Release Date(s)1987 (December 13, 2016)
Studio(s)New World Pictures/RLJ Entertainment (Arrow Video)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: A-
Stephen King and George A. Romero set out to make the ultimate horror anthology in 1982 with Creepshow and, by most accounts, they succeeded. The project was well-received by horror fans who were hungry for a film by such a dynamite duo within the horror community. The pair worked together again on a number of other projects and Creepshow 2 was finally released five years after the original. Although Romero had a hand in writing it, the sequel didn’t fully measure up to the quality of its predecessor.
Creepshow 2 was produced by New World Pictures and directed by Michael Gornick, then mostly known for being Romero’s cinematographer. The movie went for more of a straight up horror vibe and less of a satirical one, ultimately making it less fun to watch than the original. The opening story, Old Chief Wood’nhead, which involves teenagers murdering an old shop clerk and his wife, didn’t help matters much. The other stories, The Raft and The Hitch-hiker, are slightly closer to the E.C. Comics tone. Meanwhile, the wraparounds, involving Tom Savini as “The Creep” handing out horror comics to a devious young boy, attempt to tie it all together thematically. Interestingly, the movie was originally intended to have a fourth story, which eventually made it into Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, a film that is considered to be the true third entry in the Creepshow series by its creators.
Arrow Video’s Blu-ray presentation of Creepshow 2 is sourced from a 2K transfer of a 35mm interpositive element. The results are mostly good, but it’s worth noting right off the bat that the framing is much different than previous releases, notably the Image Entertainment Blu-ray. Arrow’s release reveals more information on all edges of the frame, particularly on the left and top. It’s also a much stronger-looking transfer, carrying a mostly even grain structure with fairly good detail, although some scenes look better than others. The Hitch-Hiker segment, for example, has crushed blacks, but that’s always been inherent to the original cinematography. Colors are nice, with warm skin tones and deep blacks. The image also has better contrast and is very clean looking. There are three audio options to choose from: English mono LPCM, and English 2.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD. While it’s nice to have options to choose from, in this case, one track is all that’s really necessary. There’s not a great deal of difference between the three in terms of fidelity, spacing, and low frequency activity. The 5.1 mix is, more or less, a stereo-driven track. Dialogue is clear across all three, while the score is a tad thin. Ambient moments don’t stand out much, but some of the sound effects have some occasional sweetening to them. If you’re accustomed to this movie’s sound design, there won’t be a whole lot of room for complaints. Optional subtitles are also available in English SDH for those who might need them.
This is another extras-filled package from Arrow Video. Most of this material has been carried over from previous releases. There’s an audio commentary with Michael Gornick and moderator Perry Martin; four interview segments (Screenplay for a Sequel with George A. Romero, Tales from the Creep with Tom Savini, Poncho’s Last Ride with Daniel Beer, and The Road to Dover with Tom Wright); Nightmares in Foam Rubber, an interview with Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger; My Friend Rick, a short interview segment with Howard Berger that was previously an Easter egg; a set of behind-the-scenes footage; an image gallery; 2 theatrical trailers; 1 TV spot; the original screenplay via BD-ROM; and a 20-page insert booklet with an essay on the film by Michael Blyth. Arrow has also released a Limited Edition version of this set, which comes housed in a sturdy cardboard slipcase containing an additional item, “Creepshow 2: Pinfall”, a comic book adaptation of an unfilmed segment by artist Jason Mayoh. Not carried over from the Anchor Bay DiviMax DVD release is a different set of behind the scenes clips and storyboard art galleries.
Regardless of its problems, Creepshow 2 is still a watchable movie with some decent scares and great makeup effects. Arrow’s Blu-ray presentation is likely the best the film will ever look, outside of someone locating the original camera negative (if it still exists). It’s a very satisfying package and one that you’ll definitely want to pick up if you’re a fan.
- Tim Salmons