The premiere episodes of Creepshow Season 4 set the tone for what is a landmark series of television gold that will have your stomach churning one minute and your sides splitting the next.
It’s the spooky season, and everyone deserves one good scare. Luckily for Shudder subscribers, an all-new season of CREEPSHOW is on hand to drag us down the horror rabbit hole kicking and screaming. And nothing is off the table. The new season throws everything but the kitchen sink into the latest treasure trove of gruesome tales. But with its traditional mix of tongue-in-cheek comedy, eerie stories, and endless bloodletting bringing more stories to the fore, is there enough fresh meat on the bone to satisfy our appetites? Or should it be returned to the grave to rot once again?
Fear not, dear readers because the fourth season of Creepshow is a blast. Greg Nicotero and his excellent team of writers have packed it with enough fresh stories, gruesomeness, chilling screams, and off-the-wall imagery to sink a ghost ship. And when all is said and done, aside from a few misfires, the series hits the ground running to deliver a devilishly good time. A perfect build-up to the All Hallows Eve hijinks.
NEW SEASON/NEW SCARES
After three devilishly good seasons, one could be forgiven for thinking that Nicotero had run out of fresh scares. But you’d be dead wrong because season 4 packs one helluva punch. From the opening moments of the wonderfully atmospheric first episode, we are reminded of whose sandbox we are playing in. And the Creep is more than willing to deliver on his promise to chill us to the bone. Not that the series is overly scary in any way. In truth, I found it to be more eerie and fun. But the contrasting tones manage to keep this new season fun, fresh, and wholly addictive.
For those new to the concept, the Creep introduces audience members to darkly grim horror stories from the pages of the Creepshow comic book. Each episode is divided into two irresistible stories and maintains the comic book formula throughout. Each story is first introduced as a comic book before giving way to live-action. And the formula works to a tee.
WEREWOLVES, ZOMBIES, & GHOSTS…OH MY!
The fourth season consists of another six episodes, twelve stories in total, and the majority are outstanding. From the brilliantly tongue-in-cheek premiere that follows Cassie being endlessly pursued by a monster, to episode five’s “Something Borrowed Something Blue” which reunites us with a horror legend, there are some standout stories in the carefully curated collection. Nicotero has put together an incredible team of writers this time around, and their diversity has enriched this season with a multitude of perspectives. And this series harnesses their brilliance to perfection.
Each writer injects their respective stories with their unique flavor, and the result is a feast of tales that harness some of the best horror tropes of all time and gives them a contemporary polish. Everything from werewolves, zombies, the tooth fairy, and ghostly apparitions are brought out of the closet for more frights. But as is always the case with Creepshow, you never know what to expect. And many of these encounters will either leave you unnerved or licking your lips with glee.
As a rule, Creepshow has always attracted its viewers with a feast of horror. But somewhere, hidden beneath the carnage is a positive message. And season four maintains that mandate – in its own bizarre fashion, of course! Layered between the subtexts are commentaries on social acceptance, racial tensions, grief, and parenting. And all afford the audience an educated outlook on a better world. Whether or not the messaging will sink in remains to be seen, but Nicotero has always used this show as an analogy to real life, and the show is all the more impactful as a result.
Many of these subtle and nuanced subplots shine a light on some of humanity’s less endearing qualities and that deserves to be applauded. But by the time Nicotero has tempered the message with his traditional dose of witty satire, it never feels like a subliminal thrashing. It’s a delicate balancing act. But it works perfectly amidst all the bloodletting and gruesome carnage!
Another prime example of Creepshow’s brilliance arrives in the show’s usage of practical effects. The franchise has always aspired to utilize traditional creature effects over CGI. The result is a timeless quality that never fails to deliver. Don’t get me wrong, there are several instances where CGI comes to the fore. But Creepshow’s preference for practical effects and traditional aesthetics is unleashed full bore in this season. Episode One’s “Cassandra” is a prime example. Throughout the story, the design team utilizes a host of practical effects to bring their antagonist to life. The upshot is a delicious display of creature mastery and some truly horrifying images. Let’s just say it sucks to be a pizza delivery guy!
The season finale adventure “George Romero in 3-D!” directed by Nicotero himself doubles down on this mandate to deliver the ultimate homage to a horror master. His time behind the wheel of many other horror projects has truly paid dividends in this story. And the audience is rewarded with some deliciously nerve-shredding zombie scares as a result. The make-up on display here typifies the painstaking efforts of the creature design team, and one cannot help but marvel at their endeavors.
CGI & SCORE
In truth, only episode five’s “Something Burrowed, Something Blue” goes full CGI. But its usage is not thrown in for the sake of it. Far from it. Instead, it harkens back to the glorious black-and-white monster movies of the 50s and injects the episode with pleasant retro quality. As I said, each episode has its own individual flavor. And the effects team has raised the bar to leave an indelible mark here. All this is accompanied by a typically atmospheric score from composer Christopher Drake. The composer has crafted another suitably chilling soundtrack that tantalizes with its use of horror soundscapes. And it serves as the perfect accompaniment to the images on screen.
Overall, I had an absolute blast with Creepshow. While the series does have its low points, they are few and far between. After all, not all episodes are created equally. But the tone and depth of each episode give us something fresh and challenging to chew on. What we are left with is a compelling and chilling new season packed to the brim with horror triumphs. The premiere episodes set the tone for what is a landmark series of television gold that will have your stomach churning one minute and your sides splitting the next. All the while reminding us of the joyous sandbox we are playing in.
If you’re looking for the perfect aperitif to the endless bloodletting the spooky season has to offer then add this new season to your watchlist without delay. Trust me, grab the arm of your chair; move to the edge of your seat, and grab the cushions because this is one show you won’t want to miss.
Creepshow returns to Shudder, on Friday, October 13th, with a six-episode binge premiere. Subscribe to our newsletter at the top of our homepage to stay up-to-date with all the latest Shudder news and reviews from Future of the Force.
Phil Roberts is the Owner, Daily Content Manager, and Editor-In-Chief of The Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Batman, DC, Marvel, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, King Kong, and the Ray Harryhausen movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force and babbles frequently!