Creepshow is back for more! With a successful first season of good old-fashioned scares and a modern all-star lineup under his belt, The Creep returns for a second anthology of shrieks and, well, creeps. In its regular format, each episode is made up of two 30-minute fearsome fables of fright, keeping the cycle of iconic villains, creative practical effects, and colorful lessons rolling. The premiere episode, with titles Model Kid and Public Television Of The Dead, is an overall nod to horror nostalgia bringing back some of our most favorite horror movie villains and new admirable heroes.
Brock Duncan (Young Dylan), Kevin Dillon (Entourage), Tyner Rushing (Lovecraft Country), Jana Allen (The Taking Of Deborah Logan), and Chris Schmidt (Cobra Kai) make up the ensemble of the season’s first segment Model Kid, a revenge style hug that embraces classic monster lovers of all ages. Marissa Hampton (Watchmen), Mark Ashworth (Stargirl), Coley Campany (Loving), Todd Allen Durkin (The Resident), Peter Leake (Dead Air), and Ted Raimi (Ash vs Evil Dead) come together for Public Television Of The Dead, a whacky dark comedy resurrecting a demonic favorite that viewers have to see to believe. Living up to the first season’s revival and the Creepshow film installments, the second season is already off to a strong start with a steady aim at the hearts, and eyes, of horror fans.
Showrunner Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead) directs the first two episodes of Creepshow’s second season by throwing it back to classic monsters and tropes. Model Kid sees Joe, a young kid living in the suburbs with his ill mother, who “doesn’t have many friends, but he’s happy to hang out with the model toys of his favorite scary movie monsters… and he’ll learn just how supportive his toy friends can be.” Written by John Esposito (Graveyard Shift), the segment focuses on a lonely kid with an affinity for monsters and all things horror making him a relatable character for all kinds of genre fans. Lonely and bullied by local kids as well as his abusive Uncle Kevin, Joe takes protection into his own hands using his modeling talents to reign revenge on his tormentors.
Much like a sympathetic mix of Creepshow’s original wraparound tale with 1980’s Fade To Black, Model Kid magically puts power back into the hands of the horror-loving underdog when tragedy strikes. Reversing the role of the victim with a clever narrative and the right measure of fright, Joe’s story is a heart wrenching homage filled with heart and appreciation for the fans. I have to admit, Model Kid is the first time Creepshow brought a tear to my eye (aside from The Raft, but those were very different kinds of tears).
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“Model Kid is an original segment that brings a simple story to life, but it packs a sharp-clawed grasp on a poignant message to those who prey on the weak.”
Even though it comes off as a “safe for all ages” kind of segment, Model Kid sets the stage for Creepshow’s sophomore season. The familiar chromatic red and green-lit spaces in addition to the electric character action backgrounds and loads of horror easter eggs keep the anthology’s tradition alive. Knowing the game and the players, Model Kid lives up to the expectation of visually effective makeup and costume work as monsters enter reality. Though the actual action is a little short-lived, Nicotero makes great use of his segment’s runtime to pay service to the Creepshow shock factor while crafting an enjoyable, meaningful narrative. The balance of visual effects and gore add to the narrative rather than distract from the core emerging theme.
Dillon chews up his obnoxious Uncle Kevin character as he presents a worthy victim of fashionable vengeance who measures manliness by brute force. Brock Duncan plays Joe with equal talent, easily bouncing between a lovable, downtrodden youngster with particular interests and a newly, horrifically empowered force all his own. As Joe struggles to accept the real horrors of the world and fight against human monsters, he leans into the escapism of film and the everlasting memories they hold. Model Kid is an original segment that brings a simple story to life, but it packs a sharp-clawed grasp on a poignant message to those who prey on the weak.
Public Television Of The Dead
Thanks to filmmaker Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead), horror aficionados know it’s never a good idea to read from a creepy book bound in flesh. Unfortunately, the lot of a network television station’s struggling employees are not educated on the dangers of evil texts in the second segment of Creepshow’s second season. Rob Schrab (Monster House) makes his return to the Creepshow collection penning Public Television Of The Dead, a bonkers meta continuation of The Evil Dead. Yes, I’m totally serious.
The chaos ensues as “A public TV station and its happy daytime TV hosts are overwhelmed when the appraisal of an antique book accidentally summons a dark force.” Infusing an unexpected twist on Raimi’s legendary demonic mythology with a spin on media and karma, this segment is sure to excite anyone who has been dying to see the Deadites return to the screen… literally. Public Television Of The Dead is one of those Creepshow segments that awakens the spirits of horror nostalgia with an amusing plot and, you guessed it, trademark gore. This one is truly a wildly groovy good time that keeps horror in the family.
“Public Television Of The Dead is one of those Creepshow segments that awakens the spirits of horror […] truly a wildly groovy good time“
Following producer Claudia, trying to maintain her position on the Channel 13 network despite budget cuts and racism, it does not take long for the simple incantation to be spoken and for deadly madness to infect those around her. It would be an absolute shame to give away too much about the segment’s details, surrounding characters, and the role they play in fighting the supernatural possessors, but the contrast of the station’s family-friendly content with the debauchery of a rampant Deadite takeover is a grotesque delight. The characters are quick and resourceful while the dialogue is witty and humorous, cutting the horror with fresh, yet familiar comedy. If the Necronomicon is to be introduced, then the promise of outrageous effects artistry is a given and Public Television Of The Dead delivers.
The makeup work maintains Raimi’s scary, zainy zombie aesthetic along with the signature morphed demonic voices and harrowing first-person traveling force searching for its next unfortunate vessel. Public Television Of The Dead is wonderfully inspired and all the fun you would expect to have when two of horror’s most beloved series meet in excellent throwback harmony.
The first episode of Creepshow’s second season anthology, “Model Kid/Public Television Of The Dead”, is available on Shudder April 1st, 2021, with new episodes premiering live and on-demand weekly on Thursdays at 9:00 pm ET/ 6:00 pm PT. Be sure to tune in because this season has already proved to be a worthy continuation of The Creep’s memorable tales of horror. Let us know what you thought of the season’s premiere episode over on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and in the official Nightmare on Film Street Discord. Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.