As many film and TV projects have unfortunately been put on hold due to the worldwide pandemic and shutdown, however Shudder demonstrated that they’re still looking out for us by dropping an animated Creepshow special just in time for Halloween!
Animated in a really cool comic book style (similar to that of Into the Spiderverse), this new episode features two stories, based on writings by father and son duo Stephen King and Joe Hill. And with the voice talents of Kiefer Sutherland and Joey King to bring it to life, it ends up being a lot of fun!
Before even seeing the end credits, it’s immediately obvious that this is the Stephen King story. It features one of his more common short narrative tropes, but it’s done in an interesting and creative way.
We meet surgeon turned drug mule (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland) who’s currently stranded on a deserted island following shipwreck. As he wrestles with hunger and how much pain he’s willing to endure to stay alive, he recounts his life story: growing up in poverty, getting a football scholarship to college, becoming a surgeon, and going down the path of prescript drug dealing.
All of his previous mistakes have now led him to this beach where he musts eat raw seagulls for food and stitch his own lacerations up. Similar in plot to 2017’s Gerald’s Game, “Survivor Type” demonstrates King’s excellent ability to give us a window into a character’s life.
Whether it’s this surgeon stranded in the ocean, or even John Cusack trapped in Room 1408, King uses intense life or death situations to show us how characters (and people in general) look back and reflect on their lives. Because it’s in these moments when we think life might end soon, that we look back and analyze what was really important.
So like seriously, this whole story is like told from the POV of a teenage girl (voiced by Joey King) as she literally tweets everything waking moment of her life!
She and her super boring family are like traveling cross country and her mom totally annoys her by telling her she shouldn’t be glued to her phone.
Then her super weird and creepy brother makes them pull over and stop at this sideshow circus. At first it’s pretty cool and has zombies, but then things start to get legit creepy and real!
“Twittering from the Circus of the Dead” (which really should be called “Tweeting”, but nevermind) really drives home the point that social media will make zombies of us all.
If you’ve ever watched someone doing something on their phone, without the context or knowledge of specifically what they’re doing, it’s actually quite unsettling. You just see them staring at a screen and wonder if they really see or perceive anything outside.
As the story gets darker and more tense, our main character completely overlooks things, because her attention is always diverted with Twitter. It’s both intriguing and a little sad to think about.
How many moments of our lives do we not give full attention to, because our phone was one click away? How many times do we hear a notification sound and tend to our phone faster than a parent responding to a crying baby?
“Survivor Type” works better as a straightforward horror story, but “Twittering from the Circus of the Dead” does a great job making a bold statement.
In the end, they make for a really fun pair of stories that keep the Halloween spirit alive, and will hopefully whet our Creepshow appetites until the next full season debuts!
What did you think of the animated special? How did it compare to the other episodes of Creepshow? Let us know in the comments!
Creepshow Animated Special is streaming exclusively on Shudder