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Shudder’s first major new regular series, outside of The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs, has finally landed. Does Shudder’s refresh of the classic horror anthology series, Creepshow, stick that landing, though?

In short, yes; Creepshow is wonderfully creepy, presents two great stories, and lives up to the precedent of the original two films.

For those unfamiliar with Creepshow as a concept, the original film was a 1982 horror-comedy anthology directed by George A. Romero. The film also served as Stephen King’s first screenwriting credit. The film was a collection of short horror stories with a variety of stars, packaged like the kind of material you could find in old E.C. horror comics.

The show looks to follow this same spirit, providing two stories in the first episode. We’ll be reviewing the stories individually for these reviews.


On with the Creepshow

“Gray Matter”

The first tale of the evening features the biggest names of the episode. Genre fans should be happy with seeing Adrienne Barbeau, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tobin Bell. This story is a period piece about a small town and a bad, bad dad.

“Gray Matter,” directed by Greg Nicotero and based on a short story by Stephen King, has all the hallmarks of what one would expect from a Greg Nicotero production. The short is creepy as hell, incredibly gross, and full of some fantastic special effects. The Walking Dead has largely succeeded due to the directorial and producer’s eye of Nicotero. The same eye is definitely guiding Creepshow as a whole, yet, “Gray Matter” does miss the mark a bit.

The story features some members of the local community who take refuge in a general store during a hurricane. A local boy, Timmy, comes in from the storm to by beer for his father, but the boy seems spooked. Chief, a cop (Bell) and Doc (Esposito) go to deliver the beer and check up on dear ol’ dad. The boy stays behind with Dixie (Barbeau) and fills her in on what is going on.

The problem is that while so much of this story works, the apocalyptic ending does not have enough time to develop. The reveal of what Timmy’s father has become is incredibly gross and creepy. However, the ending feels rushed and the nature of the father’s growth is hurriedly broached.

Bottom Line

“Gray Matter” was about as gross and creepy as one would expect, but the ending is just lacking in enough buildup.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

“The House of the Head”

The second story of the evening stars Cailey Fleming, best known as Judith Grimes in the current seasons of The Walking Dead. Expect to see a number of the alumnus of the AMC series join Creepshow as the series goes on. Josh Malerman is the writer of the story, while directorial duties were handled beautifully by John Harrison.

A good descriptor for this story might be “minimalist.” One could hazard a guess that most of the budget went to a single prop: the dollhouse. The episode does not feature many locations at all and most of the action takes place in a child’s bedroom with a brief pair of sojourns to a toy store. The episode spends a great deal of its runtime panning through various grim tableaus within the dollhouse where the “Smithsmith” family is menaced by a sinister head.

… and that is pretty much the episode. A little girl watches a doll family menaced by a sinister head and finds all her efforts to stop it fail. There are legitimately creepy moments in the story that are peppered with an absurdity that just works. The continual trauma of these dolls is so incredibly messed up and compelling to watch. The fact that viewers have so much concern over the fates of these dolls is the biggest joke of the episode, complete with a wonderful sight gag of the young girl dressed for mourning by the end of the story.

Bottom Line

“The House of the Head” was a masterclass in making an episode of horror television on a budget using a strange concept. 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

The Creep Factor

Of the two tales presented for the first episode, the clear winner is “The House of the Head.” Ambition exceeded results in the night’s first story, “Gray Matter” which buckled a bit under the amount the it sought to achieve. “Gray Matter” would have benefited greatly from being a full hour of television.

“The House of the Head,” however is lean, creepy, and bleakly hilarious. The images of the dolls being menaced by a sinister head are equally chilling and absurd.

Also, kudos to the production team for the wonderful Creep himself who adds a delightful macabre to the framing of the episode. He’s not Crypt-Keeper, but there are some fun little jokes and gags to be had; such as the Creep crushing a beer, for example.


We hope that you enjoyed our coverage of the first installment of Shudder’s Creepshow. Creepshow will air on Thursdays around 9 PM EST on Shudder. Haunted MTL will be covering the whole 6 episodes of the first season.

Movies n TV

The Boys, The Insider



We’ve reached the second to last episode of The Boys, season four. And, as is appropriate for the penultimate episode of any show, things have to get a lot worse before they can get better.

Let’s discuss.

The story

Christmas is coming, and the whole world is getting ready. Ryan, despite being very clear that he didn’t want to appear on any TV shows or movies, has been strong-armed into participating in a Vought puppet Christmas special. He draws the line, though, when asked to sing about turning one’s parents in if they start talking about woke things.

Cameron Crovetti in The Boys.

Meanwhile, The Boys are trying to keep each other together. Butcher decides to take Sameer to the rest of the team. He also gets Frenchie out of prison, hoping they can make the Sup virus necessary to finally take down Homelander. Instead, this decision means disaster for one member of the team.


What worked

I first want to talk about Ryan’s speech near the end of the episode. Because it was exactly the moral of this whole story.

Ryan’s dad is a monster. His stepdad is also kind of a monster. But Ryan is a good kid. He cares about people, about family. And while he loves Homelander and Butcher, he doesn’t want to be like them.

Even better, this speech sounded like something a kid would say. Ryan didn’t open his mouth and start sounding like a college student all of a sudden. He sounds like a kid who misses his mom and wants to live up to the good standards she set for him. And I think that’s terrific.

