The Film (3/5)
I saw Creepshow 2 before I saw Creepshow. I didn't see it in its entirely, but I did see the Raft, and Thanks For The Ride Lady, one night on WPIX Shocktober at about the age of 9, as a young horror fan learning about the genre. At that age the film blew my mind, and gave the sort of scare I was looking for. I didn't know it then, but I had seen the only parts of the film worth watching.
Creepshow 2 came 5 years after the original Creepshow. The original film was a monstrous collaboration between George Romero and Stephen King with King writing the screenplay based on his short stories, and Romero directing, and bringing some of his other collaborators from cast members of Dawn of the Dead and Martin to special FX artist Tom Savini. The sequel was directed by Romero collaborator Michael Gornick, and the screenplay was written by Romero based on King's work. Instead of 5 segments this time, we get 3 with a mostly animated wraparound with another horror obsessed boy Billy who wants nothing more than to grow a Venus Flytrap but finds himself interrupted along the way.
When watching Creepshow 2 on this occasion I couldn't help but miss the distinct visual flair the Romero brought to the original film. The Romero original looked and felt like the cinematic representation of a 1950's EC comic book. The sequel felt like 3 episodes of the Romero/Rubinstein TV series Tales from the Darkside brought to film, and while I am a fan of Tales from the Darkside the show was certainly hit or miss. The hit or miss nature of Darkside was sadly brought over to Creepshow 2, which should have had more quality control in place considering the limited screen time.
The first and worst story of the bunch is Chief Wooden Head. It's about a general store owner in the American Southwest. The town he lives in has seen far better days, and his wife wants nothing more than to pack up and leave before they have nothing left. He believes they should stay to help the town. While they are having this discussion the Chief of the local tribe offers to pay back the tribes debt to the store. Soon after they are robbed, and murdered by the chief’s nephew and his friends. But revenge comes from the wooden Indian statue outside.
The second segment, The Raft follows a group of college kids as they visit a lake during their fall break. They swim out to a raft only to find the lake is occupied by a sentient black oil slick looking thing, that is hungry... for them. That's basically it. The kids try to survive on the raft while the slick waits them out.
The third segment is Thanks for the Ride Lady, and involves a rich woman who is sleeping with a gigolo as the segment begins. She oversleeps, and tries to beat her husband home. In the process she runs over a hitchhiker. The dead hitchhiker won't let her escape, however, and haunts her all the way home no matter what she does to him.
The first segment is tepid at best. It's not scary, the acting from the youthful invaders is terrible, and the wig that the nephew is wearing is terrible, even more so because he calls it out as amazing hair. Oddly, I found that the discussion between the husband and wife about the communities economic state and how they'd each like to deal with it to be telling, and the most interesting portion of the film on this viewing. It felt oddly relevant after this last election.
The second segment The Raft used to be my favorite, this could have been for reasons of nostalgia. Now, I'm left wondering why. I remember the short being somewhat suspenseful, creepy, and fun. It still is a bit creepy, but mostly I found the performances cheesy and over the top and the whole thing lacking.
Thanks for the Ride Lady was the only segment that still retained it's sense of both horror and fun to me. The creepy Hitchhiker's endless determination is creepy, and awesome to watch throughout the whole thing. and Lois Chile's delivers a wonderfully sleazy performance.
Arrow Video does their typical sexy-making thing with Creepshow 2 presenting the Blu-ray in a 1080p AVC encoded transfer 1:85:1. The Blu-ray looks absolutely stellar with excellent fine detail, colors, and blacks. Grain is nicely rendered and natural looking. Arrow has included multiple audio tracks LPCM stereo and mono tracks and a DTS-HD MA 5.1 tracks. I played around and switched tracks during my playthrough. Everything came through crisp and clear.
There are extras here both archival and new. There are new interviews with George Romero and Tom Savini. As well as interviews with members of the cast of The Raft and Thanks for the Ride Lady. We also get documentaries, interviews, image galleries, trailers, TV spots, and more.
Creepshow 2 is a fun film, but not a classic in the way Creepshow is. The Blu-ray, however looks and sounds fantastic, and is loaded with extras RECOMMENDED.