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Dustin Putman

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Capsule Review
Creepshow 2  (1987)
3 Stars
Directed by Michael Gornick.
Cast: Lois Chiles, George Kennedy, Dorothy Lamour, Daniel Beer, Jeremy Green, Holt McCallany, David Holbrook, Don Harvey, Paul Satterfield, Page Hannah, Tom Wright, Frank Salsedo, David Beecroft, Richard Parks, Domenick John, Tom Savini, Stephen King.
1987 – 92 minutes
Rated: Rated R (for strong bloody violence, sexuality/nudity and language).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, October 2008.

Thanks for the ride, lady!

"Creepshow 2" reunited story creator Stephen King and screenwriter George Romero from the 1982 anthology original, but Michael Gornick took over directing duties. Considering the budgetary restrictions of this sequel—a planned five stories were pared down to three—it's actually a satisfying follow-up that retains the same macabre yet spirited tone. This time, in a format that HBO's "Tales from the Crypt" would later use, the pun-heavy Creep (Tom Savini) introduces each tale. "Old Chief Wood'nhead" finds a kindly old married couple (George Kennedy, Dorothy Lamour) gunned down in their general store, and the wooden Indian standing tall outside the door coming to life to avenge their deaths. "The Raft" pits four college kids stuck in the middle of a lake on the title wooden structure against a black, carnivorous, unidentified floating mass that won't let them escape. And last, "The Hitchhiker" depicts the frightful drive home a philandering wife (Lois Chiles) has when she is involved in a hit-and-run accident and is subsequently stalked by the victim she left for dead.

The stories in "Creepshow 2" improve upon each other, and they're all pretty good. "Old Chief Wood'nhead" and "The Raft" deliver the twists and carnage anticipated while still being dramatically cohesive, but it is "The Hitchhiker" that runs off with the glory. Fiendishly horrifying and hilariously acerbic, this third offering features one classic line and hair-raising situation after the next. As the unstoppable, steadily mangled hitchhiker who returns to haunt his killer on the lonesome, wintry roads, Tom Wright (2006's "World Trade Center") is skin-crawlingly good. His classic line, "Thanks for the ride, lady!" has long since entered into the pop-cultural landscape. The standout, though, is Lois Chiles (formerly a Bond girl in 1979's "Moonraker"), who turns Annie Lansing into the perfect embodiment of a rich, stuck-up yuppie whose guilty conscience can't help but get the best of her. Chiles is a comic firecracker—"That'll cost you, Mrs. Lansing"—and her portrayal of a mentally unraveling woman ("You're losin' it, bitch!") is pitch-perfect. On the whole, "Creepshow 2" is a lesser movie than its incomparable predecessor—this film's live-action/animated wraparound story is a disappointment in comparison to the first picture's framing device—but "The Hitchhiker" may be my favorite individual entry in either installment.

© 2008 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman