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David Arquette, Adrienne Barbeau, Giancarlo Esposito

Horror anthology based on classic EC Comics.
Rated TV-MA.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 265 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 6/2/2020

• Audio Commentaries for All 6 Episodes
• Featurettes
• Behind the Scenes Footage
• Photo Galleries
• Booklet


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
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Creepshow: Season One [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 27, 2020)

Back in 1982, Stephen King and George Romero united to create Creepshow, an homage to the EC Comics of the 1950s. While not a major hit, genre fans enjoyed it and it turned into a cult classic.

Nearly 40 years later, the property gets new life via a Shudder series logically entitled Creepshow. Season One includes six episodes, each of which presents two stories apiece. The plot synopses come straight from the set’s liner notes.

Gray Matter: “Richie’s (Jesse C. Boyd) drinking habit was getting out of control, but no one expected his thirst to become insatiable. His appetite grew from beer to animals to people, and with a hurricane closing in, Richie begins to devour everything in sight.”

The series kicks off with a bang via the effective “Matter”. Given that synopsis, I expected little more than a vampire tale, but instead, the show builds toward a mix of surprises. Add a quality cast that includes Giancarlo Esposito, Adrienne Barbeau and Tobin Bell and this episode works well.

The House of the Head: “Evie’s (Cailey Fleming) dolls are some of her favorite companions, but when a severed toy head appears in her dollhouse and starts murdering, Evie can’t protect them.”

Much of “Head” goes pretty well, as its first half builds an intriguing plot and a sense of tension. However, the story doesn’t really go anywhere in the end, so it sputters out and lacks a satisfying finale.

Bad Wolf Down: “A platoon of American soldiers is forced to hide out in a dilapidated police station during WWII, but they soon discover something more sinister has been unleashed inside the building: a werewolf.”

With Jeffrey Combs as a Nazi leader, “Down” offers some decent horror fun. Unfortunately, like “Head”, “Down” seems more like a premise than a fleshed-out story, so it loses steam as it goes and becomes less than satisfactory by its conclusion.

The Finger: “Clark (DJ Qualls) has a passion for found objects, and one day, he comes home with something particularly odd: a finger. It grows into something terrifying."

After two inconsistent episodes, Creepshow rebounds with the clever “Finger”. Qualls does well as the lead, and the story goes down a few wholly surprising twists. Although the creature design seems too reminiscent of the chestburster from Alien, I still find a lot to enjoy about this nutty program.

All Hallows Eve: “A group of teens go trick-or-treating, but they aren’t met with smiles and sweets – they’re met with raw fear. The neighbors known they’re not stopping for candy – they’re back for revenge.”

“Eve” starts with a premise that seems innocent, but it grows more malevolent as it progresses. One of the less predictable episodes, “Eve” turns into a solid horror tale, one that even boasts some real emotion by its conclusion.

The Man in a Suitcase: “Justin (Will Kindrachuk) brings home the wrong suitcase and is shocked to find a pretzeled man stuffed inside who spits out gold coins when he is in pain.”

We find a clever premise via “Man”, and the show explores the topic in an entertaining manner. The tale goes toward a pretty predictable finale – comeuppance required here! – but the program keeps us with it and delivers a solid supernatural story.

The Companion: “One night Harry (Logan Allen) stumbles upon an old scarecrow. When he accidentally brings it to life and finds a dead body in its wake, he needs to fix everything before he becomes its next victim.”

While not a bad episode, “Companion” seems a little too reminiscent of “The Finger”. No, it doesn’t remake that one, but it comes with some similar themes. Though it doesn’t flop, the show feels less than stellar.

Lydia Layne's Better Half: “When Lydia (Tricia Helfer) accidentally kills her lover (Danielle Lyn) and needs to hide the evidence, she gets trapped in an elevator with the body.”

Unlike most of the Creepshow episodes. “Half” leaves the presence of supernatural forces up for grabs, as it doesn’t totally telegraph those elements. That becomes the show’s best element, as the rest feels a little slow and not especially scary.

Night of the Paw: “A mortician (Bruce Davison) saves the life of a woman (Hannah Barefoot) who shows up at his door one night. Unbeknownst to her, the man wished for a murderer to come put him out of his misery – maybe she wasn’t so fortunate after all.”

