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Shudder’s CREEPSHOW 301 Review

Neil reviews the first episode of Shudder’s CREEPSHOW season 3 praising the “outstanding and award-worthy” practical effects work.

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Creepshow (Shudder)

New episodes of Creepshow stream weekly on Thursday’s via Shudder.

Synopsis

“Mums”
Jack’s life is upended when his mother is taken from him, but her garden leaves him more to remember her by than he first thought.

“Queen Bee”
Trenice and her friends are obsessed with pop star Regina. When they hear she has been admitted to a local hospital, they take the chance to try to meet Regina in person… but she’s even more larger-than-life than they imagined.

Review

Arguably the crowning glorying the Shudder’s impressive catalogue is the legendary Creepshow. Originally the stuff of nightmares in my childhood, the series now stands the pinnacle of anthology storytelling for horror fans.

The series returns this week for season 3 featuring twelve new stories from some of the genre’s finest creative minds. The first episode features Rusty Cundieff’s “Mums,” highlighting the bond between mother and son, and “Queen Bee,” an original story directed by showrunner Greg Nicotero.

“Mums” is a slow paced opener which takes inspiration from a short story by Joe Hill. Jack (Brayden Benson) is separated from his mother (Erin Beute) after she tries to escape from her oppressive husband, Hank (Ethan Embry). Awaiting his mother’s return, Jack plants seeds she left behind in her garden which reveal not only her fate but also a way for him to escape.

“Mums” story features some interesting twists. Rooting the story in the bond between mother and son creates a strong emotional component which drives the story forwards. There are hints at an intriguing subplot around Hank’s extremist views which, if explored more, could have amped up the impact overall.

In classic Creepshow style the story escalates, incorporating some excellent practical effects. The strange plants in Bloom’s garden Offer up an opportunity for some great visuals in-keeping with the series’ signature style.

“Queen Bee” is the more captivating of the two stories in this episode. Nicotero’s story is engaging and perfectly encapsulates its teen leads. Their dialogue and attitudes feel authentic and the approach to celebrity satire feels sharp and incredibly timely.

The story explores fandom in a way which feels satirically critical. Poking fun at our devotion to false idols, as well as reflecting celebrities own lack of privacy in the social media world. Presenting both sides of the story from a wonderfully Creepshow perspective easily makes this once of my favourite stories in the modern version of the franchise.

“Queen Bee” also features some of the series’ best practical effects work. The designs for Regina’s (Kaelyn Gobert-Harris) creature transformation are outstanding and award-worthy.

Verdict

The pairing of “Mums” and “Queen Bee” confirms Creepshow‘s ability to balance the emotional with the graphic. Strong writing and excellent practical makeup make this a brilliant season opener.


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