EPISODE 5a: “The Night of the Paw”
Written by John Esposito
Directed by John Harrison
Cast: Bruce Davison, Hannah Barefoot, Susannah Devereux, Grace Toso, Ryan Clay Gwaltney
EPISODE 5b: “Times is Tough in Musky Holler”
Written by John Skipp and Dori Miller
Directed by John Harrison
Cast: David Arquette, Dane Rhodes, Karen Strassman, Tommy Kane, Tracey Bonner, Kermit Rolison, Connor Hammond
Air date: October 24, 2019
Shudder’s reimagining of George A. Romero’s and Stephen King’s Creepshow has been a monster hit, breaking streaming records for AMC’s genre service since its premiere in late September. Last week’s Creepshow episode was my favorite of the season thus far and this week we get the penultimate episode of the debut season with a “The Night of the Paw” and “Times is Tough in Musky Holler.” Created by Greg Nicotero of The Walking Dead, Creepshow features phenomenal practical effects, an assortment of genre legends sprinkled throughout the cast, and the darkly comedic fable-like storytelling that Creepshow made popular in the original 1982 film.
In the opening segment, writer John Esposito and director John Harrison bring us a modern-day version of the classic W.W. Jacobs short story,
“The Monkey’s Paw.” “The Night of the Paw” opens with a woman on the run, played by Hannah Barefoot. After a car crash, she’s saved by a mysterious old mortician at his funeral home. Avery Whitlock, played by Bruce Davison (X-Men, Longtime Companion), fixes and mends her wounds in sometimes graphic fashion. As she recovers they have a fireside palaver in which he describes why he saved her, and how she was brought there in the first place. This involves him showing her the monkey’s paw, a creepy appendage that provides three wishes, but with unexpected and horrible side effects. Davison is fantastic here, and we get some typically great makeup effects. Also keep an eye out in the funeral home guest book for some more Easter eggs.
Next up is “Times is Tough in Musky Holler,” again directed by John Harrison and written by John Skipp & Dori Miller. This was a fast gory little segment combining a post-apocalyptic Walking Dead-esque future, with the bread and circuses of Caligula’s Rome. The makeup and creature effects reminded me of the Father’s Day segment from the 1982 original film and to no shock the effects were done by KNB EFX Group. David Arquette (Scream franchise) has a smart part as a corrupt sheriff about to get his due.
Next Thursday night, fittingly on Halloween, Shudder’s 6-part Creepshow comes to an end. But with the tremendous critical acclaim and the huge bump in subscriptions since the debut, I think it’s safe to assume we might be getting a Creepshow season 2 sooner than later. One can hope. Creepshow episodes 1 – 5 are available now on Shudder, which you can subscribe to at shudder.com. You get a 7-day free trial and then it’s less than $5 a month for the best horror streaming service available.
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