Combustible Celluloid
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With: Lois Chiles, George Kennedy, Dorothy Lamour, Tom Savini
Written by: George A. Romero, based on stories by Stephen King
Directed by: Michael Gornick
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 89
Date: 05/01/1987

Creepshow 2 (1987)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Thanks for the Ride, Lady

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The original 1982 Creepshow was a snappy, funny and over-the-top good time that featured five good Stephen King stories and direction by horror master George A. Romero. This 1987 sequel, produced on the cheap, uses only three stories, all leftovers from the first batch. It's filled out with a shoddy, animated wraparound sequence and it's all dropped in the hands of an inexperienced director, Michael Cornick.

Nevertheless, Creepshow 2 is not a complete loss. Romero at least contributed the screenplay, and it captures the mean, creepy fun of the old EC comic books that inspired the original.

The first story is "Old Chief Wood'nhead," about a wooden Indian that comes to life and avenges his masters against a ridiculous gang of punks and robbers. The segment benefits from a couple of great, veteran actors, George Kennedy and Dorothy Lamour (the latter best known for all those Bob Hope/Bing Crosby Road musicals). Otherwise, it's cut-and-dried and too stretched out.

The second story, "The Raft," is pretty good, relying mostly on a good, cut-rate special effect. A group of teenagers, two young men and two young women, drive up to a remote lake and swim for the anchored raft at its center. But after they arrive, they discover a floating black mass that eats everything in its path.

For the third story, we have the funny, one-joke "The Hitchhiker," in which a woman (Lois Chiles), upon returning from an extramarital liaison, accidentally runs over a hitchhiker that won't go away, prompting the great line, "Hey Lady, Thanks. Thanks for the ride!"

Finally, makeup guru Tom Savini appears in the wraparound sequence as "the creep."

The sheer pleasure that the filmmakers take in these simple stories -- with their straightforward message that what goes around comes around -- comes through clearly. They obviously did what they could with the talent and money they were provided, but they fail to rise above that.

A very cool thing turns up at the tail end of the closing credits, harkening back to the days when institutions were blaming horror comics as the cause of juvenile delinquency. It's a quote from Collier's Magazine from 1949, and it's worth reading.

Anchor Bay released a special "Divimax Edition" DVD in 2004. Extras include an above average making-of documentary, "Nightmares in Foam Rubber," with special effects gurus Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero, and featuring lots of behind-the-scenes VHS footage. Director Michael Gornick provides a commentary track, moderated by DVD producer Perry Martin. The DVD also includes trailers, a still gallery, storyboard art, and the original screenplay, printable from DVD-Rom.

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