The Shudder series CREEPSHOW pulls together an anthology of horror tales. I’m caught up to the first four episodes (eight stories), and while overall it’s not as strong as I was hoping, it has some real gems, and I was happy to see the series creators pull stories from some of today’s greatest horror fiction authors.
For me, the challenge of this type of series is whether to follow the dark gotcha formula of the original comics, or use the dark justice themes and medium to create something fresh. The majority of the stories go the former route, creating spot-on CREEPSHOW stories that would have been brilliant in the original comics but in some cases felt a bit shallow and fell flat for me as a viewer of today.
For me, two of the stories really stand out. The first is THE MAN IN THE SUITCASE, in which a college student with low ambition winds up taking a suitcase home from the airport with a brutally contorted man stuffed inside. The thing is, if the man feels pain, he spits out golden coins, creating a moral choice: help the man, or milk him to get rich? The simple moral choice in the story skims both horror and dark humor, with a classic horror justice-style ending.
The absolute best story in the anthology so far for me, however, has to be Josh Malerman’s THE HOUSE OF THE HEAD. While the ending didn’t quite pay off for me, the story itself and how it’s told is extremely tense, weird, and creepy. In this story, a girl with an amazing dollhouse discovers a strange little severed head in the living room. The family of dolls in the house appear to react to the strangeness with dread and steadily mounting horror. The girl buys more dolls to try to help the doll family, but things just get worse. I found this story to be extremely titillating and clever while showing a fresh horror sensibility. I’d love to see more like it!
Looking forward to Thursday, when the next episode airs, with stories by Joe Hill and John Esposito. And especially looking forward to John Skipp’s story in the final episode.