Shelf Space: "Creepshow 2" Blu-ray Review
Creepshow 2 (1987)
Director: Michael Gornick
Writer: George Romero (based on Stephen King stories)
Starring: Lois Chiles, George Kennedy, Dorothy Lamour, Tom Savini
Company: Image Entertainment
“Creepshow 2” starts off with the beloved Creep (played by Tom Savini in hilariously hideous makeup) tossing the latest issue of “Creepshow” out of the back of his truck. Three stories held together by animated sequences of a boy named Billy on a mission to grow a venus fly trap make up this sequel to the 1982 anthology “Creepshow.” George Romero drew inspiration from some Stephen King short stories and cranked out this cocktail of wooden indians, partying coeds, and bourgoise adulteresses. While Warner Bros. put out the first movie in this series; the distribution duties for "Creepshow 2" were split between New World Pictures (of Roger Corman fame) and Vestron Videos, who each put out this film in separate markets. Keep that in mind before you start tearing this movie apart while comparing it to the original.
What we have here is another effort from our friends at Image Entertainment to rescue a film from the purgatory of home entertainment known as DVD and bring it up to modern day standards—at least as far as all technical aspects are concerned.
The quality here suggests that this is by no means a restoration of the original print. There are a few scratches throughout, but nothing too distracting and some may even appreciate these as they may provide more of a “film” feel. Despite the level of saturation, the picture is somewhat dull and dark in well-lit scenes. Wide shots lose a lot of detail, although that's not an uncommon occurrence among older films. Other parts, however, look great! In the first tale, several close-ups of a wooden Indian allow the viewer to see incredible detail in woodgrain, and textures are clearly discernible. In the third segment, “The Hitchhiker,” which consists of mostly dark, nighttime scenes, a lack of noise keeps the blacks black and some details are preserved. This 1080p version maintains the original 1:85:1 aspect ratio. While not much better than the DVD version, the improvements that were made are definitely noticeable.
Image has taken the original mono soundtrack and given us a remastered DTS HD 5.1 track to enjoy. You don't really need a bad ass surround system to appreciate this as there isn't as much of a dynamic between front and back channels. I'm giving this a 4 simply because anyone is able to appreciate the clarity here, especially when it comes to dialogue. You can crank the volume and jam to Les Reed's score without having to fumble for the remote as soon as any action kicks in. There's a healthy balance between quiet, suspenseful scenes and moments of screaming panic. And there was nothing that sounded blown out.
No extras for you! This movie has traveled a long and hard road, being pulled back and forth between Image, which previously put out a LaserDisc and Anchor Bay, who released a Special Edition DVD in 2005. As in any war, there were casualties; and sadly, the extras from Anchor Bay's DVD release were not spared. The menu music is pretty cool, though.
SHOULD I BUY IT?
Taking into account that this is the only blu-ray version available, and the fact that Image has put in work to make it available pretty inexpensively, I say go for it. You probably already own the original “Creepshow” so may as well, right?