Hello Boils and Ghouls!
Who knew back in October when reviewing the Animated Creepshow Special that I'd be here again, 3 months later having been gifted another Special outing from our beloved Creep. With a second season still underway, us fans were given a Festive Special... to tide us over.
Whilst the Halloween Special was split up into two twenty minute animated segments, this live action extended Christmas episode devotes its entirety to one story; Shapeshifters Anonymous, an adaptation of J.A. Konrath‘s novella of the same name and directed by Greg Nicotero. Welcome to the Creepshow Holiday Special.
Starring Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect), Adam Pally (The Mindy Project), Frank Nicotero (Gingerdead Man 2: Passion Of The Crust), Pete Burris (Outcast), Derek Russo (Jumanji: The Next Level), Tom Glynn and Candy McLellan this Special is certainly a mixed Santa sack of treats.
Carrying over the whimsical elements of the Creepshow series and splashing joyous welts of Christmas cheer, The Holiday Special puts a fun twist on Kris Kringle, who's character becomes embroiled in a supernatural battle of good and evil with a group of therianthropes. And yes, you did read that correctly.
It isn't easy being a werewolf. Especially when you're newbie shapeshifting Robert Weston (Pally), who seeks help and refuge with a group called Shapeshifters Anonymous. On discovering his new found abilities in a humorous (but alarming) way, he seeks out the support group to help him figure things out. With the meeting being held at a church basement he meets various characters who transform into assorted, odd things, including a sexy werecheetah named Irena (Camp). But little does Weston know he has been followed to this private gathering by an evil Kris Kringle (with his own strange and unique lore to boot) who is hellbent on wiping out all therianthropes. The 3rd act of this quirky episode ends in chaos as Santa’s helpers then descend upon the church basement and our group of oddities band together, embrace their inner beasts and take a stand against evil ol’ Saint Nick.
For the most part Shapeshifters Anonymous delivers and I'll definitely be seeking out the novella in the near future. Nicotero, the FX people at KNB EFX Group and the whole Creepshow team seemed to have an absolute blast filming what can only be described at a passion project. The practical effects are pretty damn good, albeit quite hokey, and the witty dialogue and buildup of the first two acts was very well handled. It's pretty clear already that not everyone enjoyed the direction of the story, and whilst I admit there was a spoonful too much comedy for my taste with a few pacing issues, I think anyone that didn't at least have a good time here can be crowned a 2020 Scrooge.
Creepshow Holiday Special is currently streaming on SHUDDER.
Review by Craig Fisher (FisherFilms82)