This less-satisfying sequel to the 1982 George A. Romero
anthology presents a new trio of King stories, framed in a similar EC Comics-style format -- this time featuring some rather lackluster animated segments involving horror-host "The Creep", who introduces each chapter with pun-heavy gallows humor. The stories vary widely in quality: first there's "Old Chief Wood'nhead," involving a cigar-store Indian who quite literally guards the entrance to an old general store and comes to life to avenge the murders of the elderly couple (George Kennedy
and Dorothy Lamour
) who owned it. The middle segment, "The Raft," features a group of obnoxious teenagers stranded on a raft in the middle of a lake at the mercy of a murderous oil slick which looks like a bunch of plastic garbage bags stitched together. Both of these suffer in comparison to the closing segment, "The Hitchhiker," in which a bored, promiscuous socialite (Lois Chiles) mows down a hitchhiker who refuses to stay dead, returning again and again to torment her at every turn, rasping "Thanks for the ride, lady!" Despite its strengths -- a livelier pace, some creatively gory set pieces -- this is a much cheaper-looking effort than its predecessor, with the deft guidance of Romero conspicuously absent (long-time collaborator Michael Gornick
took up the directorial reins); as a result, King's gross-out sensibilities don't come off as well. Makeup maestro Tom Savini
appears in heavy makeup as a live-action version of The Creep, and King pops in for a bit part as a redneck trucker.