Creepshow: “Time Out/The Things in Oakwood’s Past” Review

Over on Shudder, their 61 Days of Halloween celebration keeps on going with another episode of Season 3 of Creepshow!

This latest episode featured a poignant cautionary tale, and another animated special that goes full Lovecraftian!

Time Out
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Directed by Jeffrey F. January, Written by Barrington Smith & Paul Seetachitt

Time itself is precious, and at many points in our lives, we find ourselves wishing we had more hours in the day.  And this story perfectly taps into that with an incredibly relatable and truly disturbing cautionary tale.

A studious law student Tim (Matthew Barnes) trying as hard as he can to pass the bar and excel in a law career.  After the passing of his grandmother, he inherits an old wardrobe that used to belong to his grandfather.  Large enough to sit in, he discovers that he can go inside and spend hours working, while barely a minute passes outside of it.

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He’s also warned to never go in without the key, or else there’s no way out…

Using this to his advantage, he finds the time to study, pass the bar, then do hours and hours of casework each night in his new job at a law firm.  Quickly rising up the ranks, he’s praised and honored by his firm for his time management skills and how much work he’s able to get done so quickly.

However, it begins to come at a cost.  While inside, time moves even faster and his body ages at a rapid rate.  By the time he’s only in his 30’s he looks much older, and struggles to keep up playing catch with his son.

Ultimately, his work ethic becomes an expectation, and the threat of being passed over for a promotion causes him to keep using this time-cheat, despite the fact it’s aging him twice as fast at it should be.  This results in tragic consequences for both him and his family.

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What’s the point of succeeding at work if that’s all you ever do?

At its core, this story does a great job of being a metaphor for our current work-obsessed culture.  In the age of remote work and online access, many employees are expected to be reachable by work 24 hours per day; all at the cost of home and family life.

As we begin to come out of the pandemic (hopefully) we’re seeing a trend across America known as “The Great Resignation”.  Millions of US workers are leaving their jobs because all the time spent at home has caused them to rethink what’s important in their lives, and this story feels like it taps into that.

We’re only on this Earth for a limited amount of time, and the idea that we spend the majority of our waking time working is kind of insane.  And while this story was a departure from the usual monster horror we get from Creepshow, it just might be the most potent and relatable episode they’ve ever done.

The Things in Oakwood’s Past
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Directed by Greg Nicotero & Dave Newberg, Animation Directed by Enol Junquera & Luis Junquera, Written by Daniel Kraus & Greg Nicotero

In keeping with tradition, Creepshow gave us another animated special with an absolutely start-studded voice cast, including Mark Hammill, Danielle Harris, Ron Livingston, and Andy Daly.  Given the size and scope of what this episode deals with, it probably would have been very expensive to shoot live action.  But the animation has a certain gritty charm to it, and is done a lot better than the previous animated special from last October.

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There’s even a nice reference to George A. Romero.

The town of Oakwood is getting ready to open a time capsule after 200 years during a celebration of the town’s history.  The mayor (Mark Hamill) is eager and excited for the celebration, while his daughter the librarian (Danielle Harris) begins to dig into the town’s history, but discovers a sinister secret.

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Why does every small down have a dark past…?

As she finds documents dating back to the 17th Century, she finds that the time capsule wasn’t a time capsule at all.  It was a cage to lock nightmarish creatures in that once wreaked havoc on the town.  Despite her protests, her mayor father insists on proceeding and accidentally unleashes a horde of Lovecraftian monsters.

The animated carnage and gore that ensues is nothing short of amazing.  Because of the nature of animation, there are fewer limitations with what you can show.  Because it’s animated, there’s no way for the effects to not look good, because everything blends together in that world.

If you’re into all out insane monster horror, this is definitely the episode for you.  It captures the very essence of what Creepshow is all about!

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Monsters, Monsters, Galore!!!

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

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