Speaking of Homelander, he shot himself in the foot in this episode. I said earlier in the season that his hubris was going to be his downfall, and I was right. Without Sage, he just has the same weaknesses he’s always had. He’s going to fail because he just isn’t clever enough or patient enough to succeed.

Without Sage, I think a win is in the bag for The Boys. This isn’t to say that Homelander by himself isn’t dangerous. It’s just that he’s more like a wildfire than a controlled burn. He’s going to cause a lot of damage, but not get anything he wants out of it.


More’s the pity for him and everyone else who has to share his world.

Finally, I am thrilled with A-Train’s redemption story. I love that he wants to be a good person not to save himself, but to be a good person. His honest, pure and warm reaction to that little kid smiling at him in the last episode was heartwarming. It changed him in a moment, bringing to light a goodness that he’s been keeping under wraps for a long time.

Jessie T. Usher in The Boys.

This, along with Ryan’s courageous speech, proves once again what The Boys does so well. Yes, it’s gruesome. Yes, there’s blood and balls and batshit events. Yes, someone occasionally gets ripped in half. But there is a true human goodness in the story. One that we catch glimpses of. There are good people among the monsters. There is hope for redemption.

What didn’t work

Of course, so few things in this life are perfect, and this episode was no exception. For instance, I was irritated by the insinuation that Butcher cheated on his wife.


That just doesn’t make any sense. We’ve seen flashbacks of Billy and Becca. They were happy. He was happy. He was head over heels for her. And I don’t think it’s realistic or necessary for the character to throw in that he cheated. It does nothing to add to the story, it’s just a weird and offputting moment.

Doesn’t Butcher have enough to hate about himself? Can’t we just give him that at least he was a good husband?

Finally, I kind of hate that we ended up with Annie being caught. It’s just cliche, which is something I don’t normally say about this show. It feels lazy unless they do something very clever with it in the last episode. Which, I suppose, they might.

Next up is the season finale. And with this season being as insane as it has been, I’m expecting nothing short of bloody fireworks. And I mean literal fireworks of blood. At this point, would it surprise anyone?

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Movies n TV

The Boys, Dirty Business



Episode six of The Boys was one of the most surprising episodes of the series so far. And that is certainly saying something. Because this season has so far been bonkers.

The story

Our episode today revolves around a party at Tek Knight’s lovely mansion. Yes, it does look just like Wayne Manor.

The Boys know that Tek Knight is working with Homelander on something, but they don’t know the details. So they decide to send Hughie in to bug the mansion.

Because that’s worked so well the other two times he’s tried to hide a bug!


It should surprise no one that this time goes no better. Hughie finds himself in Tek Knight’s basement. And by that I mean his BDSM dungeon.

Meanwhile, the party upstairs is no less disturbing. Homelander and Sage are trying to convince some well-off political donors to support a cue after the election. When pressed for details on his plan, Homelander freezes. He looks to Sage for help, but she wasn’t recently shot in the head and still in the junk food stage of her healing.

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, Neuman jumps in and saves the day.

Claudia Doumit in The Boys.

What works

If I’m going to say one thing about this episode, it didn’t hold back at all. I didn’t expect them to show a character masturbating, sitting their bare behind on a cake, or spraying breastmilk into someone’s face. But every time I thought they’d cut the scene and let something be left to our imagination, they did not do that.

Derek Wilson in The Boys.

This is a dangerous move. Whenever you show the monster, you run the risk of them not being scary enough, or gross enough. As Stephen King says in Danse Macabre, to leave this sort of thing to the imagination if the reader makes things so much worse. So when they finally experience the monster, they might say that this isn’t so bad. It could have been so much worse.

But in this case, they managed to avoid that by making the scenes, especially the ones in Tek Knight’s dungeon, so much worse than I imagined it would be.


What doesn’t work

While this was a deeply disturbing episode in many ways, there was one really innocent and sweet moment.

And yes, I did have a problem with it.

Confronted by Firecracker, Annie decides to apologize for spreading rumors about her when they were kids. She tells her that she is genuinely sorry.

And I believe her. I don’t think Firecracker did, but I did.

So why is this an issue? Because I’m starting to think that Annie is maybe too nice. She is too good.


I know that Annie is our good guy. But every one of the other good guys has flaws. Hughie let his pride get in the way and took Temp V. MM hid himself from his daughter instead of teaching her to work through her emotions. Kimiko is far too closed off and has a hard time trusting others. Frenchie numbs himself with drugs. And well, what hasn’t Butcher done?

It is unrealistic that Annie is just so kind and so flawless. We all have shadows in our personalities. We all have weaknesses, we all mess up. We all do things we wish we could take back. The fact that Annie doesn’t seem to have anything like that is not just unrealistic. It’s infantilizing.

Give her some deep dark secrets. Give her something real to regret.

This was a shocking episode, even for someone fairly jaded like me. I wasn’t expecting the sort of weird sexual depravity, though I guess maybe I should have seen it coming. It was dark, upsetting, tense, and funny as hell. And with just two episodes left in the season, I can imagine the stakes are only going to get higher.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

By the way, if you like my writing you can get my short story, Man In The Woods, on Smashwords and Amazon.

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Movies n TV

House of he Dragon: S2E4 – The Return of Trogdor!



Instead of recapping this episode, I will link you to Strongbad, so you can see something with a dragon that doesn’t suck.

See you for Episode 5!

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