For that special someone in life who always insists you check under the beds and in the closets before turning in for the night comes the September 26 premiere of the SHUDDER streaming service horror anthology, Creepshow. New episodes will drop after this every Thursday up to October 31.
The long dormant Creepshow series, which petered out with the absolutely awful Creepshow 3 back in 2006, gets a new lease on life courtesy of the aforementioned Shudder and horror legend (and The Walking Dead executive producer) Greg Nicotero who pulls some serious overtime duty by serving as a director for the new series as well as executive producer.
So why should you care? Creepshow began life steeped in the dark corners of the imagination of the one and only Stephen King who wrote the screenplay (his first) for the film. Most of the film was based off of short stories King had written prior with some new terrors added to round out the five story format of the George Romero directed flick. The style of the movie closely followed that of the now justifiably famous E.C. line of horror comic books from the 1950s such as Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror; revenge based horror with an O. Henry twist. King and Romero grew up on those comics and Creepshow was their love letter to that particular genre of comics.
Creepshow 2 was not far behind the box-office success of the first film, being released in 1987, just five years after the original. Although Romero sat this entry out, he did serve as executive producer and co-screenwriter to the Michael Gornick helmed outing and, of course, King’s short stories were the basis for the newest film.
The less said about Creepshow 3 the better. Let the record show that this third offering of blood and gore lacked the bloody tongue and cheek homage to E.C. of the two other entries and Romero and King wisely eschewed any involvement in these tales of woe, making this a hard movie to slog through indeed.
Which brings us full circle to Shudder’s new series: The new Creepshow promises six brand new episodes with an eye-popping total of twelve stories spread out across those six installments to haunt our shiny streaming devices. This new series promises a rebirth of sorts for the brand, with a Stephen King story entitled Gray Matter appropriately leading the charge.
Although King will not be represented writing-wise with every outing, and sadly George Romero is no longer with us, the list of writing and directing talent (along with some serious actors) associated with this new endeavor is nothing to sneeze at. Joe Hill, who is no stranger to Stephen King himself (look it up) takes a stab at the enticingly titled story, By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain. Such horror mainstays and accomplished scribes as Joe R. Lansdale, Paul Dini, John Skipp and Bruce Jones also lend their considerable talents to the festivities, ensuring that this new stab (insert requisite Fozzie Bear laughter after each bad pun) at a genre favorite will not go gently into that good night.
For ye olde scribbler of letters and such, the return of Creepshow is tremendously personal: As a young lad of just nine years I was taken to see the original film at the theater in ’82 by my stepmother. Before checking out the movie I had cut my teeth on late night viewings of mostly old Universal and Hammer horror flicks and counted myself as a regular reader of Uncle Forry’s Famous Monsters of Filmland and thought myself impervious to any new horrors that the mythical land of Hollywood had to offer. Heck, I had recently dove headfirst into Rod Serling’s kooky Twilight Zone which was also a horror/fantasy/sci-fi anthology of sorts, so what possible nightmares could this Romero and King really scare up for my worldly grey matter?
Two hours and ten minutes after Creepshow had unspooled from a rickety old film projector in an Air Force base movie theater, I stumbled blindly into the late afternoon sun: I felt like Balboa after crossing the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean. Suddenly the world of horror movies wasn’t only relegated to my families tinny rabbit eared television set and the black and white world of Karloff and Lugosi (god bless ‘em – I love them still). Stephen King and George Romero had placed their horror laced hands over my impressionable eyes and, upon lifting them suddenly up, had revealed a new world to me of dark red corn syrup, extreme vengeance from beyond the grave and the so disgusting it was beautiful makeup and special effects of Mr. Tom Savini (who, by the by, is directing an episode of the new series). This nine year old was suddenly a whole lot more worldly when it came to horror and there was no more looking back for this former Monster Kid.
So grab a bowl of popcorn and a loved one, turn down the living room lights and get set for the return of Creepshow!