Five years after Creepshow’s moderate success, George A. Romero and Stephen King reunited to bring us Creepshow 2. For this go-around of the horror anthology, Michael Gornick replaced Romero behind the camera. Fortunately, Romero still penned the screenplay, and King’s work served as the source material. But the end result still looked like a bit of a step down rom its predecessor. So is Creepshow 2 a ‘bad movie’, or is it ‘so bad, it’s good’.
The Raft Floats Above the Other Segments
With only three segments, along with the wrap-around story, Creepshow 2 automatically feels a little underwhelming. Even the best anthology horror movies suffer a little from inconsistency across their stories. And that’s certainly the case with Creepshow 2. Though none of the three segments are bad or dull, The Raft is easily the highlight. Considering that The Raft was one of Stephen King’s best short stories, this shouldn’t all that surprising.
King originally published The Raft in his anthology novel, Skeleton Crew. Its story of a sentient blob trapping college students on a raft in the middle of the lake is perfectly suited for an anthology segment. By and large, Creepshow 2 follows the short story with a change to the ending. Credit to special effects supervisor Greg Nicotero’s amazing practical effects. Even by today’s standards, The Raft’s death scenes are gruesomely haunting. All of the performances are broad and stiff. And most of the psychological terror found in King’s story is stripped away. But The Raft holds up as one of the better horror anthology segments.
Creepshow 2 Feels Cheap, and Not in a Nostalgic Way
Creepshow was a nostalgic homage to the old-school horror found in EC Comics. Romero lovingly merged 80’s horror sensibilies with the dark fairly-tale storytelling of Amicus Productions movies. If Creepshow had a cheesy veneer, it’s because it was supposed to. And Romero was a master of stretching budgets. Comparatively, Creepshow 2 looks like a cheap movie. Not much about the movie suggests that this was by design. Just one look at the animated wrap-around sequences will confirm the sequel’s limited budget. In addition, the fact that there’s only three story segments suggest that maybe the sequel was a cash-in effort.
…Creepshow 2’s cheap-o look doesn’t really such out the joy of watching the movie.
Fortunately, Creepshow 2’s cheap-o look doesn’t really suck out the joy of watching the movie. In fact, aside from The Raft, the other stories work best as tongue-in-cheek 80’s horror. For example, Creepshow 2’s wraparound animated wraparound story will evoke memories of childhood bullies and fantasies revenge. And speaking of revenge fantastic, you’ll find lots of 80’s inappropriateness. Old Chief Woodn’head, the weakest story, wouldn’t translate well today. Moreover, while its practical effects are still decent enough, the gore would place in comparison to what modern audiences have seen. The movie’s final story, The Hitch-Hiker, has the kind of wickedly jokey tone that makes forgiving Creepshow 2’s cheap look forgiveable.
Thanks For The Ride, Creepshow 2
On the one hand, Creepshow 2 feels like a belated and rushed attempt to cash-in on the first movie. Poor George Kennedy probably had to remind everyone on set that he once starred in Cool Hand Luke. But The Raft alone is worth the price of admission. And the rest of the movie still evokes the fun, rebellious spirit of EC Comics. If you’re an 80’s horror fan, there’s still a lot to like about Creepshow 2.