Shudder’s Creepshow followed its second season premiere last week with another pair of awesomely campy and practically gory horror stories. This week’s episode features one hell of a cast of heavy hitters, who are well known in the horror world. What’s even more fun than seeing these familiar faces is seeing what Creepshow puts them through…
Fear of the dark is one of the most universal and earliest fears that most people experience in their life. There’s just something unsettling about the unknown, and in the absence of light, it reinforces that fear. Movies like Darkness Falls and Lights Out have tackled the subject similarly, but neither were quite as atmospheric as Shudder’s latest exclusive movie, The Power.
“Dead & Breakfast”
Our first story features a bed and breakfast run by a brother and sister, Sam and Pam Spinster played by C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders, E.T., The Hitcher) and Ali Larter (Final Destination, Heroes).
Their grandmother was an alleged serial killer decades ago and this was the very house where she murdered people and hid the bodies, thus it features heavily in their tours and promotion.
Sadly, business isn’t doing well, so they invite a vlogger (Iman Benson of #BlackAF and Uncle Buck the series) who specializes in true crime videos to come stay, hoping that her large following will attract more customers.
The vlogger (aptly named “Morgue”) is skeptical at first, but is excited to conduct an investigation, one which leads to ultimate disaster and a few insane plot twists that only Creepshow can deliver!
What really makes this story entertaining is its incredibly dark and morbid sense of humor. One would think that having a family member be a serial killer would be a point of shame, but the Spinsters (especially Pam) are offended with Morgue doesn’t believe their grandmother was a murderer.
It’s as if this grim detail in their family lineage is their only claim to fame, and they intend to hold onto it desperately and milk it for monetary gain with their attraction. The house itself is a lot of fun, complete with hidden chutes and pathways that were probably inspired by H.H. Holmes.
As someone who’s actually stayed in the Lizzie Borden House Bed & Breakfast (check it out if you’re interested), this episode was extra fun because it was all very reminiscent of staying there. The only different being the Spinsters had absolutely no shame in how they recreated and promoted real life murders to the point that if you did this in real life, many would boycott it.
But that’s very much the point. The siblings and their overall tackiness and exploitation of tragedy make us laugh and cringe simultaneously.
This story will probably be hard to watch for someone who’s afraid of bugs, but hilarious for everyone else in the room. In what can only be an homage to “They’re Creeping Up on You!” from the original 1982 Creepshow, this story features heavily with bugs, pests, and monsters of the human kind.
Opening with an exterminator, Harland (played by Josh McDermitt of The Walking Dead), he finishes up clearing out the roaches from a therapist’s office. The doctor herself (played by Hellraiser’s Ashley Laurence) very much looks down on him and is all too eager to get rid of him.
Harland’s next client is far less contemptuous, but is far more eccentric and sinister in his demands. Portrayed by the always awesome Keith David (The Thing, They Live, Tales From the Hood 2), Murdoch tells Harland he has a “pest problem” that needs dealing with.
Harland is both intrigued and then horrified upon discovering that the pests Murdoch refers to are in fact homeless people. Against his better judgement, Harland does the job, and his own guilty conscience leads him down a trippy path of terrifying nightmares involving Murdoch and Brenda (the therapist) trying to kill him, and an array of giant bugs!
It’s in stories like this that Creepshow’s practical effects and makeup really shine in full display. The giant pests that plague Harland like the beating heart from Edgar Allen Poe’s iconic story are grotesque and terrifying, even for people who aren’t inherently phobic of bugs.
And on a deeper level, its themes explore the idea of who’s the real pest or the real monster? As well as the ethics and morals of power dynamics and imbalances. Harland is the closest thing to a “good guy”, but he still commits an atrocious act for money.
Both its themes and brilliant visuals make this one of the most memorable Creepshow stories I’ve seen thus far!
What did you think of this week’s episode? What do you hope to see next week? Let us know in the comments!
Creepshow is streaming exclusively on Shudder