Last week, Shudder, AMC’s streaming service focusing on horror, thrillers, and supernatural series, movies, and podcasts debuted its new anthology series Creepshow. Reviving the franchise that Stephen King and George A. Romero began just under 40 years ago wasn’t an easy task, but episode one’s shorts knocked it out of the park. Now, with episode two, we’re getting two stories that while drastically different in theme from “Gray Matter” and “The House of the Head,” the stories of the last episode, the new stories feel at home in the world of Creepshow. The first story in episode two is from writer-director Rob Schrab, called “Bad Wolf Down.”
Here, we meet a group of American soldiers during World War II who have found themselves trapped behind enemy lines with no option for escape. With the Nazis closing in on them, the group finds themselves pinned down in a police station where they have to make a choice, let the Germans win, or find an unconventional way to even the odds. In Creepshow fashion, they choose the latter. Anxious about their survival, the platoon of soldiers soon discover that there is a werewolf in their midst.
There is a heart to “Bad Wolf Down” that truly captures the essence of what Creepshow means to horror, and of what it means to me. At its core, the franchise (we’re excluding Creepshow 3 here) is about storytelling, like any anthology worth its weight. As a product of the time, the extravagant practical effects and set pieces are an extension of the stories, not the camp that many have attributed to it. In “Bad Wolf Down” we see a raucous embrace of practical magic in the design and use of the werewolf.
While there is humor in “Bad Wolf Down,” it is meant to be dark and ultimately, it’s meant to be horror, and the use of the practical werewolf suit accentuates it. But this isn’t just because of the quality of the effects. Instead, it’s because that quality is met with a story that holds the weight of its characters. The police station is claustrophobic and the fear of the soldiers balances out the could-be-camp of the wolf-suit with a tense situation that creates a well-executed three-act creature feature with acting and emotion as strong as its monster.
But it is its story from writer David J. Schow and showrunner director Greg Nicotero that has it surpass”The House of the Head” as my favorite so far. In this second story, “The Finger,” an unhappy man name Clark narrates the events surrounding the time he found a severed, inhuman finger on the street. Taking it home, because that’s naturally what someone does when there is a severed finger in the road, the finger grows into an arm, into a torso, and soon it’s a full little creature he affectionately names Bob.
Told from his perspective, we see Bob move from pet to murderer and how Clark deals with it all. The choice to tell the story from a specific narration with fourth wall moments where he stares into the camera and explains what’s happening perfectly accents the dark situations with humor. “The Finger” is a great segment because of this humor and ultimately because of its phenomenal puppetry with the practically made Bob.
Bob is adorable, vicious, and just the right amount of spooky. As a murderous pet, Bob brings out Clark’s darkness. The line between darkness and humor is navigated well in DJ Qualls’ performance, something he honed in Supernatural.
Everything in Creepshow’s second episode makes my practical effects-loving heart sing. In addition, the storytelling is top-notch. Shudder’s Creepshow has presented four stories, and each one shows that this reboot understands its origin while also maintaining its own identity. To put it simply, Creepshow is bringing us the stories for the spookiest of months.
Creepshow is available exclusively on Shudder.
Creepshow, Episode 2 - Bad Wolf Down / The Finger
Everything in Creepshow’s second episode makes my practical effects-loving heart sing. In addition, the storytelling is top-notch. Shudder’s Creepshow has presented four stories, and each one shows that this reboot understands it’s origin while also maintaining its own identity. To put it simply, Creepshow is bringing us the stories for the spookiest of months.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.
5 thoughts on “REVIEW: ‘Creepshow,’ Episode 2 – Bad Wolf Down/The Finger”
10/10? Your review is your review, but I was bored and thought this week’s episode sucked in comparison to the first week…both were overly cheesy I thougt, but DJ did a great job, of course.
“Bad Wold Down,” wasn’t good–but “The Finger” more than made up for it IMO.
I hope the series keeps up with all this practical effects fun! This episode was a blast and certainly a sweet nostalgic change from what we usually get with horror these days. I almost fell out of the chair laughing when I saw the werewolf transformation (ingenious as it is, I wished we got actual Rick Baker-inspired transformations…maybe next time?). I honestly would love to see Bad Wolf Down adapted into a full length film, a la Overlord crossed with Dog Soldiers. Everybody knows we haven’t had a good major werewolf flick in a long, long time.
And The Finger! Quall’s performance, the puppetry, and script are just pure joy, but the fourth wall breaks combined with the comic panel transitions elevated the episode from great to perfect.
10/10? Like, really? You saw no flaws whatsoever? We must be watching completely different shows, then.
The first episode of Creepshow was pretty underwhelming. Yeah, it had the stereotypical Creepshow stuff, but beyond shoehorning that stuff into the presentation the first episode was a dud and completely missed the mark. Gray Matter was horrible and proved that the creators of this series don’t really know what made the original Creepshow…well, Creepshow. It was slow paced, over-long, meandering, completely devoid of camp, and boring. The House of the Head was much better. Again, the overall feel of the story was kinda ill-fitting for the campy Creepshow format, but it was otherwise really well done and engaging, although it completely failed to stick the landing with a fairly lame, all-of-a-sudden ending.
Episode 2 of Creepshow was…barely better than the lackluster first one? Bad Wolf Down was actually fairly good and had some of the humor and presentation that you would associate with the original 1982 movie. It wasn’t great or anything, but it was probably the best segment thus far and, unlike the others, actually fit with the Creepshow aesthetic the most (plus…Jeffrey Combs!). The Finger had an interesting premise but completely sucked in execution. It’s not as worthless as Gray Matter was, but it’s a real close second. The humor was forced and not funny, and the fourth-wall breaking main character was just annoying and unlikable. Bob was cool, however, but I would have liked to have seen him in a better segment than this.
So far, Creepshow overall is kinda eh and one of the most unremarkable horror anthology shows I’ve ever seen. It’s like the people making it have never seen the 1982 film and were just given a checklist of things that they needed to include…a checklist that they sometimes don’t even bother to look at. It doesn’t hold a candle to stuff like HBO’s Tales From the Crypt.
But hey, if you like it, whatever.
Looks like it’s been shot on shit digital cameras. They should have used 35mm film like the original films did. But hey if you think crap, low budget ho hum trash is good then go ahead. You probably like Grease 2 as well.
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