Creepshow II (1987)

Ahh the 80's. Guitars were loud, hair was big, jeans were acid washed and Creepshow was shown on a continuous loop on HBO. For a young Mister Joshua his life came to be dominated by three films - The Holy G's of the 80's - Gremlins, Ghostbusters and The Goonies. Add in Star Wars (the original Trilogy) and The princess Bride and you have the foundation for 90% of what adult Mister Joshua became. That last 10% though? That was often filled by The Twilight Zone, Tales From The Darkside, Amazing Stories, their various movie counter parts and yes, the original Creepshow. To this day even after V/H/S, The ABC's of Death, and whatever other new anthologies are out there, I will always lobby for Creepshow being the best of the lot. That being may shock you to learn I'd never seen Creepshow 2 (Gasp!). By the time Creepshow 2 was set to hit premium cable, my family had shed the service, opting to go with a then trendy VCR and rent videos instead. Needless to say Mama Joshua would not have been too keen had her 11 year old son tried to throw something called Creepshow 2 on the rental pile. That would not have gone over too well at church on Sunday. So finally after far too many long years...I finally got to see Creepshow 2!

Traveling back to the world of the creep, this anthology contains three stories with a wrap around that has parts interspersed between the main stories bridging them together. The wrap around story is mostly animated as are the parts between the the regular parts of the feature. Once again this is a collaboration between Stephen King, who wrote the stories the shorts are based on, and George Romero, who turned said stories into the screenplay. Romero chose not to direct this time, leaving that to director Michael Gornick. Gornick, it should be noted not only worked as Romeros cinema photographer on Martin, Dawn Of The Dead and Creepshow, but also directed several episodes of the a fore mentioned Tales from the Darkside.

The introductory wrap around segment has The Creep (Tom Savini) delivering some comic books, Creepshow comic books, to a very excited young boy. The boy is on the run from bullies. They try to destroy his comics. This is the running theme and leads us into our first film.

"Old Chief Woodn'head" may be the worst segment of  an anthology that I've ever seen...ever. That includes the god awful "Tuesday The 17th" from the first V/H/S film. It has everything bad you can possible have in a film. Bad writing - Check. Bad acting - check. Living Cigar Store Indians - Check. George Kennedy - Check (Naked Gun films are the exception). I almost gave up on the whole damn film halfway through this celluloid abortion. Essentially, Kennedy and his wife run a general store in a dying town. After they get robbed by a trio of kids, the cigar store Indian comes to life and kills them. It's as awful as it sounds. But stick with it it gets better...

"The Raft" follows four teenage/twenty somethings as the hit a lake hoping to take a raft out, take off their shirts, and smoke some weed. Every thing goes as planned until a mysterious, sentient, blob of pond scum starts to devour the people. "The Raft" works on a couple of different levels. First and foremost, it's a monster film, a large bulbous mass eats people. However once they kids are isolated on the raft, it also becomes a Lord Of The Flies situation for a few (all to) brief moments. Mixing a heavy dose of humor, with the monster movie feel, "The Raft" does everything right that the previous entry did wrong. It's not perfect but would easily the best part of the film if not for the final entry of the trilogy.

"The Hitchhiker" will change the way you look at those lonely souls standing on the side of the road, thumbs out, looking desperately for a ride. Annie Lansing is returning home from her lovers bed. Desperate to get home by 11:30 to quell her husbands suspicions, she fails to notice the hitchhiker standing next to her exit off the highway. While not paying attention, she runs him over. In a fit of calculated panic (if that's such a thing...watching this  - its clear that it is) she drives off, leaving the man to die. Thinking she's free she finally starts to relax - before she sees the same hitchhiker at the next exit - this time sporting all the wounds he received from the initial impact. He rushes the car - thanking her for the ride. This continues for her entire journey home. I've over simplifying because, you know, spoilers blah blah blah...In short "The Hitchhiker" is a tremendous short. Former bond girl Lois Chiles (Moonraker) is awesome as the philandering, murdering, driver. The effects on the hitchhiker - done by KNB are breathtaking. 

The wraparound concludes with our hero finishing his comic book and vanquishing the bullies in pure Stephen King fashion. With them being eaten by man eating Venus fly traps!

Creepshow 2 survives a terrible first act and so so wrap arounds to become better than it had any right to be. It's currently streaming on Netflix, so check it out if you have the chance.

*** stars out of *****

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