Don’t Lose Your Head to Catfishing: Creeping It Real in Creepshow S3E4

This episode of Creepshow is fire.

This article contains some spoilers, so if you haven’t already seen this episode…you’ve been warned. Shudder‘s Creepshow continues with two more tales of terror. Both stories have an undercurrent of the importance of trust. When you trust in someone or something, it can be a good thing. Trust the wrong person or the wrong information, and you can get hurt or worse. You really don’t know people’s motives or what is really inside their minds. Here are two tales about trust being violated.

“Stranger Sings”

“Stranger Sings” depicted catfishing, destructive vengeance, and a nice guy finishing first…eventually. It was directed by Axelle Carolyn and written by Jordana Arkin.

First of all, anyone who has dated as an adult after a marriage or partnership dissolves knows that it is a special kind of scary. Creepshow could develop an entire series about the horrors of dating as an adult in these modern times. If I had to try to date again, I would honestly rather live out the rest of my days as a cat lady, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

That person you may notice at a book store…are they an okay person? Are they a serial killer? What are you getting yourself into?  Adult dating is a wasteland that one reluctantly enters due to the curse of loneliness. But there are worse things than being lonely, as our friend Barry finds out.

A couple walking with coffee.
“You’re not a serial killer, right?”

Barry (Chris Mayers) is a divorced gynecologist. He’s timid, socially awkward, and he isn’t sure how to navigate the dating world. Barry has noticed Sara (Suehyla El-Attar) at the bookstore and ends up walking home with her.  Naturally, there is some banter about serial killers. You can’t go to a stranger’s house without that topic coming up. She mentions that her friend Miranda (Kadianne Whyte) has told her if she doesn’t get back out and start dating soon, she was going to snap from loneliness and start killing men for sport.

So, Are You a Serial Killer?

A man reacts in terror as he sees a body in the bathtub after he has come inside a stranger's house.
This isn’t what you want to see in your date’s bathroom.

In our society, women are socialized to be skeptical of men and be careful with strangers. It’s a safety issue. Men are not socialized the same way and don’t typically consider women a threat. But maybe they should. We’re ready to wonder if Barry is a serial killer, but the truth is grimmer than this.

We learn that Barry was catfished by Sara and Miranda. Miranda is an actual man-eating monster and wants to be a normal person. Sara is feeling vindictive toward men for rejecting her for so long and wants the powers of a siren so she can exact her revenge. She hurls insults at Barry, describing him as a pathetic loser and easy prey. Sara’s desire for vengeance ultimately ends up being her undoing while Miranda no longer wants to be a man-eater.

In true Creepshow form, Sara’s desire for revenge is her destruction, and Barry’s awkward innocence is rewarded. Being a good human is something we all should strive to be. Sometimes even the man-eating monsters would rather be good humans. But be careful of who you trust because they might not be worthy of it, and they might actually be a monster.

Next, we will explore a situation of plague and not being able to trust the news or even your family members. Sometimes not being able to read people can mean our deaths or worse.

“Meter Reader”

The logo for Department of Meter Readers. An atom with a Christian cross inside it.
“Meter Reader” blends theology and plague.

This episode of Creepshow kept on creeping with a story about an infectious disease and references to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. You know it’s going to be good. This episode was directed by Joe Lynch, written by John Esposito, and stars Jonathan Schaech, Abigail Dolan, Cynthia Evans, Boston Pierce, Samantha Worthen, Reagan Higgins, Matt Skollar, Omer Mughal, Hannah Aslesen, and John Crow.  The story depicts the struggles of a teenager fighting to keep her family safe. When she thinks her family has become infected, she has to make some difficult choices to fight the plague. She also wonders who she can trust.

“Meter Reader” had a graphic novel feel to it. The story comes at you with a dystopian post-apocalyptic tone. There are lots of orange hues in the panels. Incidentally, post-apocalyptic fiction authors are encouraged to use these tones on their book covers to convey a sense of dis-ease. It just works.

