Creepshow Returns to Dole Out More Cleverly Gruesome Life Lessons

Creepshow Returns to Dole Out More Cleverly Gruesome Life Lessons

Creepshow is back for its fourth season, and the horror anthology series doesn’t diverge much from its established formula: two stories per episode, both putting characters through gory ordeals that climax in (usually) well-earned punishment. You know a twist is coming, but Creepshow’s draw is that you can never quite map out the road to get there—and there’s guaranteed visceral thrills along the way.

With horror veteran Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead) again steering the ship, Creepshow season four brings 12 tales to life (and death) across its six instalments, some sprinkled with references to George A. Romero and Stephen King, who collaborated on the Creepshow 1982 horror anthology film. With a few exceptions, the cast is less high-profile than other seasons, which isn’t a knock; by now, Creepshow has its own devotees who’re tuning in for the stories as well as the grisly special effects. And anyway, the performances are strong across the board, even if you might not recognize the actors.

Obviously, we won’t be getting into any spoilers in this review, but it’s not giving anything away to say that some recurring themes emerge. Big ones include greed and the dangers of unbridled ambition—perpetual favourites for Creepshow and other anthology genre series that’ve come before (especially The Twilight Zone). But the biggest theme umbrellas both, as the season repeatedly examines dysfunctional families whose issues become more complicated when supernatural elements intrude. Standout examples include a son dealing with his monstrously hectoring parents in the darkly comic “Parent Deathtrap,” the suburban dad who’s rattled by the wholesome vampires next door in “Meet the Belaskos,” and “Something Burrowed, Something Blue,” featuring John Carpenter movie veteran Tom Atkins as a slippery patriarch. Elsewhere, we see families drawn together by their experiences, most touchingly in the father-son video game bonding tale “Cheat Code.”

As for the creatures and blood-and-guts stuff, again, we aren’t going to ruin the fun for anyone, but season four encompasses a range that’ll satisfy splatter junkies. We mentioned vampires; there’s also a variety of hulking beasties along with ghosts, fairies, and zombies—the latter coming in “George Romero in 3-D!”, an episode that pays tribute not just to Creepshow’s co-creator, but also its horror comic-inspired origins, already echoed in the show’s incorporation of comic panels into each story. Stephen King also gets an overt homage in “The Hat,” about a horror author who makes some… let’s call them ill-advised choices while trying to overcome writer’s block.

There are some weak links in season four; not every tale lands with satisfaction, with a few underbaked ideas and a few that feel perhaps a bit familiar. That’s bound to happen with an anthology series—and if you’re watching an episode you start to think is second-tier, it’ll be over in 30 minutes-ish anyway. It would also be nice to see more diversity among the cast, as well as the show’s writers and directors. But overall, Creepshow manages to be as entertaining as ever in its fourth season. It’s still as fun as it is freaky, and propelled by an endearing “made by horror fans, for horror fans” energy that feels like it could continue for many more instalments to come.

All six episodes of Creepshow season four drop today, Friday, October 13 on Shudder and AMC+; if you have the linear AMC channel, you’ll have to content yourself with a one-episode-per-week rollout through November 17.

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