It’ll be hard to top what Creepshow did last week with “The Things In Oakwood’s Past“. It fulfilled the premise of the show providing a terror filled animated romp. It was fitting and perfect for Creepshow. This time around we have two stories that differ in quality just a bit, but they’re both fantastic finishes to the season. Our first story “Drug Traffic” has a story by Mattie Do & Christopher Larsen, a teleplay by Larsen, and directed by Greg Nicotero. It stars Reid Scott, Sarah Jon, Mai Delape, and Michael Rooker.
This one has a pretty interesting premise that sticks a couple stories together and they match up at the end. We have a Presidential Candidate/Congressman (Scott) who’s going to the border to show how well (or unwell) they work. Michael Rooker is a border security guard that’s showing off new technology that’ll put him out of a job. Sarah Jon and Mai Delape are a mother (Jon) and daughter (Delape) trying to cross over to the United States with medicine. The daughter is clearly sick and in distress, but our Congressman has other ideas about the whole situation.
What transpires is an example of how Creepshow does so well with a simple premise. You take an infected person with some unknown disease and place them in close quarters with two other characters. That’s it. The Congressman wants to get some new fodder for his campaign, so seeing an Asian woman being detained is his ticket. The dynamic between Scott and Rooker and then Delape and Jon drives the episode along.
Action And Effects Assist The Performances
This one is a slow burn. It doesn’t pick up the pace until you see just what the daughter is. It turns into a bloodbath and you can see some of the impressive effects work here. In this story, the severed head effects in particular don’t look fake or hokey at all. It’s a testament to the effects team on Creepshow and their prowess.
Of the performances, Scott and Jon’s performances are particularly good, and of course Michael Rooker is always going to be fantastic. Scott goes from smiling politician to sneaky bastard to coward all the way to buddy-buddy with Beau the Security Guard. Overall this isn’t among the very best of stories they’ve told on the show, but it’s still a very good one. It’s simple but effective and the final comic scene of the Creep driving holding the spinal column and head is hilarious.
“A Dead Girl Named Sue”
This story took two viewings for me to fully appreciate it. We all know how much Night of the Living Dead is an inspiration for a generation plus of horror fanatics. Well, it sure seems like this episode takes place at the same time as the events of that movie. It’s shot in stunning black and white. Despite this episode not having any of the superstar talent like previous episodes, it tells a story that rivals the best of the series.
It stars Cristian Gonzalez, Josh Mikel, J.R. Rodriguez, Bryan Brendle, Rey Hernandez, and Karlton Davis. John Harrison masterfully directs a teleplay by Heather Anne Campbell based on a short story by Craig Engler. While an unknown outbreak of mass hysteria and homicide breaks out, a small-town Police Chief, Evan Foster (Gonzalez) has to handle the townsfolk dispensing justice of their own. Like the first story, this one is deceptively simple. It’s a small story of a town and it’s horrible resident, Cliven Ridgeway (Mikel). He’s done despicable, almost unspeakable acts of violence, but gets away with it because his father is mayor.
Like I said before, this episode doesn’t tell an outwardly horrific story of violence and monsters from the deep. This one uses those monsters and pushes them off into the background. It’s very much like the best episodes of The Walking Dead. Sure, there are zombies, but the real monsters are human beings.
One Of The Best Stories The Show Has Told
I know I might say that a lot, especially for this season, but “A Dead Girl Named Sue” is among the best stories in the show’s history. It brings you to a place that is well trodden by horror writers and gives us a new story in that universe. I mean, who’s to say this didn’t happen during the same time period as Night of the Living Dead? It’s a masterstroke of an idea. Tell a different human story, that of justice vs. revenge in that universe.
The cast does an admirable job, particularly Cristian Gonzalez and Josh Mikel. They’re the crux of this whole story and the law vs. lawless conflict that Gonzalez goes through is powerful. You can see on his face that he’s wrestling with what to do involving what Cliven has done. The black and white aesthetic adds to the imagery and feel of the old-school horror. My only complaint is with a seemingly digital effect that they did at the end of the show with one of the zombies. Other than that, this episode is among the pantheon of best stories they’ve told.
It’s slow, meandering, and tells us more about humanity than you’d think. Like the zombies that stalk the landscape around the story, it’s one that shows us the deeper insides of human beings and their emotions.
For more on horror, make sure to check out Fright-A-Thon, the monthlong Halloween content marathon, or stay tuned to That Hashtag Show.