Shudder’s Creepshow series has done an excellent job thus far giving viewers an anthology to latch onto. Capturing the spirit of what made the original George A. Romero & Stephen King collaboration so entertaining, the ongoing series offers something for every type of horror lover. Now with the recently released A Creepshow Holiday Special, it’s clear that they’re only getting started.
Helmed by Greg Nicotero, the holiday special’s story is an adaptation of J.A. Konrath’s novella, Shapeshifters Anonymous, a tale of a man visiting a support group for those who change into animals. Following Weston (Sonic the Hedgehog‘s Adam Pally), a man trying to figure out how to come to terms with the fact that he turns into a werewolf at night devouring evil people he comes into contact with, the story wastes no time in introducing us to a comedic take on the awkwardness that can come with some support groups. Led by Irena (True Blood and Pitch Perfect‘s Anna Camp), the S.A. is comprised of various individuals who also struggle with the same issue as Weston, but in much different ways. While Irena turns into a Cheetah at night, other members admit that they become a tortoise, a hog and in the case of one woman, nothing, she just enjoys feeling a part of something.
What makes Shapeshifters Anonymous so interesting is how unique the story feels right out of the gate. With razor sharp wit with the dialogue and there isn’t a single moment in the special, in which you know where the story is going. While the setup of a support group is an interesting one, what it does so well, is pull the proverbial rug from under its viewer, providing twist after twist. Soon viewers are given were-hogs and furries, but just when you think that’s odd enough, you’re told that Santa Claus himself hunts shapeshifters every year, armed with the claw of Satan. If you think I spoiled the plot, trust me, that’s just the first quarter. Nicotero, who wrote the teleplay adaptation, leaves the viewer guessing. When things come together in the last quarter of the episode, viewers are given a full on battle royale between animals and mall Santas, something one would never expect to see. Part of the episode’s charm is in how unexpected the film’s twists truly are.
If anything could be listed as possible setbacks to the special it would be the obvious lack of budget, but that rough and tumble approach works in its advantage, feeling like the type of films horror fans would make with what they have. Nicotero and company love what they do and in this episode, you can tell that Camp, Pally and the rest of the actors involved are having the time of their lives, caked in some interestingly entertaining makeups. Is Shapeshifters Anonymous perfect? Not in any way, but it has heart and soul and a hell of lot of humor and that works.
A Creepshow Holiday Special: Shapeshifters Anonymous is now available to watch via Shudder.