Welcome to Haunted MTL’s ongoing coverage of Shudder’s original series, Creepshow.
“All Hallow’s Eve”
Directed by John Harrison, and written by Bruce Jones, “All Hallow’s Eve” is a nice, classic slice of anthology storytelling. While nothing revolutionary, it delivers a creepy, moralistic revenge story with some interesting flourishes. The cast includes several young actors to play vengeful trick-or-treaters. These actors include Connor Christie, Madison Thompson, Jasun Jabbar, Andrew Eakle, and Michael May.
John Harrison’s attachment to the project is interesting. He was a frequent collaborator with George A. Romero. Alongside Romero, Harrison worked on Knightriders, the original Creepshow, and Day of the Dead. Bruce Jones has a comic-book background having written for Warren Publishing’s Creepy and Eerie. Additionally, Jones also wrote for the USA anthology series The Hitchhiker.
The segment was, for lack of a better word, fine. It’s by no means a bad segment, quite the opposite; the story is creepy and it is an overall effective little slice of horror. The issue lies in how predictable the tale was. The second story of the evening also had a lot of forecasting, but something about “All Hallow’s Eve” delivered no real shocks, or even stakes, for that matter. Once the central conceit is figured out rather early on you know exactly how the story will play out. Visually, the episode was solid, but it felt a lot like a PG13 take on something you’d see on Are You Afraid of the Dark?. Creepshow is a low-budget show, and it is really felt in this segment. Right down to the fire effects during the treehouse scene.
“All Hallow’s Eve” is standard anthology fare. It’s not the most exciting segment in the season thus far, but it’s not like it is terrible. Anthology series live or die by their weakest segments, and judging by the quality of “All Hallow’s Eve,” Creepshow has nothing to worry about so far. It’s good. It’s not just living up to the highs of previous installments.
(3 / 5)
“The Man in the Suitcase”
Directed by David Bruckner, and written by Christopher Buehlman, “The Man in the Suitcase” is a grimy, one-room play about the power of greed. The segment stars Will Kindrachuk, Madison Bailey, Ravi Naidu, Ian Gregg, and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton.
Bruckner has a few directorial credits including the Netflix original The Ritual. He also directed the “Amateur Night” segment from V/H/S which was later spun off into the film Siren, though Bruckner only produced the latter. Buehlman is a playwright poet, and novelist, known for The Suicide Motor Club and The Lesser Dead.
“The Man in the Suitcase” lays itself out very clearly right away with little glimpses of Djinns and genies. Whereas the hints in “All Hallow’s Eve” felt detrimental to the stakes, being aware of what is to come in “The Man in the Suitcase” amplified the tension. Djinns are capricious spirits and being aware of the presence of a Djinn in the story means you are waiting to see exactly how the story will play out. The whim of a Djinn creates a certain uncertainty and it’s that uncertainty that makes the second tale work compared to the first one.
It helps that there is a certain mean-spiritedness within the segment that lines up with just how I, personally, like my Creepshow. The best stories in the franchise are the most fucked up. “Something to Tide You Over” from the first film, or “The House of the Dead” in the first episode of the series are mean, mean little stories. “The Man in the Suitcase” is one of those sorts of stories. It also has some kickass puppet work, which might be one of my favorite aspects of this first season: the embracing of practical effects.
“The Man in the Suitcase” is lean, mean, dirty, and right up there with the series high of “The House of the Head.” It is most definitely a Creepshow highlight and is my current second-favorite segment so far.
(4.5 / 5)
The Creep Factor
The comic-book effects were a little toned down this week, we’ll see if it represents a one-off situation, or a course correction compared to previous episodes. The comic transitions are fun, but eat up a lot of screentime in previous episodes. As someone who also tends to like to read everything on the screen, I am a bit annoyed that I am missing some valuable text as the camera moves from panel to panel.
The opening with the Creep hard at work on his pumpkin, before being rudely interrupted has definitely been the best bit by far. That pumpkin made with human bits is a work of art.
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.