Released by: Image Entertainment
Released on: September 3rd, 2013.
Director: Michael Gornick
Cast: George Kennedy, Tom Savini, Domenick John, Dorothy Lamour, Lois Chiles
Year: 1987 Purchase From Amazon
This follow up to the George A. Romero/Stephen King collaboration from 1984 finds Romero producing and co-writing with King. In his place, one time Romero cinematographer Michael Gornick lands in the director’s chair. The results? Not as good as they were the first time around but still plenty fun.
The book end segments begin with a live action scene in which a young boy named Billy (Domenick John) eagerly awaits the arrival of his favorite comic book at the local newsstand. The creepy guy unloading the truck (Tom Savini) lets him have it and off he goes. From here, we get the first of our three main stories, ‘Old Chief Wood'nhead.’ This one revolves around a general store run by a kindly old man named Ray Spruce (George Kennedy) and his wife Martha (Dorothy Lamour). After a kindly aging native Indian named Ben Whitemoon hands Ray a leather parcel, he waves goodbye to his friends and heads out for the day. Shortly after, his nephew, Sam Whitemoon (Holt McCallany) shows up with a shotgun and two friends in tow. It seems Sam has aspirations about making it in Hollywood and to get there, he’s going to need some fast cash. He roughs up the Spruce’s and shoots Martha in the process, completely unaware that the old cigar store Indian on display outside is keeping an eye on things.
In the second story, ‘The Raft’, a quartet of teenagers head to a remote lake in their Camero for a bit of swimming and some pot smoking. Deke (Paul Satterfield), Laverne (Jeremy Green), Randy (Daniel Beer) and Rachel (Page Hannah) hope into the freezing lake and make their way to the raft out in the center, unaware that a few feet away something that looks like an oil slick is devouring a duck. Once they’re on the raft, this ‘thing’ targets them and panic sets in as they try to figure their way out of this.
The third vignette, ‘The Hitchhiker’, begins as a woman named Annie Lansing (Lois Chiles) leaves the apartment of her gigolo in order to race home in her Mercedes before her husband (Richard Parks) gets home and finds out what she’s been up to in his absence. On the way through the dark back road, she runs over a hitchhiker (Tom Wright) but rather than stop to try and help him, she runs over him again and again. Hoping to get way with the crime, she heads for home, but that hitchhiker, he’s a persistent one.
Of course, it all wraps up by bringing young Danny’s story to a close, which has taken on an animated form since the live action opening, but which will switch back to live action just in time for the end credits to role.
At an even ninety minutes this one doesn’t overstay its welcome. The stories are all well-paced and feature pretty decent performances. Kennedy and Lamour are really likeable in the first story, which makes their plight an easy one to find some sympathy for, while Holt McCallany makes for a decent villain. The effects done on the cigar store Indian are creepy and effective as well. The four teenagers in ‘The Raft’ are all pretty vacant but they serve their purpose. There’s a clever scene where some tantalizing nudity is used very deceptively resulting in probably the best gore effect in the movie, while ‘The Hitchhiker’ closes things out in a pretty fun way, again featuring some good acting and nice gore effects. King has an amusing cameo in this last story as well.
This one doesn’t feel like the classic that the original Creepshow film has been elevated to over the years, but judged on its own merits it is a perfectly good follow up. The stories once again feature some dark and twisted humor and pull their inspiration from the E.C. Comics stories of the fifties, which, when done well as it is here, is never a bad thing.
Image presents Creepshow 2 in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.78.1 widescreen. While this does look better than the DVD versions released over the years have looked, it’s definitely on the softer side of the detail spectrum. Close ups fair the best, no surprise there, and colors are very nicely reproduced. Black levels stay solid as well, and contrast looks pretty good. But where you’d expect to see a lot more background detail, things look a little washy. The image is clean for the most part, though some minor specks are noticeable throughout, and there are no noticeable problems with compression artifacts or edge enhancement.
The only audio option on the disc is a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix, no alternate language options or subtitles are provided (the packaging lists English closed captioning but it’s not there). This might as well be a stereo mix as there isn’t much going on in the rears at all. Clarity is pretty decent, meaning the voices have good depth and range to them as do the sound effects, and the score has some vibrancy to it. Levels are nicely balanced and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion. This is a clean and decent mix, just don’t go in expecting anything particularly immersive.
The only extras on the disc are a static menu that offers chapter selection – that’s it. None of the extras from the fairly stacked Anchor Bay Divimax DVD release from a few years back have been ported over, which is probably a good reason to hold onto that older disc.
The Final Word:
Creepshow 2 isn’t nearly as good as its predecessor but it’s still a pretty entertaining horror anthology in its own right. Image’s HD transfer does improve over the past DVD issues but stops short of perfection and sadly omits all of the extras. This is an upgrade in the A/V department to be sure, just not a massive one. Fun movie though.
Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!