While we wait for Season 2 of Creepshow on Shudder — delayed by the pandemic — we have received a couple related items to tide us over. The animated special around Halloween and now a Christmas special featuring a live action story.
Robert Weston has noticed some odd changes lately that his doctors can’t explain. The only explanation for his symptoms is that he might be… a werewolf? In search of an answer, he discovers an unusual support group where others can help him learn the truth, but what he discovers is far more sinister than he could have ever imagined. The rag-tag group of misfits must band together to fight the assassin who has been hunting them for centuries.
In 2017, The Simpsons released “Treehouse of Horror XXVIII”, the 28th installment of the anarchic cartoon comedy’s annual Halloween specials. Like all “Treehouse of Horrors”, which frequently kill off the eponymous Simpsons, the special was a non-canon outing that parodied Coraline, The Exorcist, and bizarrely, “Survivor Type”. This being The Simpsons, their version of events is a bit different from King’s original story. For one thing, it’s Homer doing the self-cannibalizing. For another, he does have other food available to him — he’d just prefer to eat himself rather than vegetables or lunch with Flanders. Finally, the segment is set in the family’s Springfield home rather than on a desert island.
Watched The Simpsons episode and it’s a very loose parody. The only part worth comparing is Homer trying to eat himself, but of course it’s comedy so he isn’t stranded on an island, he’s just home and runs out of food. Why doesn’t he go to the Kwik E Mart? That’s never really answered, but perhaps that’s the part of the joke(?)
Whatever you think of this episode, I’m a fan of these yearly Treehouse of Horror. They aren’t constrained by keeping the characters alive in the regular stories, which makes them unpredictable and fun.
Some exciting horror-related news dropped 9/24 concerning the anthology Creepshow series at Shudder. The announcement came originally via a Shudder tweet which was promptly picked up by various news sources, including Bloody-disgusting further below.
While we knew that Creepshow Season 2 filming was delayed due to the pandemic (it has since started filming in Atlanta), we didn’t know they were secretly working on a fully animated Creepshow TV special that will contain two stories from the Stephen King family in time for Halloween 2020!
Shudder details. “Though Greg Nicotero and his team are hard at work shooting season 2 (coming in 2021), they’ve crafted a fully animated Creepshow special for us just in time for Halloween, featuring two tales to die for: “Survivor Type,” based on the short story by Stephen King and adapted by Nicotero, stars Kiefer Sutherland (24, Designated Survivor) as a man determined to stay alive alone on a deserted island no matter what the cost. “Twittering from the Circus of the Dead,” based on the short story by Joe Hill and adapted by Melanie Dale, stars Joey King (The Kissing Booth, The Act) as a teen whose family road trip includes a visit to the gravest show on earth. (Also available on Shudder Canada, Shudder UK and Shudder ANZ).”
Am not familiar with Joe Hill’s story, but am very familiar with “Survivor Type” from King’s collection, Skeleton Crew (an awesome name for a horror short story collection, btw).
Creeepshow showrunner Greg Nicotero has been trying to figure out how to adapt King’s “Survivor Type” on a budget for quite some time. This was the very first story King and Nicotero discussed being adapted. As it turns out King’s story “Gray Matter” was used instead for season one.
Nicotero says he realized very quickly that they couldn’t shoot the script in a way that would do it justice. “We couldn’t go to the beach to shoot, because we didn’t have the cash to do it,” he reveals. “So after a little bit of struggling back and forth, I went to my production team and just said, ‘Guys, we’re not going to be able to make this script right. I don’t want to shoot it on a lake and then digitally erase all of the trees, or shoot it in a parking lot with a blue screen behind it.’”
Apparently the animated route was the way to get this project completed. No idea what the quality of the animation will be like (the first season animation segments received mixed reviews), but I remember reading the original graphic novel of the first movie. Great stuff. You can still find that out there on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions (recommended!).
Speaking of books, there is a new young adult paperback just released this month called Creepshow: The Taker. It’s not aimed at adults, so keep that in mind. Not sure if it a graphic novel either, so adult buyers beware. You can search Amazon and other booksellers to find if interested.
Back to the animated special we’re spotlighting in this post.
Also announced, Kiefer Sutherland, who’s last role in anything by Stephen King was playing Ace in Stand By Me, is the voice actor for the shipwrecked doctor in “Survivor Type.” Jack Bauer meets Stephen King, oh yeah. Joey King (no relation to Stephen King), the actress will be the voice actor for Joe Hill’s story.
If this special episode goes over well, maybe we’ll get a full season order of a Creepshow animated series from Shudder? I’d be interested in a full series. They can make animated episodes on a lower budget than live action, so why not? I remember reading that each episode of Star Trek The Animated Series (1973) were created on a budget of $75,000 per episode — and that included the voice actor fees. They can’t do it that inexpensively in 2020, but it shows the budgetary requirements, not to mention pandemic restrictions, favor animated productions.
Creepshow: The Animated TV Special will stream exclusively on Shudder on October 26, 2020.
