Creepshow III ReviewJoe Shaffer
Now and then there comes a film that revitalizes a long forgotten brand. It attracts modern movie goers to the franchise, usually by updating obsolete concepts and providing plenty of contemporary chills. Such flicks also do what they can to please older fans, usually by staying true to the attitudes and standards set by its source material.
Unfortunately, Creepshow III is precisely the opposite of such a film. That's to be expected, though, given the details behind its creation...
Gone is the dynamic duo of Stephen King and George A. Romero, replaced instead by the horror-movie-directing, married couple James Dudelson and Ana Clavell--the creative minds behind the redundant Day of the Dead prequel. That alone might serve as a red flag for some viewers, but some of us--myself included--are willing to give the couple the benefit of the doubt with Creepshow III. Who knows, I thought, I might be impressed.
Unfortunately, in giving them a chance resulted I lost 110 minutes I'll never have back. Heck, I should have gleaned as much from Creepshow III's animated prelude. The movie starts off with a brief segment laden with cartoony violence, stock sound effects, and crappy animation. It establishes nothing, adds nothing to film as a whole, and concludes with idiotic humor that would be a better fit in a Brain Damage Films production. I suppose I could say that the movie is at least consistent, as the rest of the film plays out this way, sans animation.
Part of what makes this movie painful to watch is its uneven combination of horror and humor. The first Creepshow attempted the same fusion, and nailed it. That movie featured a variety of horror stories, each with varying amounts of subtle comedy and camp to soften the blow. In a way, the humor in that flick was there to remind you to have fun. In Creepshow III the humor is more sophomoric, highlighted by juvenile "gay" jokes, annoying caricatures, and asinine scenes that would be more at home in a direct-to-video American Pie sequel. One scene in particular involves an apathetic doctor who clumsily gives a heavy set woman weight loss advice and slips another girl his number instead of a prescription.
Honestly, I'm not slating these laughs for their lack of wit. Heck, I like a good, dumb comedy now and then myself. What really grinds my gears about the film's humor is that it's ill-fitting for a horror movie, especially one as oft-gruesome as Creepshow III tends to be.
Mind, I said gruesome and not scary. Yes, Creepshow III features its share of gory scenes, including a pair of imbeciles hacking a bride-to-be to bits, a schoolgirl suffering from horrible deformities at the hands of a mad scientist's experimental remote control, and a humanoid monster taking a bite out of a hooker's throat. Unfortunately, the brainless comedy that sandwiches these scenes deprives them of their intimidation factor, rather than serving as a reminder that you have fun with the film. To boot, several of the scenes involve makeup and practical effects that look terrible. The aforementioned monster, for instance, looks like a cheap Halloween mask.
Mostly, though, Creepshow III's scare factor suffers from its lacking narrative. Most of the stories open with sequences that build towards nothing and add little to the story, serving more to pad out the film than establish anything relevant. What's funny is that the writer could have used the film's many instances of downtime to flesh out the characters even a little bit. With the exception of AJ Bowen's character in the second segment (which was arguably the only good performance in the entire film), all of the characters are flat, dull, and lifeless. I know, Creepshow movies are all about simple character and fun horror concepts, but even in the first film there was enough of a sense of development to aid the audience in giving a crap about the characters. I rooted for characters like Henry in the first film, as I wanted him to grow some balls and tell his wife off. I also felt a pang of sadness for Ray and Martha in the second film, unfortunate victims of greed. Creepshow III sports no such characters. Instead, it wants you to invest your care into a serial killing hooker, a snotty teenager, and a lazy malpractice case.
Of course, there are a large number of unlikeable characters in the previous two movies, but there was a reason for that. Setting up less desirable characters as the protagonists or major players of each story is a Creepshow standard. However, the idea is that such characters are supposed to ultimately fail in fitting or ironic ways, and that seldom transpires in Creepshow III. If anything indicates that Duddelson and Clavell have missed the point, it's this.
Creepshow III is not so much a horror film as it is an exercise in nonsensical storytelling, pointless blood, and terrible humor, stretched out to a torturous two hours. It's a shame to see someone like Taurus Entertainment obtain a brand like Creepshow and viciously run it to the ground. My honest recommendation for seeing Creepshow III is the same as the well known policy for doing meth: not even once. At two hours, you're better off wasting your precious free time on something more productive. Heck, even an unproductive activity would be a better use of your time than watching a flick as terrible as Creepshow III.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.