George A. Romero, along with his friend Stephen King, who wrote the first film, attempted to make a franchise out of the first Creepshow. The original ended up being a surprise hit with audiences and critics alike. However, it took a few years for the sequel to get off the ground. Romero ended up writing the script, and King’s role in the production was reduced to a cameo part as a truck driver. Romero’s cinematographer from Martin to Day of The Dead, Michael Gornick, took over directing the film.
The sequel contains three stories, unlike the original film’s frankly overly ambitious five. Originally they intended to include more stories, but due to budget concerns the number was pared down. One of the Stephen King stories that was to be included in Creepshow 2 wound up being in Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, which many, including Tom Savini, consider to be the real “Creepshow 3”.
Like the horror comics they are based on, the Creepshow stories are morality tales with supernatural elements. The first story is most effective by far: it’s about a Native American elder who gives an elderly couple some turquoise jewellery as collateral fora debt with the couple’s local store. The couple are robbed, and the wooden Indian outside comes alive and goes on a rampage to get the turquoise jewellery back, because it’s one of the tribe’s sacred treasures.
Obviously, due to budget constraints some of the special effects aren’t up to the standard of the first film, despite the effects team consisting of what would become the world-famous KNB. The Raft certainly got the short straw when it came to the effects budget, for example: its water blob isn’t much more than a massive plastic bag, and it shows. However, the final segment, The Hitch-Hiker has some gruesome effects that were partly done by effects maestro Tom Savini, who also plays the role of The Creep in the film.
Overall, Creepshow 2 is very enjoyable anthology film, with some fun performances from George Kennedy, Tom Savini and Stephen King. It doesn’t hold a candle to the original, but it’s a better film than it probably should be. The film’s score is full of progtastic ’80s synth work by prog legend Rick Wakeman.
The extras added by Arrow are the booklet that includes a new comic adaptation of one of the unfilmed segments, illustrated by Jason Mayoh. There are also new interviews with actors Daniel Beer and Tom Wright.
Creepshow 2 was previously released in the UK by 88 Films, with extras that included interviews with Romero and Savini. That has been carried over to this release, along with almost six minutes of making-of footage, two theatrical trailers and a TV spot. The commentary track, the Nightmares in Foam Rubber featurette, an interview with Howard Berger about being mentored by Rick Baker, were ported over from the 2004 Anchor Bay release. In other words, it’s a definitive release that combines new extras and everything from all of those releases, echoing what they managed to do in the US four years ago.