How Greg Nicotero shot 2 full seasons of Creepshow during the pandemic
Real-life terrors appeared to best the fictional variety last March when the pandemic caused work on season 2 of Shudder's horror anthology series Creepshow to stop after just one day of shooting. "We had prepped the first two episodes, and we had actually shot on one day, and that was it," says Creepshow executive producer Greg Nicotero. "We closed the stages, we sent everybody home. We just thought it was going to be a couple of weeks."
That turned out not to be the case and those "couple of weeks" turned into months. But Nicotero was not prepared to give up on shooting season 2 of the show, which is inspired by the George Romero-directed, Stephen King-written 1982 horror movie, and by the summer of 2020 the EP was once again preparing to go into production on the Atlanta-shot series. "We started to gear back up again in July," he says. "Everybody was taking a big leap of faith. Nobody had established the way production was going to work. Everybody had protocols, but nobody had done it yet — we were one of the first people to do it. We had a very safe set, and the protocols worked, and it was very successful in keeping the crew safe and still turning out a really good TV show."
Season 2 of Creepshow premieres on Shudder April 1 with two Nicotero-directed tales of terror — the Kevin Dillon-starring "Model Kid" — about a boy who is obsessed with model toys from scary movies — and "Public Television of the Dead," whose cast includes Ted Raimi.
"Season 1 was all about me paying respect to the legacy of Stephen King and George Romero," says Nicotero. "Season 2, I really worked on developing stories that were personal to me. 'Model Kid' is a very personal story, because it has a lot of elements of my childhood, of me growing up loving monsters and sort of retreating into this fantasy world of model kits and magazines and watching Super 8 movies on the wall. John Esposito, who wrote that episode, had that same experience. That was in the day where people would judge you and look at you differently for being a monster kid, being a nerd. I was really proud to direct that episode and to tell that story."
"Public Television of the Dead," meanwhile, finds the EP and special effects artist paying tribute to Raimi's director brother Sam, with whom Nicotero worked on 1987's Evil Dead 2 and 1992's Army of Darkness. "'Public Television of the Dead' is very much a love letter to Sam Raimi," says Nicotero. "I wanted to say thanks for creating this cool universe of possessed people. The episode really is about showing how much I love what Sam has done and how grateful I am."
The line-up of season 2 talent also includes directors Axelle Carolyn (The Haunting of Bly Manor) and Joe Lynch (Mayhem), writers Michael Rousselet and Erik Sandoval from the 5-Second Films comedy troupe, and familiar horror faces Ali Larter (Final Destination), C. Thomas Howell (The Hitcher), Justin Long (Drag Me to Hell), Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator), and Ashley Laurence. "Ashley and I have been friends for probably 15 years," Nicotero says of the actress, who is famous for battling Cenobites in the Hellraiser franchise. "When we got into season 2, Ashley was one of the first people that we reached out to. The nice thing was Barbara Crampton came in right after Ashley left. We have an absolutely magnificent cast."
In February, it was announced that Shudder had renewed Creepshow for a third season and the EP reveals that this new run of shows has already been shot. "Through the course of the pandemic, I was developing scripts, I was writing material, and by the time we went into production we had an entire slate of scripts in the hopper ready to go," says Nicotero, who is also an executive producer on The Walking Dead. "That gave us the opportunity to shoot two seasons' worth of material within a six-month period, which is pretty insane. Right now, I'm in post-production on season 3, and finishing mixing on season 2, and prepping to direct on the Walking Dead, all at the same time."
Watch the trailer for season 2 of Creepshow above.