Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Creepshow 2 (1987)

Directed by:
Michael Gornick

The original CREEPSHOW featured five tales of horror using a colorful comic-book style to bring the stories to life. This time it's a trio of terror tales horror trilogy with macabre animated segments linking the three stories together. Instead of EC Comics as a basis, scriptwriter George A. Romero adapted three short stories by Stephen King, with mixed results. In "Old Chief Wood'nhead," a creepy-looking wooden Indian comes to life to avenge the deaths of elderly general store owner George Kennedy and his wife (played by Dorothy Lamour). The punks responsible for the crime (typically loud and insufferably annoying) are killed in gory ways; one is shot to death with arrows, one is killed with a tomahawk and the last gets scalped. The design on the Indian is great, creepy even, but the storyline is trite and predictable. Next comes "The Raft," which is easily the best segment and sticks closely to the King story. Four college students out for an afternoon of swimming (and pot-smoking) become trapped on a grounded raft and are promptly attacking by some kind of strange black creature which resembles a living oil slick. It owes a bit to THE BLOB, but has some suspense and several great death scenes. Finally "The Hitchhiker" has a rich bitch (Lois Chiles, who does what she can) being terrorized by the zombie of a guy (Tom Wright) she ran over in a hit-and-run accident. It's pretty bloody, but this segment grows monotonous and boring well before it's over. The animated segments that bookmark the live action ones feature a young boy getting revenge on some neighborhood bullies using a monster Venus fly trap. Tom Savini (who did the typically high quality gore fx for the film) also appears onscreen in full make-up as "The Creep" at the beginning and end.

Director Gornick had previously photographed DAWN OF THE DEAD and collaborated with Romero on the TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE TV show. He directed some episodes of that series, as well. The direct-to-video CREEPSHOW III (2004) followed and there's a remake of the first film on the horizon.


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