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Anchor Bay presents
Creepshow 2 (1987)

"Thanks for the ride, lady!"
- The Hitchhiker (Tom Wright)

Review By: Dan Lopez  
Published: May 02, 2001

Stars: George Kennedy, Dorothy Lamour, Paul Satterfield, Holt McCallany
Other Stars: Lois Chiles, Tom Savini, Stephen King, Tom Wright
Director: Michael Gornick

Manufacturer: Grace & Wilde Interactive Devlopment
MPAA Rating: R for (heavy violence, gore, language, sexuality)
Run Time: 01h:28m:10s
Release Date: April 10, 2001
UPC: 013131138498
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+A-B+ B-

DVD Review

The original Creepshow was a collaboration between author Stephen King and director George Romero, designed as a tribute to their days spent reading E.C. horror comics (the comics that gave birth to Tales From The Crypt, among other things). In 1987, they managed to get funding and support off the ground for a sequel, Creepshow 2, which would use stories written by Stephen King. Romero gave the director's chair to his long time cinematographer Michael Gornick (who had previously worked on films like Knightriders and Martin) so that he could pen the screenplay. Creepshow 2 isn't quite as masterful as the original, but it's still a great horror film from a team of people devoted to the craft, and it still carries that old-fashioned storytelling aspect.

The first segment, Old Chief Wood'nhead, sees an old shopkeeper (George Kennedy) thinking of closing up his store in a small town that's starting to dry up. His wife (Dorothy Lamour) agrees with the notion, but their plans for retirement are ruined when a group of hoodlums rob their store and leaves them for dead. All that remains is their old, wooden Indian statue on their front porch, which mysteriously rises up in search of revenge. Next comes The Raft, based on a short story that appeared in Stephen King's anthology Skeleton Crew. A group of partying teens decide to hang out at an abandoned lake. At the lake's center is a large raft which they hope to use for their own purposes, but a strange, black gel travelling on the lake's surface changes all that. It eats anything organic in it's path and traps them on the raft indefinitely. Is escape even possible? Probably not.

Finally, The Hitchhiker introduces us to a wealthy woman (Lois Chiles) who's busy having an affair with a male prostitute. One evening, she finds herself having to rush home to avoid getting caught, but she accidentally runs over a roadside hitchhiker. She leaves the accident, only to discover the hitchhiker keeps appearing further down the road. Is it her imagination, or an evil zombie set on revenge? I think that's pretty obvious. The entire film is bookended by animated sequences with little Billy (the boy who appeared in the first film) dealing with some neighborhood bullies. This time, these segments are almost entirely animated, but the Creep does make some brief 'real' appearances, played by an unrecognizable Tom Savini.

As a sequel, Creepshow 2 isn't really what most people were expecting. It's shorter and slightly less stylish. The stories are good, though, and extremely entertaining in that basic, horrifying way. The connections to the E.C. Comics inspiration are a little tenuous here, though, but everyone filled their roles well, and there's very little to complain about. Disappointingly, Stephen King only cameos, whereas in the original, he had a full role. His dark sense of humor is apparent, though, and the wild robbers in the Old Chief Wood'nhead segment bear his distinct characterizations.

Another major departure from the first film was the level of acting. Creepshow 2's cast is by no means bad, but the original was a barrage of famous faces and upcoming talent. Lois Chiles has a rare, solo acting job in her segment, and does very well with the psychological aspect. Dorothy Lamour's appearance was her first real acting role in over 10 years, and her last. It would appear the people involved had fun making the movie, though, and that's about the most important thing with these lighthearted, campfire stories. Creepshow 2 delivers exactly what it promises, and that's a very important thing in this case. It's perfect horror fare and despite the minor flaws, you really can't pass it up.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: I was suitably impressed with the amazing work that Anchor Bay/Grace & Wilde did with this film. You'd never know it was 15 years old by this superb, virtually perfect master. Anamorphically enhanced in its original 1:85:1 format, Creepshow fans will love this brilliant, crisp transfer that brings out all details wonderfully. Blacks are sharp and defined, and colors are balanced together effectively. No scenes contain any change in definition and even the most artifact-prone scenes have no defects at all. Aliasing from the 16:9 work is virtually undetectable as well. The source print has a few spots and speckles, but in general, it's amazingly clean. The best part of the transfer is the seemingly giant improvement in the animated sequences, which look very impressive and clean here, compared to their previous incarnations which seemed very dirty and badly cared for.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Presented in Pro-Logic mono, the audio is probably one of the best mono soundtracks I've ever heard. It's incredibly crisp and vibrant, with the smallest details coming out of the center channel in pristine condition. At times, you may forget that it's mono, thanks to how well the ambience and tone is handled. I didn't really like the musical score much (co-written by former Yes-man [pun intended] Rick Wakeman), but it sounds fantastic, easily high-bitrate CD quality. The combined video/audio factor here puts some major studios to shame, and certainly makes the current DVD for the original Creepshow look a tad bit embarassing.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 23 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Gallery
Extras Review: Other than a trailer, the only real feature is a short reel of photographs taken behind the scenes. It's a neat, quick look at people preparing costumes, getting into FX rigs, and some promotional material including a photo of Stephen King with Lois Chiles.

I have to say, the menus are brilliantly done, totally themed to the animated sequences, and seamlessly blended together. Some of the best, most creative work I've seen in DVD menu design.

Like many of Anchor Bay's releases, there are some production notes and photos on the reverse side of the keepcase's outer sleeve, except this time, AB actually TELLS us they're there. The insert is another good ol' cardstock replica of the original theatrical poster. Thankfully, the cover for the film is basically just like the poster, which is nice since, to be honest, I haven't really liked the altered cover at they've been using lately.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Creepshow 2 is a must-see for Stephen King/George Romero fans. It's a wonderful little horror movie, even if it isn't perfect. It's very well directed and has a great current of dark humor to it. You could do much, much worse. Highly recommended.

 


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