The original story for “Monkey’s Paw” goes back well over a century and has been told many times across that span, so “Night” might seem like it explores old territory. To some degree, it does, but the show still brings us enough cleverness to succeed. Throw in some appealing shots of Barefoot in her undies and this winds up as a better than average episode.

Times Is Tough in Musky Holler: “Former Mayor Lester Barclay (Dane Rhodes) is in prison, and with his most loyal supporters locked up too, his odds don’t look too good. Their gruesome means of control went too far, and now they’ll get a taste of their own medicine.”

Given the current presidential administration and the plague that stalks the world, “Tough” hits a little too close to home. Even without its unintentional reflection of present times, though, “Tough” offers a wild, crazed horror tale.

Skincrawlers: “Dr. Sloan (Chad Michael Collins) has discovered a miracle cure for weight loss in a rare fat-sucking leech. During a solar eclipse, an unintended and explosive side effect of the leeches gets revealed.”

On the positive side, “Skincrawlers” brings an intriguing take on the pursuit of vanity. On the other hand, it can feel trite, and the presence of the world’s fakest fat suit on Hina Khan telegraphs plot points. Expect an interesting but inconsistent episode.

By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain: “Rose (Sydney Wease) finds Champ, the legendary monster of Lake Champlain, but when her unhinged stepfather (James Devoti) threatens to take all the credit, Rose realizes Champ may actually still be lurking in the lake.”

A spin on the Loch Ness Monster, “Water” boasts potential as an intriguing tale. However, the involvement of the abusive stepfather makes too much of the episode seems trite and predictable. It’s not a bad show, but it ends Season One on a lackluster note.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B+

Creepshow appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on these Blu-ray Discs. Given the series’ anthology nature, visuals varied from episode to episode, but in general the shows looked positive.

Sharpness brought the only minor weak link here, as the episodes could occasionally seem a bit less precise than I’d expect. Still, the shows usually presented pretty good delineation, so the softness didn’t turn into a major concern.

No signs of jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws also failed to create issues.

Colors varied across the different stories, so don’t expect a consistent palette. The tones looked well-developed for the needs of each show, though, and they looked vivid and well-depicted.

Blacks seemed deep and dense, while shadows offered good delineation, an important consideration given the often murky nature of the series’ action. I’d like something a bit tighter on a consistent basis, but in general, the shows looked fine.

As for the series’ DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio, it added kick to the proceedings. With a fair number of action scenes, the tracks used the five channels in an involving manner.

This meant creepy ambience at times, but more dynamic sequences resulted as well. The five speakers broadened in a natural, engaging manner to bring vivacity to the shows.

Audio quality seemed positive, with speech that came across as concise and clean. Music appeared full and lively as well.

Effects turned into an important consideration, and those displayed nice accuracy and heft, with good low-end when necessary. The audio fleshed out the episodes in a pleasing manner.

All 12 stories include audio commentaries. Here’s who we find on these:

“Gray Matter”: show runner/director Greg Nicotero and writer Philip de Blasi.

“The House of the Head”: director John Harrison and moderator Michael Felsher.

“Bad Wolf Down”: Felsher and writer/director Rob Schrab.

“The Finger”: Nicotero and writer David J. Schow.

“All Hallow’s Eve”: Harrison and Felsher.

“The Man in a Suitcase”: Felsher and director David Bruckner.

“The Companion”: Bruckner and writer Matt Venne.

“Lydia Layne’s Better Half”: Nicotero and director Roxanne Benjamin.

“Night of the Paw” Commentary One: Harrison and Felsher.

“Night of the Paw” Commentary Two: Felsher and Harrison.

“Times Is Tough in Musky Holler” Commentary 1: Felsher and writer John Esposito.

“Times Is Tough in Musky Holler” Commentary 2: Felsher and writer John Skipp.

“Skincrawlers”: Nicotero, Benjamin and actor Dana Gould.

“By the Silver Waters of Lake Champlain”: Felsher and director Tom Savini.

Across the commentaries, we learn about stories/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, various effects, influences and Easter eggs, music and audio, and connected domains.

Commentaries for TV series tend to be spotty, but these consistently work pretty well. Of course, some fare better than others, but even the weakest offers good notes, so the whole lot deserve a listen.

