Sunday, October 12, 2014

Horrors of October - Creepshow 2 (#12)

Creepshow 2 (1987)

CREEPSHOW was and still is one of the absolute best anthology movies ever made, blessed with great comic-book-like direction by George A. Romero and five quality stories from horror writer Stephen King. Eventually, it came time for a sequel to be made but the key ingredients of the first film were all changed. Romero moved to script duty, King's stories went from five to just three, and Roger Corman's New World Pictures took over for Warner Bros. and obviously slashed the budget in half. Romero instead gave his directing slot to his long-time cinematographer Michael Gornick; considering that he never made another feature film after this, you can tell who's to blame first for CREEPSHOW 2. Honestly, the film itself isn't bad, certainly watchable for an afternoon, but it does suffer for its questionable artistic vision and low-budget nature. The first story, "Old Chief Woodenhead", is the worst of the three, telling a tale of a Native American statue getting revenge after his owners are killed by a trio of robbers. Despite featuring legends like George Kennedy and Dorothy Lamour, the acting is pretty poor. But I really accuse Gornick for its troubles, as it takes forever for the main conflict to come into the picture, plus the baffling decision to have the actor playing Woodenhead to stand still as the object, causing the attention to divert to the jilting figure. Why not just hire a trained mime for the job? The movie does picks itself off of the ground with "The Raft", a simple story about four college kids who are stuck on the floating platform because of an oil-slick-like creature. The main actor is kinda of a wash but the breezy plot, gross practical effects, and a killer ending twist make it the best short. The concluding chapter, "The Hitchhiker", is a lot better than when I first watched it. A rich snob speeds her way home after a date with a gigolo, only to kill a hitchhiking black man, and then find herself in constant peril by his new zombie-like state. The parts where Lois Chiles openly speaks out her inner thoughts are eye-rolling but the short does have a nice black comedic tone and harkens back to the old EC Comics. The wrap-around segments are okay if odd, since they are entirely animated and feature the film's comic-book narrator, who of course has to end every short with a bad horror pun. Again, just a satisfactory sequel.


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