MAY 1, 2012
At some point I vowed never to watch Creepshow III until I heard a single good thing about it. But when a pal told me that Chillerama was worse, I figured that was close enough, since it’s not like after 5 years someone is going to come out of the woodwork with anything better unless they were involved with the film. Well, obviously I have some bias with Chillerama (and its beautiful, breathtaking credits) but I cannot agree with him – Chillerama may have problems, but at least it has some basic respect for the movies they would be associated with, something that is noticeably absent from this “sequel”.
In fact I often wondered if anyone involved had even SEEN either of the original Creepshow films, since even the friggin Chief Wooden Head segment in C2 had more class and merit than the best segment here. The attempts at ironic twists were painfully bad; when we see a serial killer hooker go home with a new john in the 3rd story, you know right from the start that he’s going to end up killing her for his own purposes, but the screenwriter seems to think we’re idiots and that we’ll be surprised by this “revelation”.
It’s also just not funny in the slightest. This movie’s idea of humor is focusing a story on a magical remote that will turn everyone into an African-American when the “color” button is pressed, or into Mexicans with a touch of the SAP button. Really. Then there’s the 5th story, in which a doctor who also happens to be the most despicable man on the planet is haunted by a homeless man who died after eating the foul hot dog our “hero” gave him. You can maybe ignore the idea that this man would have gone to medical school due to the fact that he has no interest in helping anyone (when a teenage girl with a brain tumor comes in, his advice is “go to a prom, soon.”), but not that we are given a five minute montage consisting of nothing but this asshole’s terrible bedside manner. I’m sorry, the point of a montage is to show how things are advancing quickly – by the time this ends we know nothing that we didn’t already (that he’s a prick), so it’s just a complete waste of time.
It also keeps hiding things from us. The 4th story revolves around a professor who likes to pull practical jokes on his students, and in a montage we see him setting a few in action. But that’s it – we just see him playing with a remote or something while whatever he has done occurs off-screen, leaving it to our imagination (and awkward dialogue) to fill in the blanks of what he’s actually doing. And this is his major trait, the thing that instigates the story! It’d be like if Titanic didn’t show the iceberg.
And no one acts like a human being, which is a bit of an issue for a horror film where the viewer should be scared or at least somewhat compelled by the story. In the 4th tale, our heroes think that their professor’s fiancé is actually an android that he built, and to get back at him for his pranks, they decide to “dismantle” her. Of course, it’s not a robot but a sort of dim woman, which would have worked if we didn’t have to watch them cut her up and marvel at how “real” she looked with each subsequent body part. Seriously, they have her in about 12 pieces before one of them catches on to the fact that it’s a human being. The professor runs around like he’s doing a bad Robin Williams impression at all times, and… well, I already mentioned the doctor. It’s like the movie is daring you to get all the way through it, getting worse and more garish as it inches toward the end of its interminable 105 minute runtime.
The one thing about the movie I actually liked was its Trick ‘r Treat-esque approach to the five stories, in that they shared a universe and had characters drifting in and out of each other’s tales (the professor pops up in almost all of them, I think), sometimes even foreshadowing what would come later. Of course, this just draws attention to the fact that the movie was shot entirely on the Universal backlot (anyone who has ever taken the tour will recognize the main locations), and it means having to put up with these mostly insufferable people more than we would in a traditionally structured anthology, but at least, unlike Deadtime Stories, there’s no way one could accuse them of just slapping together some shitty short films that they made and calling it a movie. It’s CONSISTENT bullshit.
Because they hate you, the filmmakers have included a laughably self-congratulating making of piece, in which co-directors discuss their working process (they’re also behind Day of the Dead 2: Contagium!) and how this one lives up to the others, with the actor playing the professor (by far the movie’s most insufferable character) says that it’s better written than the first two films (which were written by George A. Romero and Stephen King, in case you’ve forgotten), because he is quite possibly an idiot. Or an actor being paid to say things like that, who knows. They also spend a lot of time on the film’s practical FX; I guess that’s their way of making up for the horrendous flash animation that has replaced the real animation of the first two films.
The fact that it at least looks like a real production and was competently shot elevates it above the Deadtime Stories volumes, though not much. Everything you’ve heard about this offense is true; the best thing I can say about it is that at least they just stole the name and didn’t try to pull that “Based on Characters by Stephen King” (or Romero) bullshit that they do for the later Children of the Corn sequels, all of which are much better uses of your time.
What say you?