‘Creepshow’ finds death in art, spiders and “The Last Tsuburaya”

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Shudder

By Rob Hunter Posted on October 11, 2021

Can you believe Horror showIs the third season of is already halfway? I have the impression that it has only just begun! The episodes and segments of ShudderThe popular anthology series have for the most part been on par with previous seasons, but sadly that’s not really a good thing, at least not yet. The past few seasons have each featured at least one really good story / episode, so that’s something to look forward to with season three. Believe me when I say that Meg Shields and I are looking forward to this season’s banger episode, but for now, keep reading for my look at season three, episode three …


“The last Tsuburaya”
Director: Jeffrey F. Janvier
Screenwriters: Paul Dini and Stephen Langford

Ishirō Tsuburaya, a famous and long-deceased Japanese artist, has left behind a macabre art collection beloved by collectors and fans alike. The holy grail among his work, however, is an never-before-seen painting – the last Tsuburaya – that remained safe in a crate and was only recently discovered in a basement with strict instructions written on the lid. It should only be opened by a parent, and the last of them is a young Best Buy employee with no appreciation for the art. He quickly sells the unopened case to a tech millionaire and comes out of the episode. Smart man, because what comes next would have scared even the Geek Squad to death.

As this segment becomes a creature characteristic, the theme at play here is twofold: how the value of art is in the eye (and bank account) of the beholder, and how money is a tool for the devil. . While the young man is indifferent and is content with a quick payment, a museum curator tries and fails to make everyone understand the cultural relevance of a final piece from an artist as respected for his work as he is despised for his apparent dislike of people. The star of the segment, however, is the rich asshole who buys the painting, opens it, soaks it while a room full of guests awaits the unveiling, then burns the artwork before anyone can spot it. That’s fine, but an inordinate amount of time is given to the other characters here early on that doesn’t impact the story.

Wade Cruise (Brandon quinn) is a delightfully despicable “bad guy” – he pays for the art fair and the square, but he’s kind of a jerk for destroying it so no one else can ever experience it. He also shares a story about belittling a desperate father while trying to get a good deal on a vase and possibly sentencing the man’s sick daughter to death, but what he thinks about it is t is that the only real joy in money comes from the power you can wield over others. It’s far from an original commentary, but when the creature in the painting begins to stalk it, it almost feels like a revealing heart situation. Almost, because the truth is actually a little more interesting than that – not much, but a bit, and that’s something these segments often can’t claim – because these themes of art and property merge to explain and solve Wade’s experiment.

The creature itself is human in a variety of costume, our favorite around these parts, and it has an attractive design that January uses cleverly, first in the shadows and ultimately on our faces. While there is nothing explicit about “The Last Tsuburaya”, there seems to be a little Easter Egg for fans of the genre. More precisely, for fans of so-called tokusatsu films, a kind of Japanese sub-genre with action / drama rich in special effects and guys in monster costumes. Ishirō Tsuburaya is most likely a nod to two legends of the genre, Ishirō Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya, the director and effects director (respectively) of the 1954s. Godzilla. This has no effect on the segment itself, but it does allow the filmmakers to show some respect for some real-life Japanese artists.


“Alright, I’ll bite”
Director: John Harrison
Writer: John Harrison

Elmer (Nick massouh) is in jail for assisting in what amounts to assisted suicide, and his final parole stab is denied after a corrupt guard makes a false accusation. The guard in question uses Elmer’s scientific skills to cook opium, and he has no intention of losing his free job. He and the other prisoners scold and abuse him, but Elmer finds solace in his collection of spiders. It doesn’t last, however, and when threatened by both thugs and changes from above, Elmer takes matters into his own hands – well, his own fangs and hairy legs, anyway.

There’s quite a bit of loosely related setup here as we see Elmer’s predicament and watch him bury himself in spider lore and mythology while flooding his little beasts with love and affection. A larger creature is teased behind the walls, teased with no explanation, and things turn quite abruptly after one final confrontation with prisoners in cahoots with the Corrupt Guard. The ending is both built up and somewhat out of left field, but while it delivers the expected return for a choppy character, it doesn’t find the weight to go with it. We expect it, it happens, the end.

It’s fine, if disappointing performance wise, but it gives it some visual highlights in its final spider-related moments that end up stealing the show. Effects, as is usually the case with the series, are a mixture of practice and computer, but Harrison amplifies their effectiveness by making them emerge from the shadows to reveal their full glory. They’re nifty, but you’d be hard pressed to identify anything else in terms of the memorable items here. As “The Last Tsuburaya” layers its wonders and strong narrative rhythms, this second story winds somewhat until things get hairy.


While neither one nor the other Horror show This week’s segment is a home run, not an absolute loser either – which means thanks to “The Last Tsuburaya,” it’s the best of season three so far. We’re now halfway through the season, but hopefully the second half will offer at least one great segment, a memorable story, a reason to rejoice when season four is inevitably confirmed…

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Related subjects: Creepshow, Frisson

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is odd considering he’s so young. He’s our chief film critic and associate editor and cites “Broadcast News” as his all-time favorite. Don’t hesitate to say hello if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.



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