Friday, October 04, 2019

Creepshow—The Series: Bad Wolf Down & The Finger

Long before Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, horror had plenty of unreliable narrators. They were usually crazy people. That could well be the case for the narrator of the best story of the second episode of Shudder’s Creepshow anthology series, which premiered last night on Shudder.

However, this week the Creep first introduces screenwriter-director Rob Schrab’s largely conventional Bad Wolf Down. The Allies might be winning the war, but they are definitely losing the battle. Retreating from a particularly vicious National Socialist ambush, a rag tag squad of American soldiers takes cover in a French police station. Inside, they find weird scratches on the wall and a highly agitated women locked in a cell.

Basically, Bad Wolf Down is sort of like the start of the film adaptation of DC Comics’ Weird War Tales that nobody ever cared to produce. We immediately get where it is going, but genre fans will appreciate the splatterific practical effects and the scenery chewing of legendary Re-Animator actor Jeffrey Combs as a vengeful German officer.

The second story, The Finger written by David J. Schow and directed by showrunner Greg Nicotero is far more intriguing. Clark, a divorced and under-employed web-designer, narrates his brush with the uncanny with a resigned air of regret in retrospect. The nebbish loser was in the habit of salvaging cast-off junk. Somehow, that eccentric habit compelled him to pick-up and take home a sinister, Giger-esque looking finger.

Naturally, Clark’s dark shabby home provides the perfect environment for the finger to regenerate the rest of its small but lethal monster body. Clark rather takes a shine to the creature he decides to name “Bob” and the feeling is mutual. Despite his predator tendencies, Bob is not a threat to his host. In fact, he is eager to please Clark—too eager.

Schow’s narration hits the right note of ambiguity and Joker-like rage, which DJ Qualls totally knocks out of the park. Frankly, this could be his best screen performance yet. The creature effects are also spectacularly creepy. Even the way it moves around the house is deeply unnerving.

So far, the series version Creepshow appears to be following a pattern, wherein each episode starts with a relatively old school yarn and then concludes with a more ambitious (and scarier) tale of terror. The presence of fan favorite horror stars like Combs this week and Adrienne Barbeau in the series opener is also a winning strategy. So yes, Shudder’s Creepshow continues to be quite entertaining, especially The Finger and House of the Head. Still recommended for fans, Creepshow: Bad Wolf Down/The Finger is now streaming on Shudder.