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Cult Movie Essentials: Creepshow 2 (1987)

If you already know and love Creepshow, the sequel is something you’ll probably enjoy…in a Jaws 2 or Halloween 2 kind of way. The 1987 American live-action/animated horror comedy anthology film is directed by Michael Gornick and the sequel to Creepshow. Gornick was George A. Romero’s cinematographer on the original Creepshow. The screenplay was written by Romero, the director of the original film. It was once again based upon stories by Stephen King, featuring three more “Jolting Tales of Horror”: Old Chief Wooden Head, The Raft, and The Hitchhiker.

Anthologies were a dime a dozen in the 1980’s. Whether it was smaller mediums like television [Amazing Stories, Monsters] to theatrical flicks [Cat’s Eye, Deadtime Stories], the idea of several mini-films for the price of one was something horror fans were craving, although the general public could care less, which would explain why there has never been a box-office smash from the configuration.

It is a damp morning in Maine as the “Creep” [Tom Savini] is dropping off the latest issue of Creepshow to a newsstand as young Billy anxiously waits for its arrival. As the opening credits materialize, we are dipped into some cheap Saturday morning cartoon animation that reminded me of an episode of Fat Albert. The wraparound story is downright silly as Billy is tormented by a gang of bullies who meet their untimely demise by way of Venus flytraps that the youngster ordered from the comic.

Old Chief Wood ‘N Head takes place in the middle of nowhere at a general store ran by an elderly couple, played by seasoned veterans George Kennedy and Dorothy Lamour. The only regular customers they see are the dust and the wind, and an old wooden warrior chief who watches guard in front of the establishment. They have been kind to Benjamin Whitemoon and his people in the impoverished small town, in return, they are loaned some valuable turquoise jewelry as collateral for their debt. Ben’s pompous nephew Sam is on the prowl as he and his low life friends barge into the store and look to rob them for everything they have, as well as the prized jewel. Sam guns them down in cold blood as he is on a path to Hollywood to become a star and get laid, regardless of the order. The chief will have none of this kind of senseless crime as he puts on his war paint and lets out a bone-chilling howl and lays down the law, leaving a trail of blood in his path.

Four horny, pot smoking friends head to The Raft located on a secluded lake only to find themselves trapped as a hungry oil slick that looks like a dirty old man’s rain coat looks to swallow them all. The first death is a grand one as Page Hannah, Daryl Hannah’s sister, pokes her finger into the slime and is pulled into a watery grave. She pops up for a brief moment to stretch out for help, but she is taken over as she disintegrates into nothing. Three are left as the athletic one of the group looks to make a swim for it, but is interrupted as his leg is snapped backwards and his class ring becomes lodged between the wood in the raft. We are left with the nerd and the hot girl as the two try to stay warm as virgin boy makes his way to her breasts as she has fallen asleep. Little does he realize that while he was getting some nipple action that the girl had been chewed on and she is flipped in the water and is eaten alive. He makes one final dash back to land and makes the fatal error to celebrate, only to have the blob rise up like a wave at the beach and wash him away.

A cheating wife hurries home after paying a man whore to give her something she does not get from her husband – multiple orgasms. She drops her cigarette in her fancy car and takes her eye of the road long enough to run down and kill the true star of Creepshow 2The Hitchhiker. In true Rod Serling fashion, the deceased man returns from the beyond and is ready for some retribution. She keeps seeing him on the road and figures it is just guilt and she is imagining it all, but the battered guy just wants to say thanks, “Thanks for the ride lady!” Even after she shoots him with her gun and slams her vehicle into him a few more times for good measure, The Hitchhiker does not go down as he hitches a ride under her car and chokes her out in her garage at home.

This is a situation where a movie gets better as it goes on, and at the end of the day, it is the big bad brother of the far superior original. Creepshow 2 has been labeled the black sheep of the series, which is unfair. Obviously, fans who say that have not had the displeasure of sitting through the cinematic abortion that is Creepshow III. Stephen King cameos as a truck driver, and The Hitchhiker himself is not a stranger to getting beaten down as actor Tom Wright returned to anthologies in Tales from the Hood.

Like its predecessor Creepshow 2 has a rich visual palette and some well-drawn animated sequences that play in between each segment and features some gruesome surprises. All in all if you enjoyed the first “Creepshow” give its sequel a look, It’s a satisfying follow-up that retains the same macabre yet spirited tone.

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Stephen Pryde-Jarman is a Cult TV and Film journalist, award winning short story writer, playwright and screenwriter. A natural hoarder, second hand shopping fulfils his basic human need for hunter-gathering; but rummaging through a charity shop’s bric-a-brac shelf also brought him the inspiration for his novel Rubble Girl having seen a picture of a Blitz survivor sat amongst the rubble of her house with a cup and saucer. Rubble Girl has been described as " thought-provoking" and "fast paced ... with plenty of twists and turns." Amazon.

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