Creepshow Holiday Special Is a Yuletide Delight
I have to confess something. I didn’t love the Creepshow Animated Special. Don’t get me wrong–the stories were good, obviously, and the performances were fine. However, I didn’t care for the animation style. So when I heard about the Creepshow Holiday Special, I was a little reserved. Unlike its predecessor, though, it’s live-action, and it is wonderful.
Creepshow Holiday Special: Plot Details (Tender and Mild Spoilers)
image via Shudder
Adam Pally, whom you should already know from the great Happy Endings, stars as Robert Weston. Weston, if I may call him that, has a bit of an issue. Due to the uh, goings of his digestive system, he’s realized that he’s ingesting some weird shit. If he had pica or some condition like that, then there would be an easy explanation. However, he not only doesn’t have any known conditions, but he also doesn’t remember eating anything like coins or buttons. Or bones.
So once bodies start turning up, he starts to believe that he might be responsible. In fact, he suspects that he might be a shapeshifter, so he attends a meeting of the local chapter of Shapeshifters Anonymous. The password he tries to use to get into the meeting, by the way, is “Landis“–wink, wink.
The folks at the meeting are a friendly bunch, ready and willing to help Weston crack the mystery. They include Dr. Talbot (Keith Flippen), who shifts into a turtle, and Irena (Anna Camp), who’s a were-cheetah. Her casting almost feels like a fun throwback to Camp’s time on True Blood. From Club Dead, the third book in The Southern Vampire Mysteries, upon which the series was based:
And they might call themselves by that animal: weredog, or werebat, or weretiger. But never just ‘weres’-that term was reserved for the wolves. The true werewolves scorned such variance in form, and they didn’t think much of shifters in general. They, the werewolves, considered themselves the cream of the shape-shifting world.
Ahem. Anyway, once they establish Weston as a true shifter, they let him in on another secret. Ever since Biblical times, shifters have been in an ongoing struggle with Santa Claus, a villain who wishes to eradicate every one of them. I’m sure there’s no way he’ll find them at the Church of St. Argento, though, right?
J.A. Konrath Adaptation a Holiday Joy
image via Shudder
Despite my thinking of Charlaine Harris, the special is actually based on a short story by J.A. Konrath. And for the most part, it works. The characters at the shifters’ meeting, which also includes a were-boar (Andy, played by Frank Nicotero), are so secure with who they are that it’s refreshing. No glum, angsty weres here.
And when the inevitable ultraviolence breaks out, that’s fun, too. If I had one quibble with the special, then it would be the characterization of Phyllis (Candy McClellan). There’s a long and inglorious history of comparing Black people, particularly Black women, to animals. That Phyllis isn’t even a real were–she’s just a really enthusiastic furry–doesn’t matter. Too often in the special, Phyllis is the object of derision or pity. (Note: I haven’t read the novella yet, so I don’t know if all this comes from the source.) There’s also an outdated detail regarding an elderly Roma woman. Y’all can come for me all you want, but c’mon. It’s 2020 and we’re still doing this stuff?
At the same time, though, that does add to the retro feel of the Creepshow Holiday Special. So having said that, it’s obviously not perfect. But it might be perfect for you if you can’t stand another schmaltzy holiday movie. (But please stay tuned for the one I’m going to write, where a big city werewolf–in an immaculate camel wool wrap coat–has a meet-cute with a small town…werewolf.)
The Creepshow Holiday Special is available now on Shudder.
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featured image via Shudder
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at email@example.com.