By Nick Durham
George Romero and Stephen King’s 1982 collaboration Creepshow is a horror classic. It’s a super fun horror anthology with studio backing, big name actors, and wonderful effects work. The film became a pretty big hit upon release, so it wasn’t that baseless a conclusion that we’d eventually get a sequel. Well, we did in 1987, for better or worse. Creepshow 2 features less stories, less scares, and overall less fun than its predecessor, but for what it’s worth, it still manages to be a pretty fun ride; even if it manages to be painfully obviously inferior to the first film from it’s opening scene onwards. Arrow Video has decided to give the film a super deluxe Blu-ray treatment, which is a sight to behold to say it lightly.
Creepshow 2 finds Romero and King taking a bit of a backseat compared to their roles with the first film, with longtime Romero cinematographer Michael Gornick taking over directing duties and Romero himself writing the screenplay with stories based on short King tales. We get three stories here: the fairly yawn-inducing Old Chief Wood’nhead which is a tale of revenge featuring George Kennedy, the pretty damn good The Raft (in fact, it’s probably the best segment here), and the concluding The Hitchhiker that is fairly memorable in itself. There were supposed to be two additional stories (to match the first film’s five segments) entitled Cat from Hell and Pinfall; both of which were cut due to the film’s budgetary constraints. Cat from Hell would end up getting filmed some time later by Romero himself for the Tales from the Darkside movie, while Pinfall never officially saw the light of day in film form. The film’s wraparound story is an animated (with a little live action) segment of a young kid named Billy encountering the Creeper himself (Tom Savini) and giving some local bullies their comeuppance.
As I already stated, Creepshow 2 is definitely an inferior sequel. The film as a whole just feels cheaper than the first film in terms of overall quality and content alike. That aside, it’s still super enjoyable for what it is, and has a very brisk pace and manages to make its own impact. The animated wrap around segment can be a bit of a chore to watch. There’s even a Stephen King cameo in The Hitchhiker, which in itself is a hoot.
Arrow’s Blu-ray release of Creepshow 2 features a bevy of special features. The film itself is restored in 2K HD and features the original uncompressed mono audio. There’s a commentary track from director Michael Gornick, and archival interviews with FX legends Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero. There’s another interview segment with Berger discussing FX master (and his mentor) Rick Baker, and a handful of other behind the scenes features as well. There’s a handful of trailers for the film, and a booklet is included as well featuring new essays on the film. You have two options in purchasing the film, with either the standard edition Blu-ray release that comes with all this, or the super limited edition which includes all these features plus a comic book featuring an adaptation of the never-filmed Pinfall segment. Good luck finding this edition for a low price though. I had preordered mine through Amazon some time ago when it first became available, and I’m very glad I did.
Looking back on it, Creepshow 2 is a fun, if super flawed, sequel to a horror anthology classic. It isn’t perfect and is definitely inferior, but on its own the film is a pretty enjoyable ride. Arrow’s Blu-ray is definitely a must have for fans of the film, as this is without a doubt the best the film has ever looked and sounded. Pick up the limited edition if you can find it without having to sell your first born child (or do it anyway, kids are awful), but no matter which version you get, you’ll be happy with what you find here. Now maybe someday we’ll get that super deluxe edition of the original film that we’ve been chomping at the bit for over for years.