Greg Nicotero talks ‘Creepshow’ season 3, ‘The Walking Dead’ differences, directing episodes

Noah Levine, Life and Arts Film Columnist

Shudder’s “Creepshow” returns for a third season of terrifying tales. Based on the classic 1982 horror film of the same name, the anthology series presents two twisted stories per episode, involving everything from murderous plants to human-bee monster hybrids. The Texan spoke with showrunner Greg Nicotero (executive producer of “The Walking Dead”) about his work on the third season of the chilling series. 

The Daily Texan: As the showrunner, how do you decide which episodes of the series to direct?

Greg Nicotero: We get a lot of submissions (for new episodes), outlines and scripts. Just because of my background, when I read the stories I visualize everything in my head instantly. There were three episodes that I immediately read and was like, “I wanna direct this.” It was “Model Kid,” “Public Television of the Dead,” “Night of the Living Late Show.” Those three, they sang to me … It’s got to be stuff that has some weird personal connection to me … I consider myself really lucky to play in this sandbox that I get to play in. George Romero would talk about the zombie genre in his work and he would talk about being the only kid in the sandbox. And I really loved the idea that he equated his work to a kid playing in a sandbox. 

DT: Do the wild creature character designs come before scripts are written, with the story spawning from the idea or vice versa? 

GN: They usually come after we have at least just an outline … For the most part, we do the outlines or the scripts first and it comes from there …The team at KNB really loves working on “Creepshow” because every episode there’s a different monster. It’s a 12-foot werewolf or it’s the big queen bee. The fun thing about that particular transformation, which was of course my ode to John Carpenter, (was that the) whole queen bee transformation was miniature; it was a third-scale model. The only element that we had that was full scale was her head. 

DT: What’s the biggest difference between working on “Creepshow” and “The Walking Dead?” 

GN: The biggest challenge on “Creepshow” is we have a new cast (each episode). We are creating a new world. With “The Walking Dead,” we have our established communities. We have the Hilltop. We have Alexandria. You have the cast that comes in and they know their characters and they know the story. To do 16 episodes and tell one story arc is a very different exercise then to bring an entirely new cast, a new director, new script and new set every three and a half days … I remember Joe Alves, who was the production designer on “Jaws,” telling me that they would build standing sets on “Night Gallery” and as soon as one episode was finished, they would just redress the sets for a different episode.