After the excellent run that Creepshow has been on since it’s season three premiere, they were due for a bit of a letdown. At least going from fantastic to just good. Our two stories this week are “Stranger Sings” and “Meter Reader”. The first story is directed by Axelle Carolyn, written by Jordana Arkin, and stars Chris Mayers, Suehyla El-Attar, and Kadianne Whyte. While our second one brings us a post-apocalyptic story from director Joe Lynch, writer Joe Esposito, and stars Johnathon Schaech, Abigail Dolan, Cynthia Evans, Boston Pierce, Samantha Worthen, Reagan Higgins, Matt Skollar, Omer Mughal, Hannah Aslesen, and John Crow.
Let’s go into the first story a bit deeper.
“Stranger Sings” Is Deceptive In It’s Execution
The synopsis for “Stranger Sings” goes like this:
Barry can’t believe his luck when a cute girl invites him to her place for a drink, but he quickly learns he was duped by a siren and he’s in for way more than he bargained for.
This episode has a delightfully simple premise. It’s almost too simple. But it really works and gets you invested in the episode. From the start, this doesn’t feel at all like an episode of Creepshow. It’s intriguing but from the script, to the way the story is shot, this is designed to misdirect. Up until you get to the hook, where you learn it’s a two-some of sirens, and one wants out, one wants in.
Barry is played by Mayers, while the other two sirens are played by El-Attar and Whyte. Mayers likely has a career in rom-coms ahead of him, with the way he perfectly captured that energy of the genre. The story turns and one siren gets a normal voice, while the other turns into an evil monster. This one finishes in a pretty standard way but the creature effects are top notch. It’s practically feature length movie quality on the evil siren.
My opinion on this story softened after watching it. It’s delightful in the simplicity and deception that it takes the audience on. By the time the episode hits full speed, it’s a good one. Sometimes these overly simple stories are what the doctor ordered.
“Meter Reader” Is The True Main Event Though
What happens when you combine: Day of the Dead, Blade Runner, Constantine, The Exorcist, and Mad Max? You get this episode. If not for the time and budget constraints of the medium, this might go down as an all-time classic. Joe Lynch is no stranger to Creepshow and he’s already done some of the biggest and most involved episodes (“Familiar”, “Pipe Screams”) of the series, including what I consider to be the best of the show “The Right Snuff”. This could have crumbled under the weight of it’s influences and scope, but they found a happy medium between the gargantuan story overall, and the smaller story we’re told.
it takes some explanation, but that’s done well with our opening section of the story. Johnathon Schaech absolutely CHEWS the scenery in his part as the father to Abigail Dolan‘s character. Once we get going, it’s filled with paranoia and the choice of family versus pandemic. Obviously inspired by our current and past circumstances with COVID-19, this one hits close to home. But it doesn’t verge into outright parody. That’s the line and they never cross it here.
My only gripe is that we don’t see the battle between Schaech and the demon at the very beginning of the episode. Outside of that, this is as close to perfect as this show can get. In a battle between this and “The Right Snuff” it’s a fingernail difference, but this one still stands tall among the best that Creepshow can offer.
Hard To Top These Two Stories
Creepshow constantly tops itself providing a place for smaller-scale horror stories to flourish. The anthology format is perfect for stories like these two that might be either too simple for an entire episode of television or a concept like “Meter Reader” that might need a showcase before it becomes a feature-length idea. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this week’s episode on Shudder.
Creepshow airs every Thursday on Shudder.
For more on horror, check out the month-plus long Halloween marathon of content in Fright-A-Thon, or stay tuned to THS.