Starting September 2019, Shudder rebooted the Creepshow anthology horror movies as an original Shudder TV series and released new episodes every Thursday until they reached six episodes (12 stories) for the first season. There are two short stories within each episode. Below are my ratings and reviews of each episode as well as overall ranking of all 12 stories within the six episode first season.
“Gray Matter” ⭐️⭐️ Based on a Stephen King short story, this tale of a boy who is worried about his father being “different” is a mixed bag as reboot kickoff for the show. I would rather have seen them make King’s “Survivor Type” as was originally announced, but maybe we’ll get that in a future season(?), if Shudder renews it for another.
“The House of the Head” ⭐️⭐️½ A severed head in a dollhouse? How did it get there and what’s its purpose? Little girl gets freaked out, but didn’t really get to me. This one is mediocre.
“Bad Wolf Down” ⭐️⭐️½ WWII + Nazi + werewolf revenge on American soldiers. Reminded me of and seems (heavily?) influenced by Robert R. McCammon’s excellent horror novel, “The Wolf’s Hour” I guess until/if an adaptation of that story is made, this is sort of OK.
“The Finger” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A man finds a finger bone that soon grows into a pet creature that he names Bob. This is a particularly nasty episode. Liked it.
“All Hallows Eve”⭐️½ Creepy teens go out trick-or-treating, and it’s no treats, all sinister tricks. A number of these Creepshow tales are revenge-oriented. This is one of the weakest ones to me.
“The Man in the Suitcase” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ A man is found twisted and bent inside a suitcase. Whenever additional pain is inflicted upon the man, he spits out gold coins. Greed and torture in this deliciously sinister short. Loved it!
“The Companion”⭐️½ What starts as a bully tale turns into a man that empowered a scarecrow with vengeful results. Not digging this one. Reminded me somewhat of a Halloween-themed version of “Lot 249” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with an adaptation in Tales from the Darkside. Scarecrows just aren’t that scary to me. Must be The Wizard of Oz that ruined that for me.
“Lydia Layne’s Better Half”⭐️⭐️⭐️ Lydia screams, “I always win!” An elevator is not the best place to spend time with both an employee and lover’s corpse. Entertaining “stuck with the dead” tale.
“Night of the Paw” ⭐️⭐️½ A despondent old man gives Angela the gift of the paw. Ah yes, the “Monkey’s Paw” (1902!) retold. This story has been reworked so many times and is best in the short form like this. An OK version, heavy on exposition, nothing crazy good about it.
“Times is Tough In Musky Holler” ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ Lester Barclay, Mayor of Musky Holler, took care of his town by keeping them from an undead onslaught. He created and promoted a savage arena where the dead are caged and unleashed as sport. Nasty!
“Skincrawlers” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐⭐️ ️ Rare fat eating leeches used at a slick new weight loss company to make heavyset people skinnier and everything is great, right? Wrong. Pure body horror bliss. My favorite episode of the first season.
“By The Silver Water of Lake Champlain” ⭐️ A monster at the bottom of the lake takes her father and now his daughter investigates. Seriously, the creature looked more fake than the Gorn in the 60s Star Trek. Laughed in fact. Reminds me of decorative plastic fruit in a bowl with teeth. Worst episode in the series. What a contrasting episode that has the best episode and worst of the first season.
Overall Ranking of All Season One Episodes
“Skincrawlers” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐⭐️ ️
“The Man in the Suitcase” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
“The Finger” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Times is Tough In Musky Hollow”⭐️⭐️⭐️½
“Lydia Layne’s Better Half”⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Night of the Paw”⭐️⭐️½
“House of the Head” ⭐️⭐️½
“Bad Wolf Down” ⭐️⭐️½
“Gray Matter” ⭐️⭐️
“All Hallow’s Eve”⭐️½
“The Companion” ⭐️½
“By The Silver Water of Lake Champlain” ⭐️
Overall maximum possible rating: 60 (100% = 12 episodes x 5 stars) Actual overall rating: 33 1/2 = ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Creepshow on Shudder Season 1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ offers enough recommended episodes (anything rated at least three stars is recommended) to wish for another season, and, good news, they have already greenlit one, my hope is they will try to find more diversified horror tales vs. such a heavy focus on revenge stories. The lesser entertaining stories they shot were these type of stories.
Very happy to learn that AMC has announced they will renew the hit TV showCreepshow for a second season. I’ve been following along with each new episode, with the finale of the first season available on a very timely Halloween.
“Creepshow is a breakout series that’s hit the trifecta for streaming services: Shudder members love it, critics love it and it’s driving record numbers of new subscribers,” said Shudder GM Craig Engler. “Greg Nicotero and his team have delivered an amazing show that honors the original movie by George A. Romero and Stephen King while forging an identity that’s uniquely its own.”
Originally they were planning to do Stephen King’s story “Survivor Type” — I hope that one or another good one of his is chosen. “Gray Matter” which was the debut episode of season one, episode one was just so-so.
We will have a review of the entire first TV season of Creepshow very soon. It’s already written through the first five episodes, but waiting to review the final episode so a single post can have a review for the entire season. Also, did this for Black Mirror, and that will be available exclusively here on this blog soon.