.I swore I liked this one almost as much as Romero's film last time I caught it. This sequel was a network affiliate favorite in the early '90s and I musta seen it a dozen times as a kid. This seems appropriate as CS2 has its Ps and Qs in check when comes to not delving too much into too much adult content (despite the rating) that can be seamlessly sliced away by TV scissors. I only saw Romero's first entry way after I should have on DVD as one of the first discs I bought on the format back in '98.
That's probably why I don't hold the 1982 anthology quite as highly as most everyone else. I can't say it's necessarily bad in any respect being stuffed with immediately recognizable genre actors and certainly is in the top elechon of silver screen horror anthologies, but personally there's very little there to warrant repeat visits. The film wouldn't be even the third choice for a Romero flick for me to pop in. The last story, They're Creeping Up On You, really is too much of a downer for a conclusion. You want to see that crotchety bastard explode with cockroaches, but the film overstays its welcome by that time.
Creepshow 2's three stories are ultimately on par with that final story. Romero golden era cinematographer Michael Gornick does a serviceable job keeping the film feeling "in-the-family" yet it lacks that EC Comics bravado that gave the first its trademark flare. The even more animated wraparound with a boy and his giant venus flytraps is no substitute. The first story, Old Chief Wood'nhead, is cheesy and predictable. The wooden Indian make-up is fantastic, but his eventual turn into sawdust flesh is made obvious not five minutes in. Handled differently the potential was there for the best yarn of the anthology at least in terms of poignancy. As it is, there's no build-up and the scumbag deaths feel like a formality to hurdle over quickly to get on with the next story.
The Raft is often cited as the best of the lot and for good reason. This yarn is simple and unexpectedly plausible. Again, the gooey Smucker's Grape Jam effects work is awesome in its excruciatingly detail and at its job convincing the audience this killer algae bloom is not to be denied. The only real issue is the sleepy rape of the last girl by a last guy who should know better after seeing his friends meet brutal black Gak with a mean disposition ends. It seems only there to get in the required tits shot and feels creepy--the girl looks drugged and is basically groped which leads to her death. Nice one. Also the timing of the fade out as the slimy tarp of doom envelops the perv dude reeks of "end the shot right here so we don't see crew members pulling it" or a commercial break. Would have been better just to suddenly end the shot to black...
The last tale, The Hitchhiker, isn't as good on-screen as it is to read about and conjure your own imagery for. It runs too long for the gimmick and the best thing is the increasingly grisly visage of Tom Wright's "thanks for the ride, lady!" hitchhiker. Fond memories of seeing his final gory, horrendously ripped-up stage on the cover of Fangoria years ago. The IMDB's trivia page claims I Dream of Jeannie's Barbara Eden was originally set to play the rich bitch that plows into the Dover-bound hitcher, but had to drop due to her mother's illness. That would have delicious and might have bumped this one of a notch. Though Dr. Goodhead Lois Chiles pulls off a decent lone performance regardless. After seeing this and Wright's undead crooked cop-punishing corpse in the superior Tales from the Hood, his horror characters are firmly not to be fucked with.
Creepshow 2 comes still recommended if you've never seen it but this is my last viewing. And yep, that's Savini's signature on my DVD copy. Huzzah.