Creepshow started off with a gory bang last week with the season 2 premiere featuring a plethora of monsters and Kandarian demons. Now we’re back with episode 2 and as the saying goes: expect the unexpected!
The first story, Dead and Breakfast concerns Pam and Sam Spinster, a sister and brother (Ali Larter, Final Destination 1 and 2 & C. Thomas Howell, The Hitcher) as they attempt to strike ghoulish gold from the murder tourism industry. Their grandmother ran a bed and breakfast where she allegedly stalked and murdered scores of victims… though there’s no real evidence to prove it and attendance is at an all-time low. Desperate to increase their notoriety, Sam brings in a vlogger and murder site influencer named Morgue (Iman Benson, Alexa & Katie) to bring them some much needed internet publicity. But as things come to a head with their increasingly unimpressed guest, Sam and Pam may take more drastic measures to put their business on the map…
A horrifyingly hilarious satire of the murder tourism industry from Tales of Halloween and The Haunting of Bly Manor director Axelle Carolyn and written by Dude Bro Party Massacre III scribes Michael Rousselet and Erik Sandoval, this out of many Creepshow stories so far felt the most current. Tackling the cottage industry of carnage and taking some swipes at influencer culture as well. While bemoaning their financial woes, Pam Spinster even notes with envy how the domiciles of Lizzie Borden, Jeffrey Dahmer, and John Wayne Gacy do substantial business as vacation destinations.
This was a fun as hell tourist trap tale with some great performances from the main trio, particularly Larter’s increasing animosity at bed and breakfast’s skeptical vlogger guest. The set for The Spinster Murder house featured some elaborate and befitting pieces that you won’t soon forget and I like how the flashback to the alleged Spinster murders were told in part by the Creepshow comic book style panels. I don’t want to get into it too deeply, but there were plenty of karmic twists and turns and thrills to keep you hooked and in pure Creepshow spirit.
Our next story is Pesticide, following a sleazy and arrogant exterminator named Harlan King (Played by The Walking Dead‘s Josh McDermitt). Harlan makes a killing by killing bugs, though he doesn’t do a great job and actually likes to plant insects so his customers will have to call him back, such as a psychologist Brenda played by Hellraiser‘s Ashley Laurence. But he still has aspirations for even more vermin based glory. Opportunity knocks in the form of Murdoch (Keith David, They Live) a wealthy real estate magnate who is looking to redevelop some derelict land… but first, he wants the homeless people living on it exterminated. And Harlan seems like the greedy bugkiller for the job.
Directed by showrunner Greg Nicotero and written by Frank Dietz (Monstrkyd Manor) this was an interesting Creepshow tale in that it was much more a character study and more of a psychological horror than the creepy crawly creature feature I was expecting. McDermitt does a stand-out job as the loathsome and pathetic Harlan King, the kind of guy who uses his profession to kill insects and vermin just to feel better about himself while also screwing over clientele over perceived slights and to line his wallet.
Keith David is as charismatic as ever as the enigmatic Murdoch, serving as the proverbial devil on Harlan’s shoulder. Encouraging his worst impulses and tempting him to complete his homeless human extermination for him. While not a monster mash I was expecting, Pesticide still exhibits some nightmare and arachnophobic practical FX. Without spoiling too much, you will see some big bad bugs and critters haunt Harlan as he becomes swarmed with fear.
This was another fine edition to the sophomore season of Creepshow and only makes me hungry to see what horrors will be unleashed next week!
Creepshow airs new episodes every Thursday on Shudder.