★★ I remembered Creepshow 2 fondly from my youth. It's currently available on Netflix Instant, so I rewatched it for my recent Top 5 Scary Halloween Movies Available on Netflix list. The film is based on short stories by Stephen King, with George Romeo acting as the screenwriter.
After a brief live action scene involving young Billy and 'The Creep' who delivers the latest issues of the Creepshow comic book like it's the New York Post, the film becomes animated. And this isn't creepy animation. It's reminiscent of 80's after school cartoons. It hasn't aged well and feels uninspired and extremely G rated. And when the opening score kicks in, it sounds straight off the Goosebumps soundtrack.
Only the Billy storyline remains animated. The film's main three short stories are live action.
Old Chief Wood'nhead takes place in the town of Dead River. Imagine Mayberry if all the work dried up. Ray and Martha run the town's general store, which is one of the last businesses standing. Young punks shake them down for cash and are killed off by the store's wooden Indian.
The punks are named Rich Boy, Fat Stuff and Sam. I'll let you piece together who the leader is. Sam talks about his long hair so much you know Old Chief Wood'nhead is going to scalp him.
This story is probably the worst of the three short films that make up Creepshow 2. It's moves slowly, it's overacted and when violence finally comes to Mayberry it's half hearted and happens mostly off screen. It's also no surprise what's going to happen, so there are no scares to be found. There is one nice overhead shot as Sam is pulled through a wall, but that's as inspired as it gets. It takes up 35 minutes of the film and feels longer than that.
The second story, The Raft, is the story I remembered Creepshow 2 for. Obnoxious high school students swim out to a wooden raft that's anchored in the middle of a lake. It's the off season and we're told the water is around 50 degrees. It's so cold that when they swim out, one of the girls is wearing a sweatshirt. The kids also leave their car running with the door open and the radio on.
So when a sentient oil slick of sorts traps the teens on the raft and begins killing them one by one, we're not too upset. Smart kids go swimming in the summer. And smart kids don't say, "I feel the need...the need...for weed."
The final story is The Hitchhiker in which a lady runs down a hitchhiker on her way home from visiting her gigolo. The most memorable thing about this one is Stephen King's cameo as a truck driver.
Though we pop in on animated Billy's adventures with a gang of bullies in between the shorts, it's not worth mentioning. You could consider it the film's fourth story, but that's giving the whole thing too much credit. Creeepshow 2 is a novelty at best, which just goes to show that even with some serious writing heavyweights behind it, a bad movie can still be made.