Additional extras appear on a third disc. Under Series 1 Featurettes, we get seven segments with a total running time of one hour, two minutes, four seconds.

Across these, we hear from Nicotero, Gould, Harrison, Savini, Schrab, Benjamin, Bruckner, Schow, author Joe Hill, director of photography Robert Draper, special makeup effects designer Carey Jones, and actors Adrienne Barbeau, Giancarlo Esposito, Tobin Bell, David Arquette, DJ Qualls, Tricia Helfer, and Jeffrey Combs.

The featurettes examine the original movie and its move toward the series, cast and crew, stories and characters, photography and visual design, and various effects.

Intended for promotional reasons, the first few featurettes seem superficial and not especially informative. However, they improve as they go, so the last three become the ones you want to watch. Those give us good notes about the production, whereas the first four lean toward fluff.

Within the “Series 1 Featurettes” domain, we find an Easter Egg. Click right from “Ripped from the Pages” to find a four-minute, 29-second piece about… Easter eggs.

We hear about some of these in the commentaries, but the featurette points out more of them and also lets us see them. That makes it a valuable addition to the set.

Episode-specific bonus materials come in their own sections, so I’ll look at them based on each show. Under Gray Matter/House of the Head we find five short clips: “House Call” (6:24), “Things In the Corner” (6:28), “Welcome to the Dollhouse” (4:20), “Head Trauma” (9:20), and “Evie” (4:14).

Across these, we hear from Esposito, Bell, propmaster Lucas Godfrey, writer Josh Malerman, and actor Cailey Fleming.

The clips cover cast, characters and performances as well as props and story elements. The actor chats don’t reveal much of interest, but Malerman brings fun notes about his work and Godfrey gives us a nice close-up look at the episode’s dollhouse.

This domain also brings eight minutes, 37 seconds of “Behind the Scenes Footage”. This presents raw footage from the “Gray Matter” and “House of the Head” sets, and it becomes a good view of the production.

We conclude this area with a “Photo Gallery”. It presents a running montage with 43 images from the two episodes. Expect a decent compilation.

As we shift to Bad Wolf Down/The Finger, the following featurettes appear: “Wolf Bait” (3:23) and “The Lonely Man” (5:41). These involve actors Jeffrey Combs and DJ Qualls and offer thoughts about their characters. Neither tells us much of interest, though Qualls produces the more interesting chat of the two.

“Behind the Scenes Footage”(8:33) gives us another nice glimpse of the shoot. “Photo Gallery” produces 43 more stills, and these remain engaging.

With that we head to All Hallow’s Eve/Man In the Suitcase, where only one featurette appears: “Stay Gold”, a nine-minute, four-second reel that includes notes from actors Connor Christie, Andrew Eakle, Jasun Jabbar and Madison Thompson. They offer thoughts about casting and performances in this decent discussion.

More “Behind the Scenes Footage” (4:18) follows the path of prior collections and continues to engage. We also get another 37 stills under “Photo Gallery”.

The Companion/Lydia Layne’s Better Half offers one featurette: “Out of Order”. It goes for six minutes, 40 seconds and provides remarks from actor Tricia Helfer. She chats about her role and aspects of the episode in this superficial reel.

“Behind the Scenes Footage” gives us another 10 minutes, 41 seconds of production material. “Photo Gallery” boasts another 43 images.

Next we go to Night of the Paw/Times Is Tough in Musky Holler, where we locate zero featurettes! We simply discover the usual “Behind the Scenes Footage” (6:26) and “Photo Gallery” (43 stills). Both work fine as always.

Lastly, we end with Skincrawlers/By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain, where we get one featurette: “Miracle Cure”. It goes for four minutes, 51 seconds and includes notes from actor Dana Gould. He gives us a few decent thoughts.

“Behind the Scenes Footage” lasts eight minutes, 17 seconds and encompasses the usual material. “Photo Gallery” provides another 43 stills. Why always 43, curious minds must ask.

Like most anthologies, Season One of Creepshow lacks consistency. Nonetheless, it brings a generally good array of horror stories and becomes mostly engaging. The Blu-rays offer positive picture and audio as well as a good roster of bonus materials. Creepshow brings back the franchise in a pleasing way.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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