Some may have never heard of Shudder. To be fair, they recently hit one million subscribers, and growing. I on the other hand, specifically became a member for a Shudder Original Show, Creepshow. Based on the beloved 80's dark, comic horror film and subsequently influenced by EC Horror comics of the 50's. George A. Romero and Stephen King crafted a cartoonish yet frightening anthology. Stories cater to different tastes. One thing stands out though, and thats the Fun! "The Most Fun You'll Ever Have... BEING SCARED!" If you like your camp dark, join us as a counselor.
Much like the rest of Hollywood, due to Covid-19 the production on season 2 of Creepshow was postponed. . They were able to craft an anthology of two stories for an animated episode. Just in time for Halloween. A perfect gift and it's not even Christmas. Even better! It's Halloween time Boils and Ghouls.
The wrap around story begins with The Creep creating a comic book. He takes glee in creating a macabre flip comic of himself. This sets things up for the animated world. Creepshow fully takes advantage of the animated format. Everything looks appropriately grim and worn. One enthusiastically waits for more of these cartoon specials.
The first story, "Survivor Type", voiced by Kiefer Sutherland, written by Stephen King, and directed by Greg Nicotero. I hope you can survive this story. Simple set up. Man crash lands on desert island with a corpse and dwindling, seagull food source. Less and less birds appear as the corpse deteriorates. This is quite the grim and desolate story, fueled by inspiring animation. No supernatural. No monsters. Just Richard and his damaged mind.
He keeps recounting his professors and it relates because they beg the question, "How much shock trauma can a person sustain?". He begins to lose it from the heat, no eating for days at a time. He comes to the thought,"How badly does the patient want to survive? Richard's plight is dark, desolate, soul crushing, and brutal. If it weren't for periodic journaling and inner monologue, it would be too much to handle. All of flashbacks relate to the character and story. We finally have room to laugh. It's messed up, but you can't look away. His body deteriorates as his mind faulters. He keeps going further and further until he is so far from who he really is. Can he survive his time on the island?
The second story, "Twittering from The Circus of The Dead", has a framing device that is propelled by technology will deal with on a regular basis. Technology that offers us a feeling of safety. We follow Blake as she is stuck with her family during a road trip sending tweets from the back seat. They highlight what it's like to be a teenager stuck in a car with your family for long periods of time. The beginning is fun and the laughs are well received set ups and situations. Blake really paints a picture of being confined to a tin can with people you don't want to be around at the moment. Blake even happens to go into dreamscapes in her brain. Especially when battling with her mother. Her brother takes most of the funny bits. He's the wildcard.
The set up is all about the angsty tweeting and pleas for something fun to happen. Her wish may come true, but at what cost. Begrudgingly they decide to pull over and stop for a rest. Well, only dad makes an executive decision for everyone. Things turn from odd, to scary fairly quickly. We get zombie clowns, damsel in distress on stilts, a scared lion treat, and death defying spinning target practice with a live human as bait for a hatchet throwing zombie. Though it's under the guise of being a pretend show. Things begin to get very real, but everyone ignores the signs. The total pitch black of the seats to audience members seemingly, and hilariously getting dispatched. Shit hit the fan quicker than anyone can react. Blake and her mother are left alone. That is until Dad comes back. After all the survivors are gone, except for Blake. The old ticket attendant sends out mass tweets inviting people to join the circus email list. The cycle continues.
The music had me blown away. Everything about the music was perfect. From the interluding songs to the tension filled moments. I was on the edge of my seat in my ears. What fantastic sound design. I was expecting to think to hard on the music, but it matched beautifully. Even more so than the live action episode music.
The animated style take top form here. This could spin into it's own regular series. I'd be surprised if we never got another special again. Perhaps this will become a Halloween tradition. Don't break a Halloween tradition. Halloween, and The Creep, live within ones heart.