The premiere episode of season three of Shudder’s Creepshow might not have been perfect. But this week’s twosome of terror rises to the occasion. With “Skeletons in the Closet” and “Familiar”, we get two very dissimilar stories. One focusing on classic horror memorabilia and another focusing on a dangerous visit to a psychic. The two tales both end in traditional Creepshow fashion, but one a little darker than the other. Let’s dive in.
“Skeletons In The Closet” Is A Horror Collector’s Dream And For The Love Of James Remar
This one should have been the season premiere story. You can keep “Queen Bee” in the second slot, but “Mums” left a lot to be desired. Written by John Esposito and directed by Greg Nicotero, this one comes close to the horror fan’s heart. Filled with props and items from various horror and classic movies, this one is the embodiment of Creepshow. Sometimes it doesn’t take getting horribly frightened to make a good episode. Other times, it’s looking back to the past and just using nostalgia as a tool. Sure, this one gets campy, but it’s paying tribute to the camp of the past. It stars James Remar as Bateman, Victor Rivera as Lampini, Valerie LeBlanc as Danielle, and Lucas Godfrey as Burke. This is a small story that has wide ramifications for this horror exhibit.
You get tributes to Psycho, Ray Harryhausen, and other classic horror and fantasy stories. The real stars here are the props and the effects used. This one’ll be interesting to watch again to see what props are in the background. It’s a testament to the love and care that Creepshow puts into its episodes. The dialogue here also gives off the opinions of horror fans and feels very reminiscent of what horror fans talk about in person.
Remar is fantastic as the sly and slimy Bateman trying to extort the owners of the horror museum. The scene where Bateman exposes Lampini’s secret is particularly powerful and Rivera’s reaction is genuine. Of course, after that Danielle kills Bateman with the knife-shoe and we’re back to normal with Creepshow.
LeBlanc is a particular highlight among the actors here and James Remar is great as always. This is a great segment and goes up with some of the best of the series.
“Familiar” Feels, Well, Familiar, And Dark As Hell
“Familiar” is even darker in tone than some of the previous episodes of the series. All those episodes had levels of camp and fun to their dark tones, this one just goes straight down the path of horror and doesn’t look back. It’s directed by Joe Lynch and written by Josh Malerman. “Familiar” doesn’t have any of the tongue-in-cheek nods that we usually get in this series. It starts off silly and like a romantic-comedy, but then quickly turns towards something like Drag Me To Hell or something similar. It stars social media and The Babysitter star Andrew Bachelor, Hannah Fierman, and Keith Arthur Bolden.
The synopsis for this one goes like this:
A drunken visit to a psychic leaves Jackson on edge. As time goes on, he realizes he is being followed by a dark force… will the psychic’s advice help, or leave him worse off?
Bachelor might be known for his comedic roles, but he’s no stranger to horror. This time around, we get a cerebral and trepidatious performance here. It’s one that’ll definitely do his highlight reel some good. The whole section really rests on his shoulders. This one doesn’t feel like your regular story for Creepshow and that’s what makes it so damn good.
A Great Episode Of Horror Television
These two stories give us two sides of the Creepshow coin. You get a campy, effects laden episode that tells a classic horror story. On the other side with “Familiar” you get a more modern horror tale that relies on a fantastic performance from Andrew Bachelor to drive the proceedings. Overall this is one of the better episodes that the series has ever put out.
You can check out Creepshow on Shudder every Thursday.
For more on horror, check out THS Fright-A-Thon 2021 for the ultimate horror marathon, or stay tuned to That Hashtag Show.