Review: The Creepshow Animated Special
Shudder's Halloween Creepshow special starring Kiefer Sutherland and Joey King is gory and grisly fun
Written by Jonathan Hatfull
While we wait for Creepshow’s second season to arrive, Shudder has treated horror fans to a one-off animated special and it’s very pleasing to report that it is, indeed, a treat. Interestingly given the timing of its release, neither of the two short stories are Halloween-themed, but they’re both the kind of tale that would be almost impossible to tell in live-action: gory, ghoulish and grisly fun.
First up is ‘Survivor Type’, based on the 1982 Stephen King short story (found in his 1985 collection Skeleton Crew). Kiefer Sutherland voices a man marooned on a desert island with nothing but his wits, some seagulls, a corpse and a case of heroin. The actor is clearly enjoying himself, sinking his teeth into the material with fantastic relish and spitting out lines like “Any asshole knows how to die” as he tells the story of how he went from medical student to shipwreck victim, and gradually realising that he’s going to have to make some awful, grotesque sacrifices to survive. It’s a delightfully nasty story and the team has done it justice.
It’s followed by Joe Hill’s ‘Twittering from the Circus of the Dead’ (which is part of his 2019 collection Full Throttle), which stars genre regular Joey King (Wish Upon, The Conjuring) as a bored teenager live-Tweeting her insufferable family vacation all the way from the mountains of Colorado to a desert roadside attraction where the horrifying acts are a little too realistic… It’s very clear where it’s all going, but that’s all part of the fun as our narrator’s unimpressed, disaffected attitude gives way to real fear and an inevitably grisly finale. And, while the destination is predictable, it would be impossible to foresee just how gnarly the circus acts get.
Directed by Greg Nicotero and animated almost as moving comic book panels, the style suits the knowingly outrageous attitude of both stories perfectly, and at 45 minutes in total there’s no time for either to outstay their welcome. As you’d expect, there are also plenty of fun genre Easter eggs littered throughout. While the first season of Creepshow was somewhat patchy, this special feels like a perfectly formed jolt of wickedly funny horror.
The Creepshow Halloween Special is available on Shudder from 29th October.