Horrorfest 2019 Presents: Creepshow 2 (1987, Michael Gornick)


Those few who have bothered to read my reviews know that I am a sucker for horror anthologies. Even the lesser ones have something good to offer, however Creepshow 2 is a good one that I rather enjoyed. The first film is better due to the director and casting choices, yet the sequel has its charms. The Creep, this time played by horror legend Tom Savini, hands the latest issue off to young Billy, all while laughing with glee. And thus, begins our film. Hey it’s from New World Pictures, that company rocked.

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Ok the wrap around story is cool, although its mostly animated. Probably for budget reasons, and because it looks great, reminding me a little of the animation from Heavy Metal. More on that later. The first story is called “Old Chief Wood’nhead,” and it concerns a nice elderly couple played by George Kennedy and Dorothy Lamour. What happens to them is tragic, resulting in a killer statue coming to life and seeking revenge. This one is awesome and is wisely kept short, although the viewer is left to wonder if the old chief will do it again. Or has done it before. Spooky. Also I didn’t recognize Holt McCallany as Sam, the leader of the gang that gives the old couple trouble. It must have been the hair…

Before the next story begins, Billy stops to buy a Venus flytrap bulb. Does this figure into the story later? Maybe…and now, for “The Raft,” the best tale of the bunch. A group of young kids make a grave error and encounter something monsterous on a secluded lake. Not the fun romp they had in mind. I like the FX in this one, and the ending made me chuckle. I know the story is slightly different, and I will read it at some point. This is the only tale of the trio that could have been made into a movie. Which is not a knock on the film overall, just a reminder that some tales are better than others.

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Look at that fat bully. He leads a gang that makes the really big mistake of going after Billy. The wrap around story is actually my favorite thing about Creepshow 2, and has the main thing I like about both films: if you are a sucky person, you get crushed by the wheel of karma. This brings us to the last tale, a bleak slice of humor called “The Hitch-hiker.” Lois Chiles cheats on her husband, then runs over some poor guy on her way home. She keeps on driving, only to find out that sometimes the dead refuse to stay dead. “THANKS FOR THE RIDE, LADY!” is a line I will never forget, haha, along with Stephen King playing a trucker in a weird little cameo.

Overall despite its flaws (low budget, only three stories, lesser cast, etc) I rather liked Creepshow 2. I have no desire to watch the third film. I believe that Shudder is making a new Creepshow show, which sounds promising. They were also the reason I was able to finally view this flick. What a great resource.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Below (2002, David Twohy)


David Twohy has mastered the art of the B-movie and relies on good old fashioned solid movie craftsmanship. Below is a throw back to old school haunted house movies with a modern twist, although it is set during WW II on an American submarine. After the sub picks up a few survivors weird things begin to happen on deck. Unexplainable and very creepy things. It doesn’t help matters that a German warship is chasing after them, or that the previous captain of the sub died under mysterious circumstances. Even before bizarre events start occurring the ship’s crew is rattled and nervous, which reminds me of a classic submarine movie, Das Boot (1981). This film benefits from its all cast of Bruce Greenwood, Olivia Williams, Matthew Davis, Holt McCallany, Scott Foley, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Flemyng and Dexter Fletcher. Its funny watching Flemyng, who is British, play an American crew member, and you also have Galifianakis in a rare dramatic role, which he should play more often because he’s rather good here. The film largely relies on atmosphere, which is laid on thick, and there are very few jump scare moments so the ones that pop up are utilized to heavy effect. Also Bruce Greenwood is the stoic replacement captain, and as the film goes on he slowly loses his grip on reality and what is really going on.

What I really also like about this movie is the banter between the crewmen, which feels realistic, and also the fact that Twohy resists many haunted house style cliches, choosing to attempt a movie that has both style and subsistence. Although there really isn’t much else to Below besides some political and social commentary that is not really explored, the film itself is another example of Twhoy’s talents as a director. Plus I really like Olivia Williams as an actress-she has a quiet grace to her, and she has played both sympathetic and antagonist roles in the past and in the present. Plus that ending is wonderfully mysterious, giving the viewer cause to question certain events and wonder about fate, and what possibly happened.

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