Greg Nicotero’s Horror Anthology Show

Originally made for the SHUDDER horror streaming service last year, Creepshow’s first season hit cable channel AMC in 2020. Masterminded by horror and effects maestro Greg Nicotero of Walking Dead fame, it continues in the tradition of Stephen King’s Creepshow movies from the 1980s. Paying homage to the horror comics of the 1950s, a skeletal creature known as the “Creep” introduces each tale of terror.

Inspired by the original movie, season one is a horror anthology with an impressive array of genre talent both on screen and behind the camera. The six episodes of season one each has two tales of macabre frights and suspense, making for twelve horrifying stories in all. Guest stars include Tricia Helfer, Jeffrey Combs, Tobin Bell, and Adrienne Barbeau in an obvious nod to the movie.

Like any anthology series, each tale from the season is hit or miss. Quality varies depending on that episode’s particular writer and director, often adapting horror stories originally written by Stephen King, Joe Hill and other acclaimed genre auhtors. A couple tales are uninspired fluff or simply a waste of time. So this isn’t a flawless first season but occasionally hits it out of the park when everything gels nicely together. My personal favorite happened to be Night of the Paw with star Bruce Davison playing a lonely mortician with a cursed monkey’s paw. Tricia Helfer has fun playing a CEO trapped in a very bad situation.

… made for a certain type of horror fan who enjoys looking backward in the genre and lovers of the original Creepshow

With no segment running more than 20-25 minutes, these are quick and punchy stories that introduce their characters and premise early. Most lead to a horrifying punchline, a formula that will seem familiar to horror anthology fans. Comic book panels are used to introduce each story, a nice touch for older fans raised on horror comics. Short interstitials with the Creep “host” each episode.

Almost every episode has strong practical effects supervised by Greg Nicotero, one of the best in the business. Convincingly gruesome and shocking, the props are often the scariest things in each episode. The one exception would be the “monster” that lies at the heart of By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain, which looks ridiculously like a bad stage prop in the pristine digital clarity of 1080P video. Adapting a Joe Hill story, it’s one of the season’s stronger tales despite the poor effects.

Creepshow is made for a certain type of horror fan who enjoys looking backward in the genre and lovers of the original movie. The horror comics of the 1950s and latter screen adaptations like HBO’s Tales From the Crypt always had a hokey cheesiness to them, out of step with today’s extreme brand of horror. While the tales of terror are designed to frighten viewers, Creepshow often offers more than blood and screams. They include humor, a little social commentary, and sometimes more than mere horror.

Video

RLJ Entertainment spreads the six episodes of Creepshow’s first season over two BD-50s, pushing the special features to a separate disc. This is a technically well-done Blu-ray set with a strong AVC encode at high parameters. The 2019 production has been digitally shot, exuding crisp definition and razor-sharp picture quality. Its 1080P video is presented at the show’s intended 1.78:1 aspect ratio.

While it is apparent that Creepshow wasn’t an extremely high-budget production, the show looks great most of the time. The digital cinematography has stellar clarity and oozes raw detail, sometimes almost to the detriment of Creepshow’s props and creatures. The video has a consistently nice contrast with even lighting and fine black levels.

Audio

The 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack helps immerse listeners in frightening suspense and terror. Rich in atmosphere, the active design engages the audience with distinct rear elements and eerie separation. The traditional horror scoring by Christopher Drake fits Creepshow’s tone without descending into parody.

The strongly discrete elements provide an aggressive audio experience with real kick. When necessary, LFE punches in with a vengeance. Largely recorded on a soundstage, the sound effects range from scary to impressively realistic. Big dynamics and light compression make for a thrilling surround mix.

Optional English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles play in a white font.

Extras

Creepshow Season 1’s three-disc Blu-ray set arrives with a neat glow-in-the-dark slipcover. Packed inside is a 28-page, full color, mini-comic book that neatly introduces each episode. Reversible cover art is provided.

Each episode includes at least one audio commentary hosted by showrunner Greg Nicotero or Red Shirt Pictures’ Michael Felsher, often teamed up with that episode’s director or writer. Episode Five actually has two separate commentaries, one with the writer and one with the director. These are fun, topical commentaries that explore hidden easter eggs, technical filmmaking, little production details, and nuggets that help round out the audience’s understanding.

Every episode also receives a series of mini-featurettes. Included are still galleries, actor interviews, behind-the-scenes set footage as the episodes were made and more. All featurettes are pushed to the third disc. Beyond Nicotero, interview participants include Dana Gould, D.J. Qualls, Tricia Helfer, Jeffrey Combs, Tobin Bell, and more cast members.

Shudder Promo Reel (00:31 in HD)

Episode 1 Featurettes (43:27 in HD) – Seven featurettes in all for segments Gray Matter and The House of the Head. Cast and crew interviews cover everything from direction to the cinematography.

Episode 2 Featurettes (21:43 in HD) – Segments Bad Wolf Down and The Finger get four individual featurettes, including an interview with actor D.J. Qualls.

Episode 3 Featurettes (16:57 in HD) – Three individual featurettes.

Episode 4 Featurettes (21:27 in HD) – Three individual featurettes

Episode 5 Featurettes (10:33 in HD) – Two featurettes.

Episode 6 Featurettes (17:14 in HD) – Three featurettes for the season’s final episode.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Creepshow: Season 1
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Season

Greg Nicotero and a litany of genre names like Tobin Bell bring the original Creepshow back to life with a new horror anthology series from SHUDDER.

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