A Plague Is Underway…

There has been a plague, and theologians believed the gates of Hell have been opened.  There is a conflict between whether the plague is caused by germs or by demons. The Meter Readers are entrusted with the power to detect the possessed and infected by using a special wand. It glows in the presence of sickness when wielded by a chosen one. Our hero is immune to the plague and has this special gift, but he must still get tested regularly. The Meter Reader has the ability to fight evil. Religious themes are woven into the plague, just as they make their way into the real-life pandemic we are still facing.

A lamppost in an otherwise dark street.
This evokes the feel of The Exorcist.

Dalton (Jonathon Schaech) is a Meter Reader. He is first seen riding his motorcycle against a desolate orange sky to assist a family in need. Dalton is immune to the plague and has this special gift, but he must still get tested regularly. The Meter Reader has a God-given ability to fight evil. Religious themes are woven into this plague, just as they make their way into the real-life pandemic we are still facing. Eventually, the Meter Reader gets a face full of pea soup as he attempts to cast out a demon.

As bleak as the situation is, some comic relief is woven into the story. A garbage truck is seen riding around, calling to homes…

Scene from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" of a body collector announcing "Bring out your dead!"
Bring out your dead…I mean, Bring out your heads!

“Bring out yer heads! Bring out yer heads!”

I immediately thought of the Pythons and this classic bit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Python was lampooning the Bubonic Plague, and “Meter Reader” was injecting some levity into a horrific situation that we can certainly identify with after surviving our modern-day plague.

The story depicts Dalton’s family awaiting his return after his call to assist the other family. He has left strict instructions not to let him into the home and have him re-tested before letting him back in. As the deadline approaches, his wife Maria (Cynthia Evans) and son Michael (Boston Pierce) are optimistic he will return and the plague will pass. Life will return to normal soon.  Dalton’s teenage daughter, Theresa (Abigail Dolan), has been following the news online. She reminds them of the deadline and the infection rates from the other areas, and her outlook isn’t as bright. Is she being a difficult, moody, contrary teen or is she speaking the truth that her family doesn’t want to face?

Dalton does come home, and Maria and Michael are going to let him in, but Theresa threatens them and reminds her of Dalton’s orders. Dalton is ordered to the cellar. Teresa remembers him telling her to remember that the Devil is the master of lies and she is to trust no one…not even him.

We have been faced with difficult choices during our own pandemic…

…when dealing with friends, neighbors, associates, and family members. Have they been infected with COVID-19? We love grandma, but is it safe to see her for her 90th birthday? It could be her last one, but do we risk it? We want to be with them so badly, but are they infected? Are we infected but we just don’t know it yet? We have also been faced with lies and haven’t been sure who or what to believe.

The story ends with Theresa riding a motorcycle on a deserted road, taking on her father’s work. She had to make some impossible choices. Theresa needed to decide who she could trust and she maintained trust in what her father had told her. She wanted to trust the rest of her family but maintaining that trust would have been deadly. She made hard choices based on the information available to her, which is the best any of us can do.

So, whether you’re faced with a charming stranger in a bookstore, or wondering if your loved ones are demon-possessed or infected with plague, be careful where you place your trust. Tune in next week when Sean Parker takes us to the next destination on the Creepshow adventure. In the meantime, don’t get catfished, and don’t lose your head.

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Written by Sarah Sigfried

Sarah Sigfried hails from the rural mountains of Virginia. She has enjoyed horror movies and ghost stories since childhood. A mental health clinician by day, she spends her leisure time creating nightmares. She dabbles in makeup special effects and horrifies her friends and neighbors each Halloween. Sigfried is an emerging author and is an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association. She dominates pub trivia on horror-related topics and especially enjoys classic horror movies and 1980’s horror comedies. She lives with her spouse and their cat, Sam in a home originally built by a family of morticians.

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