Just what the fuck is it with George Romero?? He seems to only either deliver stonkingly classic horror or steaming excrement, and his Creepshow 2 script sure belongs to the latter category. OK, first off, I'm a massive fan of Creepshow 1. Head Cheeze doesn't dig it but I fucking love it to bits - every time I watch, it stays fresh and enjoyable. For some inexplicable reason I recently bought the UK's relatively new special edition of the sequel from the second-hand section at my local Blockbuster. Fuck knows why, I thought it was cack city almost 20 years ago and trust me folks, it sure hasn't gotten any better.
Michael Gornick, the previously respected Romero cinematographer, takes the reigns for a sequel that looks like it was made for less than the cost of my car. And I'm sure not driving a sportsmobile. Do you remember how you'd draw slightly differing stick figures on the page corners of yer school books, and then when you flicked thru the pages at speed, the little man would come alive jumping up and down and shit like that? Well, that's not too far from the quality of the animation in this film. Creepshow 2's cartoon sequences make Roger Ramjet or Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons look like the latest Disney Pixar releases.
I've got this big problem with Stephen King books. The short stories are great but once he get's past the 250 page mark, he's in a lot of trouble. All I want to read is horror but I end up with pages and pages of extremely dubious characterisation, namely characters that always seem to think, say and do the dumbest shit ever possible. Mind you, for all I know, Maine residents are like that. Constantly bumbling around like moths repeatably hitting their heads against a giant lightbulb. But King's short stories and novellas should be pretty easy to adapt for a film like this. There's some great examples out there. Honestly.
First off, I've only read this film's The Raft story. Whoever decided that Ol' Chief Woodenhead would make a great entry in a horror movie wants shooting in the head. You know what's badly missing from this sequel? The serious gore man!! Where the hell is it, hidden under my kitchen fridge or something? You could make the most steaming horror film and as long as you pack it with full on violence, it will still find an audience somewhere, somehow. Just take a look at Fulci's fully die hard fanbase. This dvd's case has the following quote, "As scary as anything you're apt to see." That was apparently taken from the New York Daily News.
*** Makes mental note. Find New York Daily News office............. Kill everybody. ***
This film creaks even more than Ol' Chiefy himself. I have absolutely no idea how it ever recieved a fuckin' 18 certificate in the UK! The original Creepshow film was only a "15" (truly one of the most surprising BBFC decisions of the early 80's) and that was W-A-Y more intense in the violence and gore department. It also was full of good actors and witty dialogue too. Anyways, let's break down this sequel's three segments:
1. Half the film's budget was probably spent persuading George Kennedy to turn in a short appearance as a far too nice general store owner who's fucked over big time by your usual pitifully unthreatening criminals. His wooden Indian don't like that much and he don't mind showing it! Unlike Gornick who shows us absolutely zero gore in this sequence. Us horror fans wanted to see the axe hits and the scalping, why just show shadows or merely cut away instead? There's an old fortune cookie saying - a couple of miserable arrow hits and a cheap five dollar wig clenched in Ol' Chiefy's hand does not a happy B$B make. Ironically, this is the most stylised segment with it's heavy use of sun-bleached photography but like Christine's Darnell once told us, "You just can't polish a turd."
2. The Raft is the best segment (and story) where we watch a group of mostly obnoxious teens being terrorised by a flesh eating, presumably Blob inspired, oil slick. Most normal people will be rooting for the oil slick 100%. There's not much that you can really say about this one. Bar the fact that we finally get to see a bit of gore and it (shock, horror) also has a very effective finale. The only remotely worthwhile segment and even then, it's nowhere near the quality of the original Romero film.
3. Last segment is the worst by far!! Moonraker's Dr Goodhead turns up as an unlikable rich ho who's just had 5 (wow!) orgasms off her talented but expensive male prostitute lover. Trouble is, she's gonna be late getting home to her husband. Don't you just hate it when that happens? Stephen King turns up in yet another one of his usual retarded character cameos (shit man, maybe he's actually like that in real life?), in this case, a truck driver who happens upon the aftermath of Dr Goodhead running over some poor bastard trying to hitch a lift. For the remainder of this segment, the hitcher keeps turning up again and again constantly blathering out his daft "Thanks for the ride lady!" catchphrase, no matter how much wheeled abuse Goodhead chooses to give him. It's pretty fuckin' retarded. Yes, it has gore but it's about as convincing as Halle Berry's Oscar acceptance speeches.
A bit more flicky picture book animation then outro's the movie. Voodoo dolls sure are creepy, crap looking giant venus flytraps certainly aren't!! Recall how nicely done, the animated sequences actually were in the Romero directed original? Creepshow 2 reminds me far more of Tales From The Crypt or Tales From The Darkside tv episodes than an actual MOTION PICTURE. Except ironically, I once saw a George Romero tv directed TFTDS episode (The Black Cat) which seriously pissed all over everything in Gornick's sequel.
The Raft is ok, not bad, which seems like quite a damning statement in itself. I want something as great as was seen in the original film. Like I said, the whole thing feels EXACTLY like watching tv episodes. To be fair, there is quite a lot of violence in the last entry but it's so Silly with a capital S, that I refuse to even acknowledge it. Most of it only constitutes a none too impressive dummy being repeatably squashed and battered by a car. I'm wondering if it's just folks who were already huge (and I mean HUGE) fans of the first film that detest the sequel quite as much as me.
I mean, if you didn't already love the first film to bits, then maybe Creepshow 2 wasn't quite so bad for ya?? I badly wanted to enjoy Creepshow 2 but it's just not happening. And I was bitterly disappointed when it originally came out. The original Creepshow was one of my greatest ever video rentals as a young kid. Aside from the look, humour and the sheer imaginative nature of the project, I just couldn't believe how violent it was for a UK "15" certificate of that era. That was the first Romero film that I saw and I've never forgotten it. Viewing it as an adult, it still holds up perfectly. Romero's Creepshow truly is, one of the all-time horror greats.
btw In case you hadn't noticed, I really hate Creepshow 2! You always know that you've watched a rubbish film when you find yourself enjoying the extras a hell of a lot more. The 35 minutes of interviews with Nicotero and Berger are fascinating and in the case of the story about the black goo containers falling over in one of the production cars, highly amusing. There's a weird "he did the best he could, with the cards that he was dealt" remark from Nicotero about Gornick. To me, that roughly translates into "I know that this film sucked camel humps but what do you expect with a budget lower than Dubya's ratings approval amongst the arab community."
This Anchor Bay UK special edition offers 2.0, 5.1 or dts sound options enabling the unlucky viewer to cringe even more at the, so cheap it ain't even funny, Yamaha keyboard score. Along with a very strong anamorphic print, Gornick commentary, trailers and production notes. It's a great extras driven release but this film is still a horrible sequel to a great Romero and King collaborative project. Fully unnecessary and insultingly cheap. Meanwhile, Creepshow 1 is trapped on a nasty virtually bare bones disc.
But hey, I suppose that's how these things work. One film will be bought regardless because of it's sheer quality, whereas the other badly needs some serious extras to try to persuade the unwary buyer. Or perhaps it's merely because Warner Bros just plain suck?? Hmmm.