. Had it been taken on its own, it would have been regarded as a moderately good anthology film, which is what it is. It’s a perfectly good movie, but not mind blowing. Still, get a copy and give it a try. It’s worth your time at the very least.

Official Score:
33 Degrees on the Graffiti Bridge Scale.

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