Anyone who fancies themselves a true Horror fan has seen both 1982’s Creepshow and its worthy follow up, 1987’s Creepshow 2. Two features that enticed the imagination of many young Horror lovers, each was comprised of stylish tales of terror that came to life directly from the pages of a ghoulish comic book.
Featuring the combined talents of George A. Romero and Stephen King, for film number two, behind the scenes was a young Greg Nicotero. Nicotero, sharpening his skills as a special effects/makeup artist early on with 1985’s Day of the Dead, as mentioned, popped up yet again for Creepshow 2, and inevitably fell in love with the project. Now, all these years later, Nicotero himself is an established Master of Horror, with effect credits a mile long, and has become the main creative force behind the AMC mega-hit series The Walking Dead. Living his dreams, he still had an affection for Creepshow, and in 2019 he was able to bring the concept back, but this time as a series on Shudder. An extremely successful, well-done series, Nicotero is adding a new wrinkle to the Creepshow legacy with the compelling new A Creepshow Animated Special.
Something that should immediately strike the curiosity of any fan, A Creepshow Animated Special hits Shudder on Thursday, October 29, 2020, and features two stories; one adapted from Stephen King’s Survivor Type, and the other, Joe Hill’s Twittering from the Circus of the Dead. Perfectly timed, just days before Halloween, the special is directed by Nicotero and features animation by Octopie animation studio. Additionally, Survivor Type’s character is voiced by the accomplished Kiefer Sutherland (The Lost Boys 1987, 24 series), while Twittering from the Circus of the Dead’s key narrator is voiced by Joey King (The Kissing Booth 2018, The Act 2019).
With these factors in mind, you are probably asking what can you expect from this special? A good question, if you are excepting the type of cartoon that was featured as the wraparound story of Creepshow 2, you will be sorely disappointed. While that would have been a really cool way to go, giving the Creep himself a character, instead A Creepshow Animated Special opts to use the stylistic approach of more still-comic imagery. Brought to life by the narration of singular characters, the effectiveness of the special hinges on the respective actor and actresses to emote the dialogue. Doing a fine job of it, they draw you into two storylines that stimulate your imagination, thus creating a live-action film within your mind.
First, with Survivor Type, you get a little backstory about this inner city guy who somehow ends up stranded on an island. Facing starvation or death, what path will he take? Then, with Twittering from the Circus of the Dead, you are introduced to a bratty, modern youth who is under the spell of modern technology. Unaffectionate or appreciative of her real-life family, will she lose it all to her unempathetic, rotten attitude?
In truth, both segments are pretty solidly executed. That said, like any good Horror tale, you are put into the shoes of each character and left wondering just how you might handle the situation at hand. Featuring strong voice-over acting, great storylines, a genuinely eerie atmosphere, and quality animation, A Creepshow Animated Special is a win! Reminiscent of Halloween specials of yesteryear, Cryptic Rock give this pleasant surprise 4.5 out of 5 stars.