Thursday, April 15, 2021

Creepshow: The Right Snuff/Sibling Rivalry

Homage and nostalgia have always been a big part of horror. In the case of Creepshow, the franchise’s whole reason for being is fan-love for old school EC Comics. You can see hat-tips and winking nods throughout the latest episode of Creepshow, but some work better than others when it premieres today on Shudder.

Two astronauts on a mission with bad vibes definitely evokes memories of classic films—and indeed you can see the initials HAL stenciled on the wall at one point in “The Right Stuff,” directed by Joe Lynch. However, it is not the computer that malfunctions. It will be high-strung flight commander Alex Toomey, who still lives in the shadow cast by his famous astronaut father, sort of like Brad Pitt in
Ad Astra or Fred Armisen in Moonbase 8, but in twitchier, crazier kind of way. His space flight is about to take on unexpected historic dimensions, but Mission Control wants genius scientist Ted Lochwood in the spotlight instead of him.

“Snuff” has an austere vibe that nicely evokes vintage 1960s/1970s science fiction and the story reveals a twist that would not be out of place in a vintage
Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode. It is a respectable anthology production, but it does not have the gross-out effects or sly attitude fans will expect from Creepshow. This could have been part of the Outer Limits 90s reboot, which wasn’t bad.

The Creep returns to his strengths with the darkly droll “Sibling Rivalry,” directed by
Tales from the Hood’s Rusty Cundieff. Right from the start, Gen X’ers will be mainlining nostalgia when they see Molly Ringwald playing a high school counselor, Ms. Porter, who is truly hilarious. Ms. Porter has her hands full with Lola, a gum-smacking air-headed teen who thinks her brother is trying to kill her.

It turns out he is, but it would be no fair telling to explain why. In fact, the telling is what makes “Rivalry” so much fun, thanks Melanie Dale’s wickedly smart writing, the gusto of Maddie Nichols’ work as Lola, and Ringwald’s drily acerbic performance. (This is already our all-time favorite from her, which is saying something, for someone who lived through the John Hughes era.)

Without question, “Rivalry” is the best
Creepshow constituent story, since the original George Romero film. “Right Snuff” is also decent enough, which collectively makes this episode a must-see for fans. Very highly recommended for “Sibling Rivalry,” the third episode of Creepshow season two starts streaming today (4/15) on Shudder.