Creepshow: Season 1

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

RLJ/Shudder;
Horror;
$34.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Tobin Bell, Adrienne Barbeau, Giancarlo Esposito, Cailey Fleming, Jeffrey Combs, DJ Qualls, Bruce Davison, David Arquette, Dana Gould, Tricia Helfer, Scott Mescudi.

This original series of the Shudder streaming service continues the tradition of anthology horror established in the 1982 movie Creepshow directed by George A. Romero and written by Stephen King, as well as the 1987 sequel written by Romero.

The new series, executive produced by Greg Nicotero of “The Walking Dead,” offers two short stories per hourlong episode, with six episodes in the first season. The series expands on the visual style of the films, which were heavily influenced by horror comic books of the 1950s and 1960s. Episodes frequently use comic book-style artwork for story introductions and scene transitions, as well as a vibrant color palette for the title designs and linking materials.

The shorts are a mixture of adaptations of existing stories and original material. They range from the downright disgusting to the generally creepy, typically offering a helpful metaphor to a real-life problem. For example, the first story in the first episode, “Grey Matter,” presents an allegory for the dangerous effects of alcoholism on friends and family, in transforming a drunk father into a monster who eats local pets and absorbs anyone he comes into contact with, causing him to duplicate and spread his numbers to the rest of society.

The back half of the episode is the charming “The House of the Head,” about a little girl (Cailey Fleming of “The Walking Dead”) whose dollhouse seems to be haunted by a strange miniature rotting head that causes the figures of the family to move while she isn’t looking (shades of the Weeping Angels from “Doctor Who”) leading to her discovering them in new poses of varying degrees of terror as she tries to figure out what is happening to them.

Those looking for a more comedic mix in their horror should like “The Finger,” which stars DJ Qualls as a loner who stumbles upon a weird demon-like creature that ends up doing his bidding in ridding the world of the people who plague his life.

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The Blu-ray is absolutely loaded with bonus materials, including several episode commentaries, featurettes for each episode and myriad behind-the-scenes galleries. There’s also a special featurette about the Easter Eggs in the episodes that reference the movies — and as a fun touch it’s set up like an unlabled old-school DVD Easter Egg you actually have to search for in the menus. It’s a nice touch that lends to the throwback nature of the series.

Romero-Argento Horror Compilation ‘Two Evil Eyes’ Due on Blu-ray Oct. 29 From MVD and Blue Underground

Two Evil Eyes, featuring a pair of shockers inspired by the tales of Edgar Allan Poe from directors George Romero and Dario Argento, will come out in a three-disc, limited-edition Blu-ray plus CD set from MVD Entertainment Group and Blue Underground.

In Romero’s The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar, a conniving wife (Adrienne Barbeau) and her lover use a hypnotic trance to embezzle a fortune from her dying husband, only to receive some chilling surprises from beyond the grave. In Argento’s The Black Cat, a deranged crime scene photographer (Harvey Keitel) is driven to brutal acts of madness and murder by his girlfriend’s new pet.

Martin Balsam, E.G. Marshall, John Amos and Tom Atkins co-star.

In celebration of its 30th Anniversary, Blue Underground presents Two Evil Eyes in a new 4K restoration from its original camera negative.

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Bonus features include new audio commentary with Troy Howarth, author of Murder By Design: The Unsane Cinema of Dario Argento; the theatrical trailer; a poster and still gallery; “Two Masters’ Eyes,” featuring interviews with Argento and Romero, special make-up effects supervisor Tom Savini, executive producer Claudio Argento and Asia Argento; “Savini’s EFX,” a behind-the-scenes look at the film’s special make-up effects; “At Home With Tom Savini,” a personal tour of Savini’s home; “Adrienne Barbeau on George Romero”; “Before I Wake,” a new interview with star Ramy Zada; “Behind the Wall,” a new interview with star Madeleine Potter; “One Maestro and Two Masters,” a new interview with composer Pino Donaggio; “Rewriting Poe,” a new interview with co-writer Franco Ferrini; “The Cat Who Wouldn’t Die,” a new interview with assistant director Luigi Cozzi; “Two Evil Brothers,” a new interview with special make-up assistant Everett Burrell; and “Working With George,” a new interview with costume designer Barbara Anderson.

The set also includes a CD with the original motion picture soundtrack by Donaggio and a collectable booklet with a new essay by Michael Gingold.