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TV Review – Creepshow

Read Time:3 Minute, 27 Second

Ah…1982! I was young, slim, and active. I won’t say “athletic” but I was a bit more that the three dimensional stain in my armchair that I am now. Over forty years ago was when the original film version of Creepshow was made and, rather surprisingly, it took until 2019 before the format was reused. I mean, the short horror anthology used in the film would only take a few strokes of the pen to turn it into a TV series. The original film was Stephen King’s screenwriting debut and few would doubt that Mr King is one of the masters of the suspense, horror genre particularly in the short format.

The basic premise of Creepshow was that it was a filmed adaptation of the eponymous comic book. There were five segments started by a prologue. The segments are linked by starting and finishing as comic book pages. The first few panels are shown and then dissolve into live action and the last scenes are shown again in comic format. A couple of pages are shown turning over and then we see the first couple of panels of the next story before we go back to live action again. That repeats until the end is introduced by the epilogue. Snip out the prologue and epilogue, add in some opening and closing credits, limit it to two stories, and you have an episode from a series!

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This Fake Blood Sure Stains

And what a good formula it was. Suspenseful, horrific, amusing! It managed to combine all those genres in an easy, unforced way. And the TV series of Creepshow manages the same combination. In these stories you find the same dramatis personae of abusive family members, day dreaming adolescents, and a variety of otherworldly beasts and creatures. You still have the same level of storytelling which introduces a theme, brings in the horror twist, and then dishes out the karma in a desperately disgusting and disturbing way! 

The original film was solely written by Stephen King but the new series has a whole herd of writers… What is the collective noun for script writers? A typo? A trope? Anyway, Stephen does write a couple of episodes but the rest of the stories and scripts are dealt with by over thirty other people. I can’t be sure but I’d bet my mortgage that they have all read more than a few of Mr King’s previous works.  There is a definite “what did I just see” element to all the episodes allied with the uncertainty whether the main character will make it to the end in one piece!

He Donated His Remains To Science…Fiction

So, does the series ring the same bells as the original film? In my humble opinion, yes! They are short, bite sized  stories which manage to grip you and keep you hooked. These series can be quite easily binge watched and, trust me, that is not my favoured way of consuming television shows. Just as with all anthology films and series, if you happen across a less engrossing story you will sit through quite happily in the knowledge that, like the buses, there’ll be another one along in a few minutes.  To be honest, though, there weren’t any that I didn’t actually enjoy watching.

The passage of years has meant that the effects are much better. But, when the budget or time constraints got too much, there is always the option to drop into a few comic book panels. Another thing that has changed is some of the subject matter;  influencers, superfans, virtual reality all get an outing. One particularly entertaining episode for film fans is the first half of series 3 episode 2 – Skeletons In The Closet. This story is set in a museum of cinema props. I don’t know if any where real but it was fun spotting them as well as the homages to Psycho and The Shining!

All four series of Creepshow are available on Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital from 11/12/2023.

Series Grade: A+

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