The second season of Creepshow, Shudder’s resurrection of the '80s horror anthology series, will return on Apr. 1 with one less episode than expected because of the recent allegations of sexual assault against would-be guest star Marilyn Manson. The episode was dropped from the season's lineup earlier in February.
However, showrunner/director Greg Nicotero told reporters at the Television Critics Association panel for Season 2 today that, “There was not a moment where we didn’t want to do the right thing and pull the episode.”
Manson was originally slated to appear in only one episode this year. “There were some great actors in it but we stand by [the decision],” Nicotero said about the nixed episode.
As to how that call may have impacted the season overall, Nicotero said it was minimal and resulted in some restructuring of the air order: “We pulled an episode up called, 'Sibling Rivalry,' with Molly Ringwald.” Nicotero described it as a high school “rite of passage” horror episode, and sang the praises of the former ‘80s teen comedy queen's work. Other actors to join the season include horror legends Keith David (The Thing) and Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator).
Other episodes to look forward to in Season 2 feature a grab bag of topics including creature horror with Nicotero's personal biggest fear: spiders; period piece episodes set in the ‘70s; and even an homage to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead.
Nicotero said writer Rob Schrab is responsible for the “loving tribute” to Ash’s evil hand in the homage, “Public TV of the Dead.” And that he had a blast channeling his inner Raimi with crazy camera work and even designing their own Necronomicon.
The season premiere is “Model Kid,” which is also directed by Nicotero. He admits it was a particularly personal story for the director as he saw himself in the nerdy, model-making kid at the center of the story. “I was that kid looking in the mailbox for new model kits to arrive. When we were young, it wasn’t always cool to love monsters. So we would immerse ourselves into model kits and horror magazines.” He even hints that the kid, Brock, bears a striking resemblance to Charlie in the 1971 classic fillm, Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory, by design.
Closing up Season 2 is the episode “Night of the Living Late Show,” which Nicotero said gave him sincere hometown Pittsburgh vibes. The town, he said, helped shape his horror roots and eventually his creative career with collaborations with George Romero and special effects legend Tom Savini.
Assessing the upcoming season, Nicotero told reporters he thinks it is a far more assured season in terms of elevated stories, production design, lighting, monsters, and wiith his own personal confidence. "In Season 1, I dipped my toes in water. And for Season 2, we jumped into the deep end. I approached it a lot more sure-footed, and we even have a sci-fi episode that harkens back to The Andromeda Strain. We embrace so many bold elements. And all the actors bring heart and humor to their episodes.”
With Creepshow already renewed for a third season, Nicotero continued that he has allowed himself to exhale since the fans have embraced the series. “I can’t wait for people to see what we did. I’m really proud of it. And if we can provide some escape for people and make them feel warmly cuddled by my creatures, that makes me happy. I feel if George (Romero) was here, he would probably smack me on the back doing his best Brando impersonation. More and more, it feels like this is mine as we continue to keep the legacy going.”
Creepshow Season 2 debuts on Shudder and AMC+ on Apr. 1, and AMC later in 2021. A third season is also in the works for next year.