Directed by: Michael Gornick
Written by: George A. Romero
Starring: George Kennedy, Dorothy Lamour, Tom Savini & Lois Chiles
Reviewed by: Brett H.
“Look at this. Look at this sweetheart. Tell me this ain't a movie star. What're you, kiddin'? They gotta make me a movie star. Hey. As soon as they see this hair they gonna say, Sam, get over here. Get in front of these cameras. There's a hundred million women out there just waitin' to run that hair between their legs.”
The anthology I look back on with the rosiest tinted glasses would have to be the first one I ever saw. The result of Stephen King short stories and a George A. Romero script, Creepshow 2 is underrated in the vault of 80s horrors. Consisting of three of my all-time favorite snippets, Old Chief Woodenhead, The Raft and The Hitchhiker and bogged down by a crudely animated wraparound tale of a child's purchase of a Venus flytrap bulb from the mail order section of his favorite comic book, aptly, Creepshow, let's turn the pages, shall we?
Old Chief Woodenhead is pure Stephen King with respected, relatable characters that actually seem real. A kind elderly couple's general store is robbed by the son of a tribal elder and subsequently stalked in vengeance by a gigantic native statue come-to-life that sat on display outside the store. Since the characters are properly constructed, feeling is pertinent to the plot and works well against the villains when it's time for crimson, Hammurabi-style revenge for the taking of a life and punishment for the dishonor of a noble tribe. The main villain is excellent with his acting aspiration quote, and his insistence that "this hair's gonna get me paid and laid!" is forever memorable.
Simplest of the triad, The Raft adds a solid amount of suspense and surprise in an obvious 80s nod to the tone of the teeny-bopper monster mash, The Blob that follows a group of teens' trip for a day of fun at the lake. This ensures the appearance of a pair of nubile breasts on a shapely young body and some teen characters for the younger crowd. While the most cheerful, fun and least remorseful, this lake-dwelling oil-slick monster is far from a joke and the slow kills are agony to watch as the goo's teenage snacks writhe in pain before meeting their end. The weakest link of the show (sans the wraparound), but one that just screams straightforward retro fun.
The Hitchhiker is a more overt morality tale of supernatural vengeance and features king of horror, Stephen King in a cameo role. An adulterous woman accidentally runs over a hitchhiker and flees the scene in order to beat her husband home so he doesn't discover the error of her ways. Unfortunately for her, she can't keep a good thumber down as his spirit chases her (or is it merely the guilt?) through the night, surviving numerous bludgeonings and haunting her every turn with a maniacal cry, "thanks for the ride, lady!" Gruesome makeup is the main attraction complete with a fitting, memorable conclusion to one of the most fun anthologies of all time.
I can recall renting Creepshow 2 with a buddy and watching it while my grandma babysat. Boy, did it get awkward when the boobs in The Raft came out. I convinced him to quickly switch to House IV, but ultimately the funbags showed up there too! My grandma didn't seem to mind, I refused to look at the screen in embarrassment and my older friend just soaked in the nice visuals. To me, it was like the sex=death morality tale of The Raft haunting me with the determination of The Hitchhiker. Creepshow 2 doesn't have the budget of the first, but utilizes the same great comic book feel and recurring themes. Currently available on DVD from Anchor Bay with a 16 x 9 transfer and a bunch of special features, so head on down to Dead River, the lake and a lonely highway somewhere en route to the town of Dover. And enjoy the ride of prototypical, gory 80s fun, eh? Buy it!
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