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Creepshow - Pipe Screams/Within the Walls of Madness - Review



SPOILERS AHEAD - PLEASE DON'T READ UNLESS YOU'VE WATCHED CREEPSHOW 02.04! Yes, you've been warned!


Pipe Screams: 

 Horror legend Barbara Cramption (Re-Animator) finally makes her Creepshow debut as Victoria, a morally deceptive landlord, showing a plumber, Linus (Eric Edelstein, Green Room, Twin Peaks: the Return), around her building. There seems to be a mysterious growth within the pipes. Linus mentions laws and regulations and Victoria literally threatens to ruin his reputation online if he doesn't comply. We can already tell this will not end well. Lo and behold, Linus discovers that the growth in the pipers is much worse than what it seems. The monster doesn't have a name, per se, so we can only called it a Clog Monster. 

The creature design is surprisingly memorable and effective in its simplicity. Anyone who has ever pulled out a hair clog out of a drain or pipe will be able to relate to its nastiness. Some effectively directed mayhem ensues with Linus almost being eaten alive by this predatory fiend, but miraculously surviving in time to give Victoria (and her irritating-looking shoes) her well-deserved comeuppance. 

 Joe Lynch returns to direct this segment, which is a bit of a let down after impressing us with "The Right Snuff" last week. He gives it a fun, bouncy feel. However, the simplicity of the story written by Daniel Kraus (Ball of Wax) feels like vintage Creepshow. We get a one-dimensional villain, a fun, well-designed monster, an everyman hero, and a climax involving all of them and a somewhat satisfyingly ending. He deserves a break after such an epic achievement last week. Plus, Barbara Crampton is really fun to watch acting mean. Can't complain.
Within the Walls of Madness: 

Here's where my complaining starts. Here, we get a story that should have been epic like "The Right Stuff," but falls flat. We start seeing a prison inmate named Zeller (Lodge 49's Drew Matthews) being interviewed by a potential lawyer. Who is he? What crime did he commit? Denise Crosby of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the original Pet Semetery fame plays a scientist on an arctic military base similar to John Carpenter's classic remake of The Thing. There is murder, a location change, and a Lovecraftian twist being laid out, but not what you would initially think. 

Creepshow regular John Harrison returns to direct his first segment written by John Esposito (he wrote "Model Kid" from this season and "Night of the Paw" from last season) of the 2nd season with this one. He directed some of my favorite stories last season - like "House of the Head" and was given by far his biggest budget for a segment yet. While I admired the production values and special effects here, I was surprised that the story fell flat for me ultimately. Maybe if they had been able to expand this story to feature length, it wouldn't have felt so rushed and truncated. I appreciated the twists, but they came too quickly and at the expense of character development. 

Ultimately, it felt too much like a homage instead of its own....um...thing and didn't add much we horror viewers haven't already seen before in better films (which has been my main complaint of Mr. Esposito's previous scripts as well). Considering the ambitious twists, could've been less conventional and taken more satisfying creative risks.

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