• Creepshow 2 (Limited Edition)



    Released by: Arrow Video
    Released on: December 13th, 2016.
    Director: Michael Gornick
    Cast: George Kennedy, Tom Savini, Domenick John, Dorothy Lamour, Lois Chiles
    Year: 1987
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    The Movie:

    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.

    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.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Arrow presents Creepshow 2 on a 50GB Blu-ray disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. The film was released on Blu-ray once before by Image Entertainment. That transfer was on the soft side, if far from unwatchable. This new transfer, touted as a ‘2K restoration from original film elements,’ looks quite a bit better. The image is clean, showing very little actual print damage, while grain appears naturally throughout the movie. Colors are well handled, they look nice and natural without appearing oversaturated or artificially boosted, and black levels are good. There are no obvious issues with noise reduction or edge enhancement and detail and texture are solid throughout the film.

    Audio options are provided in LPCM Mono 1.0, LPCM Stereo and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio options with removable subtitles provided in English only. Regardless of which choice you opt for, you’re going to find properly balanced levels and clean, clear dialogue. Obviously the 2.0 track spreads things out a bit and the 5.1 track a bit more, but these never sound forced or overdone. Dialogue is typically always up front with the rears used for effects and the score. No problems here, there are no issues with hiss or distortion to report.

    Carried over from the special edition DVD release is an audio commentary with director Michael Gornick moderated by Perry Martin. It’s a really solid track, an informative piece that moves at a quick pace as Gornick talks about how and why he wound up directing this picture, how some of the effects work was pulled off on a modest budget, following up the original picture, dealing with the film’s producers and quite a bit more.

    There are also quite a few featurettes here, starting with Poncho’s Last Ride, a brand new interview with actor Daniel Beer recorded in October 2016 in Los Angeles. This piece runs just shy of fifteen minutes and it sees Beer talk about how he was cast as Randy, his thoughts on his character’s situation in the film which he describes as ‘being stuck in a nightmare and not being able to wake up’, his admiration for Gornick’s directing style, the different co-stars he worked with on the story including Page Hannah (he has a fun story about her), dealing with the effects needed to bring ‘The Raft’ to life, how hypothermia turned him green (resulting in a hospital visit) and more. The Road To Dover is a brand new interview with actor Tom Wright that runs fourteen minutes and was also recorded in October 2016 in Los Angeles. He talks about his early days acting on Broadway, getting into film in the late seventies, getting a SAG card doing stunt work and then being cast in Creepshow 2 where he not only acted but did stunts as well. He then talks about the story that he was involved in for the film, the role that karma plays in it, working with former Bond girl Lois Chiles, Michael Gornick’s directing style (which he describes as easy going), the use of practical effects in the movie and lots more. Both of these new interviews are quite interesting and a nice addition to this disc.

    From there we get to check out the archival featurettes, all taken from that aforementioned special edition DVD release starting with Screenplay For A Sequel which is an interview with screenwriter George A. Romero that runs about eleven minutes. He discusses his work coming up with some of the set pieces and short stories that make up the entirety of the project and offers some thoughts on the finished product. Tales From The Creep is an eight minute interview with actor and make-up artist Tom Savini wherein he talks about conjuring up The Creep as seen in the feature and elaborates on some of the make-up work that he was responsible for on the production. Nightmares In Foam Rubber is a half hour long featurette with special make-up effects artists Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero in which, as you’d expect, they talk about the work that they did on the picture. Just as interesting as their thoughts on the movie is the five minutes of behind the scenes footage that they have provided for this piece, including some great shots of Savini at work.This is complimented by My Friend Rick, a five minute piece where Berger talks about working with special effects and make-up legend Rick Baker.

    Rounding out the extras are a few trailers and TV spots for the feature, a still gallery, animated menus and chapter selection. For the BD-Rom enabled, the disc also includes the film’s original one hundred and two page long screenplay in PDF format.

    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. Arrow’s new Blu-ray release is the one to beat, presenting the movie in excellent shape, carrying over the extras from the previous special edition DVD release and including some nice new ones as well. A pretty solid release, all in all, and a really fun movie.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!






























    Comments 2 Comments
    1. moviegeek86's Avatar
      moviegeek86 -
      I highly prefer this one to the original. Don't get me wrong I adore the original but felt it dragged on too long at two hours and also felt the stories weren't as fun as these ones.

      I know I'm in the minority here but I don't care: I LOVE Creepshow 2.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Somebody has to I think it's a fun sequel but for me, this one just doesn't quite reach the same heights of EC Comics inspired awesomeness as the original. It's still pretty enjoyable though.