Originally posted Thursday, October 31, 2019 by RODNEY HOemail@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Greg Nicotero’s horror anthology “Creepshow” has been rewarded a second season on AMC’s streaming network Shudder.
“I couldn’t be more pleased and look forward to continuing the series with more ghoulish delight,” Nicotero said in a press release Wednesday.
The six-episode series, an homage to the original 1982 film by his hero George A. Romero and written by Stephen King, was shot in metro Atlanta earlier this year, a project Nicotero worked on in between seasons 9 and 10 of “The Walking Dead.” The “Creepshow” season finale debuts on Halloween night.
Among the actors who participated in the anthology included David Arquette (”Scream”), Atlanta rap star Big Boi (”Scream” TV series), Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad,” “Beter Call Saul”), Tricia Helfer (”Battlestar Galactica,” “Lucifer”) and Adrienne Barbeau from the original “Creepshow” film.
“This is really a passion project of mine” Nicotero said in an interview before the season started in September. “I grew up in Pittsburgh and met George Romero. He invited me to set when I was 16 years old in 1981 while they were shooting ‘Creepshow.’ It was the first movie set I ever visited. It changed my life! I originally had plans to be a doctor and follow my dad’s footsteps.”
Instead, his first major job came four years later doing special effects makeup on Romero’s classic “Day of the Dead.” Fifteen years later, NIcotero became a key executive producer of “The Walking Dead” responsible for much of the show’s coolest special effects. He ahs also directed some of the show’s most wrenching episodes.
To him, “Creepshow” the movie was a culmination of a golden age of films, from “Dawn of the Dead” and “Friday the 13th” to mainstream classics such as “E.T.” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” which featured groundbreaking special effects of the era.
“I felt like ‘Creepshow’ was first and foremost way ahead of its time,” Nicotero. “It was Stephen King and George Romero’s love letter to DC Comics come to life. It had dramatic colors and comic book dissolves into live action. This version is my love letter to those guys and the genre of that time period. It inspired me to become the guy I am.”
A lover of short stories, Nicotero reached out to some of his favorites and King himself. “He was on board right out of the gate,” he said.
His favorite story was King’s ‘Gray Matter,” which features a man whose drinking habit quickly spirals out of control until he begins devouring animals and people and, well, anything.
“I still don’t even know if it still even hits me that I directed a Stephen King story,” Nicotero said. “It’s so strange and surreal to think that. This was somebody whose books terrified me when I was a kid.”
Better yet, he said he got feedback directly from King, who loved the result. “Mindblowing,” he said.
Nicotero did the series on a relatively modest budget and tight time frame at a studio in East Atlanta. “It has an indie scrappy feel to it,” he said. “We shot each story in 3 and a half days. It reminded me of doing ‘Evil Dead 2.’ Just a bunch of people show up and do crazy stuff ever three and a half days. New actors, new director, new sets.”
He said he needed to shoot an insert for a particular story but the set was already gone. They had to dig a piece of it out of the dumpster. “We were turning stuff that fast!” he said.
Nicotero used puppets, animatronics and stop-motion animation to give the series a “classic feel.” “Somebody told me they thought the CG was bad,” he said. “What do you know? It wasn’t CG!”
The show has been a hit for three-year-old Shudder, which focuses exclusively on horror. Critics loved it, too, with near universal acclaim.
“It’s driving record numbers of new subscribers,” said Shudder GM Craig Engler, without stating actual subscribers numbers. “Greg Nicotero and his team have delivered an amazing show that honors the original movie by George A. Romero and Stephen King while forging an identity that’s uniquely its own.”
Shudder is available on a vast array of options on top of its app and website including Roku, iOS, Android, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.
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