Review: Creepshow Animated Special (2020)

Directed by: Greg Nicotero. Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Joey King, Fanya Sanchez. Runtime: 45 min.

Minor spoilers follow.

I am a huge horror fan but I actually haven’t seen the feature films Creepshow or Creepshow 2, and evidently I have not watched Shudder’s revival of the character. Suffice to say, I’m no expert on the Cryptkeeper’s tales, though I was a big fan of that Tales from the Cryptkeeper animated series that ran on Teletoon in the 1990’s. With this special being the Creepshow Animated Special, I felt like it was right up my alley.

The special features two stories, the first segment is called “Survivor Type,” based on a short story by Stephen King and directed and adapted by Greg Nicotero is a segment about a man stranded on a deserted island adamant to survive. The second segment is “Twittering from the Circus of the Dead,” based on a short story by Joe Hill and adapted by Melanie Dale, about a girl named Blake (Joey King) who live tweets a very unique circus.

I’ll start with the “Survivor Type” one, which is narrated by Kiefer Sutherland. The most interesting aspect of this is the character’s will to survive and some of the haunting visuals, as well as a great line: “Any asshole knows how to die, the thing to learn is how to survive.” This defines the character, and Sutherland does a solid job here, but this segment doesn’t pack a punch. The animation looks fine – as much of this looks like a comic book – and the way he eats is grosser than anything in the second segment, just because of how his mouth moves.

Circus-of-the-Dead-Clowns
Creepshow Animated Special. (Courtesy of Shudder)

I liked the story in “Twittering from the Dead” a lot more because of the story and the sub-genre here, and just because a secluded circus – and you can guess what the title Circus of the Dead entails here – that is very real, yet the audience think it’s all fake. The character designs and how the zombies move looks great, and the gore really pops, too. This segment is hampered by the theme between the two segments of a narrator leading us through the story.

Joey King is a strong actress, but her character gets irritating quickly, as she tweets her every single thought. It feels accurate for the type of character she is, but she gets irritating quickly and I think this segment would be amazing if we were able to have more traditional dialogue.

She’s on a road trip with her family, by the way, and her family members seem like they’d be funny enough to let them speak for themselves, but instead all their thoughts are filtered and told to us by Blake’s bratty narration. There’s a refreshing moment where we hear another person’s voice, but then since Blake is live tweeting this, she just repeats everything she says. It’s an interesting experiment in that way – with both segments being led by one singular voice – but the character is just such a big barrier for me loving the second one.

Score: 50/100

This TV special is now streaming on Shudder in the United States, Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand.

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