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‘Creepshow’ Moves Outside Its Comfort Zone with “The Right Snuff”

The EC comics inspired horror anthology heads into outer space for the first time!
Creepshow The Right Snuff
By  · Published on April 15th, 2021

Creepshow‘s second season continues on Shudder, and the latest episode features all manner of talents from throughout the horror genre. This week’s segments include cast and crew from the likes of Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), True Blood (2008-2014), Cut (2000), Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007), Darlin’ (2019), and Tales from the Hood (1995). We review both installments of Creepshow Season 2, Episode 3:

“The Right Snuff”
Director: Joe Lynch
Writers: Paul Dini, Stephen Langford, Greg Nicotero

It’s an alternate 1960s, or maybe it’s the future, but what we do know is that the Ocula, a penis-shaped craft orbiting the Earth, is home to a life-altering experiment. Two decorated astronauts are aboard, but while Major Ted Lockwood (Breckin Meyer) is celebrated for developing a machine capable of controlling gravity itself, Major Alex Toomey (Ryan Kwanten) is also along for the ride. Toomey is used to playing second fiddle as he lives in the long shadow of a legendary astronaut father who was the first man on Mars, and his feelings of resentment are about to get worse. An alien presence has made itself known, and they want a meeting with one man… Ted.

Some people might argue that horror can’t be set in space, but some people are absolute idiots. Alien (1979), Event Horizon (1997), Jason X (2001)… hell, if they can send a killer Leprechaun into space, then the genre is free to explore the universe. It’s in that spirit that “The Right Snuff” brings Creepshow into outer space while still delivering a little bit of gore, some fun visuals, and an ending that delivers a character’s nasty comeuppance.

Kwanten and Meyer both do good work, but the former has more emotional lifting to do here as a man literally haunted by the voice of an eternally disapproving father. It’s a relatable feeling even if the surroundings feel foreign — again, Creepshow in space?! — and it adds a tinge of madness to the man’s growing distress. Alex ends up crossing a line that’s bad enough on its own, but he discovers too late the far-reaching consequences of his actions after coming face to face with an oversized alien (possibly played by director Joe Lynch who is very tall).

Speaking of Lynch, and Creepshow budgets being what they are, he and his team deserve credit for capturing some fun, high-tech visuals and a trippy alien encounter alongside the more traditional horror beats. There’s a kill here that is executed so well that you might find yourself wincing in anticipation, and you can never have enough red-lit sequences of tension and terror. The segment ends strong, and while I’m not entirely convinced it *feels* like Creepshow — it definitely has more of a Twilight Zone-like vibe in its condemnation about humanity — it’s still a solidly entertaining segment.

“Sibling Rivalry”
Director: Rusty Cundieff
Writer: Melanie Dale

Lola (Maddie Nichols) has a problem and it’s brought her straight to her school’s guidance counselor, Ms. Porter (Molly Ringwald). It seems her brother Andrew (Andrew Brodeur) is trying to kill her, and while Ms. Porter wishes she would get to the point already Lola’s story runs all over the place in some wonderfully erratic and entertaining ways. Some truths come to light after Lola leaves school, but all of the pieces come back together in Ms. Porter’s office the next day.

Like “The Right Snuff” above, this segment feels a step or three removed from the Creepshow family tree, but you can’t point to the setting as the culprit this time around. The monstrous threat at the center of it all is one familiar to all but still somewhat foreign to the world crafted by EC Comics, Stephen King, and George Romero, but it’s the segment’s ending that really leaves it adrift. No spoilers here, but setting up a villain only to gloss over said villain’s demise feels anticlimactic. Its actual end makes no sense even in the story’s wobbly logic, and it ultimately ends up hanging limply like week-old spaghetti with moldy cheese.

While the segment is a disappointment, there are two highlights that make it worth your time. First up, and fitting for a horror show, the creature’s facial design is pretty damn cool. A blend of practical and CG effects, the mouth is teeth-lined nightmare fuel, and its feeding habits are both wonderfully messy and suitably violent. It’s enough to leave you wishing more of the segment had found time for bloodletting.

The other big plus here is Nichols. She’s only just breaking into features, but past television work has included The Purge (2018) and The Outsider (2020) — and my guess is we’ll be seeing a lot more of both from her. The segment’s comedic style suits her well, and she manages to be very funny throughout with sharp delivery and comedic timing in her expressions. “Sibling Rivalry” is at its best when it allows her to ramble and zig-zag through her story to a bewildered and frustrated Ms. Porter, and casting agents working on upcoming teen comedies would be fools not to look in her direction.

As has often been the case with Creepshow‘s episodes, this third entry in Season 2 is once again a mixed bag. “The Right Snuff” is clearly the stronger story — and not just because the title is aces — but there are still some smaller joys to be found in “Sibling Rivalry,” meaning it’s far from a wash. Keep ’em coming Shudder!

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.