Now that Labor Day is here and the embargo has lifted, we can finally discuss the return of Creepshow, marking Shudder’s first truly big foray into original horror programming. Back in March, on behalf of Comicbook.com, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Atlanta set of Creepshow and it’s a joy to be able to see how well the show has turned out. Thanks to observations and interviews, I rounded up a ton of information to share with you all, but first, a little history lesson for any of you horror buffs out there who might not know why this version of Creepshow is a big deal.
The original Creepshow was a 1982 anthology horror movie written by Stephen King and directed by George Romero and the movie paid homage to the EC horror comics that had come before it. After that came a sequel, and that’s where the series picks up: “I always felt that Creepshow was way ahead of its time in terms of what George was doing, and the visuals, so in terms of like, oh, you're re-imagining it, I'm like, no,” said producer Greg Nicotero, on whether this series is a reboot. “I mean, it's gonna feel much more like a continuation... I'm not rebooting anything, or it's not like, oh, we're gonna upgrade it and retell it. It's really like you're picking up another issue of Creepshow and these are the stories.”
On the particular day we toured the set, they were filming “Bad Wolf Down”, an original tale of terror written and directed by Rob Schrab. We weren’t filled on too much of the plot, but it wasn’t hard to piece together considering there were men dressed as Nazis and a big, lumbering costumed werewolf walking around on set. That particular episode stars horror legend Jeffrey Combs (most famous for Re-Animator, though his performance in The Frighteners is a personal favorite of mine), and watching him stand around all day in a Nazi uniform is a highlight that can not be understated. Great attention to detail had clearly gone into Combs’ appearance, even down to his haircut, which he explained was authentic because he hated inauthenticity, and cited M.A.S.H. as an example. “It’s the first time I have ever played a Nazi,” Combs told me. “But that’s why I accepted it. I like a challenge. It’s kind of chilling to be in that uniform.”
While on set, I witnessed them film several key scenes, the best of which was easily (spoiler alert) watching a werewolf swiping the head off of a Nazi soldier, and let me tell you - if you’re a fan of gory practical effects, you’re going to love Creepshow because that’s exactly who this show aims to please. “I mean, it's 98% practical effects,” Nicotero told us. “Like, all the creature work, and all the makeup, and the werewolves, and the puppets, and the funniest thing is we're shooting so fast that's like, when one of them is done, the guys just throw it on the floor in the room and grab the next one and run to set. So when you walk by our lockup, everything's just fucking thrown everywhere.” He’s not kidding about that last part. There seemed to be mountains of props and masks just littered around the set, which is enough to make any horror fan squeal with joy.
Aside from getting to see the filming of "Bad Wolf Down", we were also given the opportunity to tour some of the sets that had already been filmed, or soon-to-be-filmed, including “By the Silver Water of Lake Chaplain”, directed by horror make-up legend Tom Savini. Not to spoil anything, but we saw a monster on set so big that on this particular day, it was being moved around on a forklift. Tom Savini explained, however, this isn’t the true monster of his episode: “It's about a sweet little family terrorized by a monster. It's not the dinosaur in the story; it's the stepdad.”
Another set we toured was “Gray Matter”, directed by Greg Nicotero based on a short story written by Stephen King. “It can’t be Creepshow without a Stephen King story,” Greg told us. “And he’s like 'I got just the story.'”
After spending all day on set, what I really want to impart on you is that if you’re a fan of the original movie, then you’ll be pleased to know that Creepshow is in good hands. This was more than evident after listening to Nicotero speak so passionately about the project along with the passion of everyone he’s working with: “I’ve had more than one person tell me, ‘I moved to LA 'cause I wanted to work on a movie like Creepshow and now here I'm working on Creepshow.’”
Creepshow stars David Arquette (Scream franchise), Adrienne Barbeau, Tobin Bell (Saw), Big Boi (Scream: The TV Series), Jeffrey Combs (Star Trek, Re-Animator), Kid Cudi (Drunk Parents), Bruce Davison (Longtime Companion, X-Men), Giancarlo Esposito (Better Call Saul), and more. It’s scheduled to premiere on Shudder on September 26, 2019.