Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Creepshow: Night of the Living Late Show

Peter Cushing was still mourning his beloved wife when he filmed the Euro monster movie Horror Express, but he soldiered through with the help of his close friend Christopher Lee. It would become a fan favorite, but not exactly a cash-cow, due to a legal oversight relegating it to the public domain. Poor George Romero could commiserate, since a similar fate befell his classic Night of the Living Dead. Perhaps not so coincidentally, clips from both PD films feature prominently in “Night of the Living Late Show,” Creepshow’s second season finale, which premieres tomorrow on Shudder.

Helmed by showrunner Greg Nicotero and written by Dana Gould, “Late Show” is all about horror movie love. Simon is a crazy inventor and vintage horror movie fan, who married well. His father-in-law has yet to warm to him, but he believes his new invention will make him his own fame and fortune. His new VR device literally inserts users into the films of their choice, allowing them to interact with the characters.

For Simon, that means inserting himself into
Horror Express, a sentimental favorite, where he soon starts romancing the Countess Petrovski. Inevitably, his wife Renee quickly becomes jealous and suspicious of the time he spends inside the film. Jealousy always leads to bad things in horror anthologies.

Simon’s scenes inside the sparklingly restored
Horror Express are quite cleverly rendered. It is fun to see him interact with the classic footage of Cushing and Lee and the new scenes of the Countess (with Hannah Fierman subbing in for Silvia Tortosa) are seamlessly integrated. As far as the story outside VR goes, Simon acts a bit dumb and Renee’s rage comes quite precipitously, but it is the horror movie stuff that really matters. Justin Long and D’Arcy Carden are well cast as the problematic couple, but fans of Horror Express will really get a kick out of Fierman channeling Tortosa as Petrovski.

“Late Show” is a lot of fun and it perfectly fits the
Creepshow/EC Comics spirit. Gould’s clever writing will make viewers want to revisit Horror Express and The Living Dead (which eventually also factors in the episode). Recommended for fans of Cushing, Lee, Romero’s Living Dead films, and the Creepshow franchise, “Night of the Living Late Show” starts streaming tomorrow (4/29) on Shudder.