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For, Friday, March 10, 2017

EDITOR’S NOTE: I liked ‘Creepshow’ (1982), but ‘Creepshow 2,’ not so much. Still, it has a following, and the exploitation-flick ‘boutique’ label Arrow has given it the Blu-ray special-edition upgrade that really should have gone to the first film. So here’s my May 29, 1987, Deseret News review of the sequel.

Though most critics did not, I quite enjoyed “Creepshow.” Call it a guilty pleasure, if you like, but the outrageous Stephen King short stories in that film (most of them, anyway) were alternately frightening and amusing, frequently shocking me or making me laugh – sometimes at the same moment. And isn’t that what a horror movie is supposed to do?

But “Creepshow 2” seems to jump into all the pitfalls the first film avoided.

For the record, the first “Creepshow” was scripted by King, five stories based on five of his own published works. And it was directed by George A. Romero, of the “Night of the Living Dead” trilogy fame.

For “Creepshow 2” Romero did the screenplay, basing it on three King short stories, two of them unpublished. And there may be a reason two remain unpublished.


           George Kennedy and friend, 'Creepshow 2'

Like the first film, “Creepshow 2” begins with a young kid who reads a horror comic called “Creepshow” (based on the old E.C. Comics, like “Tales from the Crypt”), and whose latest issue contains the stories that will unfold in live-action for us.

But unlike the first film, “Creepshow 2” has the boy introducing each story in animated form, complete with a supposedly horrifying animated conclusion. But this element is the worst in the picture, with cheap animation and a pretty dumb story.

As far as the three real horror yarns in this anthology are concerned, the first, “Old Chief Wood’n-head,” is a very predictable tale of a wooden Indian that comes to life to avenge the killings of its owners (George Kennedy and Dorothy Lamour); the second, the only published story, is “The Raft,” about pot-smoking teens on a raft in the middle of a small lake that has some kind of killer oil slick on its surface; the third, “The Hitchhiker,” is as predictable as the first, with Lois Chiles as an adulterous wife whose car strikes a hitchhiker, and when she just drives away the hitchhiker returns to haunt her journey home.


The first is the worst, and the last story isn’t a lot better, though it does offer a few chills in spite of itself. But the middle tale is a pretty scary one as the goo in the water attacks the kids on the raft one by one. It’s well staged and has a terrific climax (which is unfortunately included in the theatrical previews).

“Creepshow 2” is also more graphic than the first film, throwing in gratuitous sex, nudity, profanity and drug use, as well as the expected gore, all accounting for the R rating.