Watching a horror anthology is like going on 4 or 5 blind dates in succession on the same night, with about the same success rate. Rarely are horror anthologies uniformly good (1972’s Tales from the Crypt, Asylum, would be exceptions) and all too often they’re uniformly bad (Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, Campfire Stories, Grim Prairie Tales, Torture Garden, the list is virtually endless). My favorite horror anthologies are the ones that stutter-step all over the place, alternating scary, memorable stories with weak, filler stories, since the suspense over never knowing what I’m going to get provides me with a sort of natural high. Unfortunately, Creepshow III provided little of this type of suspense since each story struggled valiantly to suck on its own, without any assistance from the collective group. By the way, not a single one of these stories was ever even in the presence of either Romero or King, let alone written by them.
The first segment, “Alice”, was wicked stupid and almost defies description. A girl heads home after a day of high school to find that her police detective father has purchased a universal remote control that does some really fucked up things. First, her dad punches a button on the remote and the whole family turns into African-Americans, then he punches another button and they all turn into Mexicans, and then suddenly the girl’s skin is all gross and bubbly and just as her dad is about to shoot her with his police-issue pistol, she is transformed into a rabbit by an old man. I know, I know, you think I’m making this shit up, but I swear to God, I’m not. I watched it twice. Once drunk, once sober. Check it out if you don’t believe me. And yeah, there were some spoilers in that paragraph, sorry about that. So, I guess that’s the first story.
“The Radio” is equally lame, but slightly more coherent, as it explores an alcoholic man’s relationship with his talking radio. The man purchases the radio from a homeless dude after a fair amount of haggling over antennae size and soon discovers that the radio will occasionally order him around in a “seductive lesbian” type of voice similar to Jessica Rabbit’s. At first this voice just makes him clean up his apartment and eat healthy, but eventually the radio coerces him into stealing some money from a pimp living in his building, and all sorts of wackiness ensues. Note: this is the anthology segment with a jump-scene featuring a screeching cat leaping onto the protagonist.
“Call Girl”, the strongest segment of the movie, features a serial-killer hooker who arranges to meet a young boy living out in suburbia for an evening of slap and tickle. But when the whore decides to claim her next victim, she gets more than she bargained for, and the hand-cuffs don’t accomplish jack shit, it turns out. Note: nudity is not featured in this segment.
In “The Professor’s Wife” a couple of college students drop in on their favorite professor, only to find that he’s not at home, and they end up meeting the professor’s hot new wife. As the wife visits with the students in a high, breathless voice and putters around the house, serving shit from the kitchen, the students convince themselves that their genius professor has created some sort of robot woman, ala The Stepford Wives, to cater to his every perverted whim. This particular segment was riddled with boring-ass flashbacks and ridiculously bad comedic timing. A chore to sit through. Let’s move on.
“Haunted Dog” wraps up this 100 minutes of mediocrity with a story about a mean-spirited doctor—legally consigned to working at a free clinic—who gives a homeless man a fatally tainted hot dog. The homeless man dies and begins to haunt the calloused, dickhead of a doctor, but any meager tension is immediately broken up by seemingly endless doctor/patient montages that serve no purpose other than to pad the running time.
I know that the original Creepshow has its die-hard fans, but admittedly, I prefer the sequel. I’ve always thought The Raft was one of Stephen King’s more visceral short stories and I like the way it was adapted in Creepshow II. And for some reason probably having to do with the age at which I saw it, the closing hitchhiker segment with Lois Chiles haunted me for years. In any case, Creepshow III, the retarded nephew of the Creepshow family, totally blows. I wish I could say that the quality of the middle story warrants at least a rental from your local video store, but the success of this segment is dubious, at best, and it’s probably in everybody’s best interest to just skip the entire movie. I’ve always yearned to see another good Creepshow installment, but for the series to succeed in the slightest, Romero and King have to be involved, at least peripherally. Creepshow III is proof enough of that.