The anthology elements of “Creepshow” is about pushing the texture of horror in new ways. The original anthology film was a product of its own possibility born out of comic books. While this reviewer has not yet seen the new series, this foray into animation bore a definitive watch since there are very few widely seen horror animated series so this venture has a place all its own. And these first two tales fit nice and squarely into a wonderful space while not taking its foot off the gas per se.
The first part of this special “Survivor Type” involves a guy who is stranded on an island after his cruise ship sinks. his story is almost told in a “Goodfellas” flashback with a bit of “Lord Of War”. The great thing about these stories is that the narrators themselves are flawed but one sees the breakdown in their psychology. In this one, Kiefer Sutherland plays the lead character, a surgeon who has some other elements from “the old neighborhood” going on. Hearing Sutherland relish the path in his voice as this man goes deeper and deeper down the survival hole is brilliant. Not since “The Lost Boys” has this darkness permeated so well in him per se, and this is just in the voice. His character is grey in every way. And even though the animation is a little more static in certain ways, it perfectly captures the “Creepshow” brand. And this likely was done all during quarantine, so it has that aspect of isolation any way and thrusts it to the max. And like so many of the “Creepshow” stories, it ends in mid-tier on purposes or in the throws of the lesson almost learned but not quite.
“Twittering From The Circus Of The Dead” is beautiful in a way because of the voice it creates as well in the aspect of a teenage girl (played by Jaime King) who is a sick of a road trip with her parents. A ski trip to Colorado was too cold to pan out so they end in Utah at a circus off the side of the road to take a break. What is resounding is the voice of the perception of this girl who fights with her mom, complains about her brother, and sees her father shrinking away from it but tells it in the internal dialogue to her low amount of followers on Twitter. It is actually quite existential in many ways. As things inside the circus tent with guys in hazmat suits, and performers who look like zombies degrade, the balance between real and role play takes a new form. And again the animation works for it and because it is on Shudder, which is about horror, it pulls no punches which makes the endgame like “Survivor Type” that much more intense, dark and, in a way, thrilling.
These first two episodes of animation, played as the Halloween special, hopefully are the beginning of a new series because even in a prototype form (truth be told and full disclosure) some effects weren’t fully done) the power still stays.
By Tim Wassberg