Welcome to Haunted MTL’s ongoing coverage of Shudder’s original series, Creepshow. We have two fresh new stories tonight. We have werewolves have Nazis in one glorious bloody segment. The other features DJ Qualls and a skinny little monster who happens to not be DJ Qualls (we joke because DJ is great).
“Bad Wolf Down”
Written and Directed by Rob Schrab, “Bad Wolf Down” delivers gory werewolf vs. Nazi action. Rob Schrab, known to fans of MST3K, Rick and Morty, and SCUD: The Disposable Assassin delivers pretty much a perfect storm of gory pulp that befits the Creepshow title. The episode features Dave MacDonald, Callan Wilson, Kid Cudi, Nelson Bonilla, Kate Feund, and the legendary Jeffrey Combs.
This is not a subtle story with a lot of depth. The remains of an American platoon in WWII barricades itself in an abandoned police station, only to discover a young woman afflicted by lycanthropy within. To make matters worse, a Nazi Captain, played by a delightful as ever Jeffrey Combs rallies his men to kill those who killed his son. That’s pretty much it. The soldiers, cornered with the woman, offer to end her suffering in exchange for the curse of the werewolf for their own Nazi-slaughtering purposes.
… and what Nazi-slaughter there was. The werewolf transformations are gloriously budget-conscious thanks to a page-turning effect. Additionally, the werewolf designs vary, referencing three distinct styles of werewolves. There is one moment with a tongue being torn from Jeffrey Combs’ mouth that is as satisfying as a Snickers bar. Plus, there is a scene involving the aftermath of a landmine that is wonderfully gross.
“Bad Wolf Down” is one of those ridiculously fun concepts that was likely as fun to film as it was to watch. It’s pulpy, bloody, and a great time, though it offers little beyond the surface. But not everything has to try for some grander message; we sometimes just want to see werewolves chow down on Nazis.(4.5 / 5)
Written by David J. Schow and directed by Greg Nicotero, “The Finger” is just one of those really strange sorts of stories you would find in the pages of Creepy or Tales From The Crypt. You know, the sort of comics that influenced George A. Romero and Stephen King when they first developed the original Creepshow. It’s just a weird little revenge story with the twist of a demonic helper named Bob and the suggestion that maybe Bob was just a projection of a broken, murderous mind. You know, that old trope. The episode is sparsely populated and features DJ Qualls, Antwan Mills, Gino Crognale, and Jake Garber. Also, Bob deserves credit as well; or more to the point, credit should be extended to Jefffrey C. Edwards, Jake Garber, and Gino Crognale as Bob’s puppeteers.
The finger is gory, a little meta, and features an oddly-cute demonic hell-imp who does dark deeds of revenge for DJ Qualls’ jaded, junk-hoarding loner. Qualls plays Clark, who spends the episode recounting events to the viewer. It’s mostly fun, with some moments where Clark pushes the plot forward through summarizing events pithily to speed along the truncated runtime of the episode. The story follows Clark’s discovery of a finger and the growth of Bob, from that finger. Bob, not unlike a dutiful cat, brings Clark some gifts. The issue is that these gifts are body parts from individuals who Clark feels have wronged him. The gifts escalate, as do the questions from two cops who visit Clark a few times, investigating the deaths of Clark’s ex-wife and two stepchildren.
The escalation of the story is incredibly fun and horrifying to watch. The real shame is that rather than commit to the lunacy of Clark’s revenge-demon, the episode undercuts it with the cliche of it being all in Clark’s head.
“The Finger” is a great little story of revenge presented by an unreliable narrator. Plus, Bob is perhaps the most adorable little demonic henchman ever put to film. Even if the ending is a bit predictable, what are you gonna do?(4 / 5)
The Creep Factor
This week’s pairing is a solid outing that plays to their strengths. A story with Nazis and werewolves is bound to be pulpy as hell, and “Bad Wolf Down” delivers on that with a glorious lycanthropic massacre. Additionally, “The Finger” presents a highly entertaining and unreliable narrator. It also features one of the best modern horror puppets in quite a while.
Between the pair of stories, “Bad Wolf Down” takes the win. The story is earnest and straightforward it is in delivering exactly what it advertises. The asylum ending of “The Finger” feels a little overthought in comparison.
However, “The House of the Head” from episode one is still a strong contender for the best story of the season so far. We’ll see how the remaining for episodes shake out.
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.