Tales from the Darkside: The Movie Reviews
First tale see's a man use a 3000 year old mummy to kill a few select people (an adaptation of a Arthur Conan Doyle short). Not a bad story and handled reasonably well with good makeup on the mummy and some bloody deaths dealt out. Big cast names in this story with Buscemi and Christian Slater and a nice ending make this tale the second best of the three.
Second tale is an adaptation of a Stephen King story and the weakest of the three, an old man is sure he is cursed by a cat which is trying to kill him after it supposedly killed his sister. The reason behind this being the old mans pharmaceutical company killed many thousands of cats in testing a new drug. Pretty lame story really which isn't particularly spooky in the slightest. The cat is obviously some sort of demon which is cool and this is shown in the way it kills the hitman who has been hired to get rid of the cat, I just think it could of been more scary or eerie basically.
Third and final tale stars James Remar and is about a guy who witnesses the death of a man by a gargoyle type creature. The creature lets the witness live if he promises not to tell anyone of what he saw. Easily the best story even though its not explained too well and leaves you asking various questions by the end. Some great makeup and effects in the finale as we see a transformation similar to finale in 'The Fly' with Jeff Goldblum, really nicely done without the use of CGI, no surprise with Dick Smith being involved.
Overall not as good as 'Twilight Zone: the Movie' and a bit more adult with its content, more blood 'n' gore on show and some creepy monsters lend itself to some light scares. Still two of the stories are solid and quite sinister which I'm sure fans will enjoy if you like these type of horror anthologies. The overall quality just doesn't quite match the Twilight Zone standard that raised the bar originally.
Andy (Christian Slater) & Lee (Robert Sedgwick) are university students & best friends. They discover another student named Edward Bellingham (Steve Buscemi) has won an auction for 'Lot 249' which happens to be an Egyptian sarcophagus with it's Mummy still inside. Edward finds an ancient scroll stuffed inside the Mummy which when recited is able to bring the Mummy back to life...
Betty liked 'Lot 247' so lets Timmy tell another one, this time called 'Cat from Hell'...
A hit-man named Halsten (David Johansen) arrives at the large mansion owned by the billionaire owner of a pharmaceuticals company named Drogan (William Hickey) who offers to pay Halsten $100,000 to kill a mysterious black cat which he believes has been sent to kill him. Drogan thinks the cat has already killed three people & thinks he is next. Halsten thinks Drogan is crazy but accepts nevertheless, however he soon discovers that killing this particular cat isn't as easy as it first would appear...
Betty also liked 'Cat from Hell' & says that Timmy can tell one more story, Timmy chooses 'Lover's Vow'...
Preston (James Remar) is a failed New York artist whose apartment is overlooked by a stone Gargoyle. One night after he is told by his agent Wyatt (Robert Klein) that he is being dumped Preston gets so drunk the bartender Jer (Ashton Wise) has to take him home. While walking down some back alleyway Jer is decapitated by a large creature with wings & sharp claws, the creature goes up to Preston & says that it will spare his life if he never tells anyone about it. Not having much choice Preston agrees & the creature disappears in the New York night. Shortly after this unnerving encounter Preston meets & falls in love with a woman named Carola (Rae Dawn Chong) whom after being together for 10 years have two children, Margaret (Nicole Leach) & John (Daniel Harrison) but Preston is finding it harder to keep his secret but surely after all this time it wouldn't matter if he told his wife, would it...?
Betty now decides enough is enough, there will be no more stories & it's time for Timmy to become dinner...
Directed by John Harrison who also composed the score for the 'Lover's Vow' Segment, I thought Tales from the Darkside: The Movie was a good horror anthology that isn't the best this sub-genre has to offer but it is by no means the worst either. I like anthology films & I look for quick fast paced stories with a nice twist at they're end. Unfortunately Tales from the Darkside: The Movie didn't quite manage to surprise me with two of it's twists which were actually pretty obvious while the story that has the strongest ending is the slowest to sit through. 'Lot 247' was written by Micheal McDowell based on a story by Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & is a good opening story featuring the familiar faces of Christian Slater, Steve Buscemi & Julianne Moore but I found the ending of this segment weak & predictable which spoilt what had gone on before. The second story 'Cat from Hell' written by George A. Romero based on a short story by Stephen King (his name just had to be here somewhere didn't it?) is the weakest of the three stories but is the most stylishly filmed with some cool fades & transitions between shots, blue tinted flashbacks & the spacious, spooky darkly lit mansion provides some real atmosphere which is wasted on this segment as it's ending didn't do anything for me as it turned out exactly as I expected with the cat appearing to succeed in it's quest for revenge. The third story written by Micheal McDowall is generally considered the best & for good reason, although it's slower than the previous two it has impact & a good ending twist which I didn't actually see coming. I'm not saying the other two stories are bad, far from it but I was maybe hoping for a few more surprises. I won't bother commenting on the wraparound story as I found it very poor. The film as whole moves along nicely & since each story only runs 20 odd minutes none of them outstay their welcome. It's well made throughout with nice production values especially during the 'Cat from Hell' segment which looks very nice. The acting is good too with some familiar faces. One thing Tales from the Darkside: The Movie does have going for it are some wonderful special make-up effects by K.N.B effects with Dick Smith credited as a consultant. Each story seems to have it's own little special effects showpiece, 'Lot 249' has the Mummy being chopped up with an electric carving knife, 'Cat from Hell' has a cat bloodily enter someones body through their mouth & then exit the same way & 'Lover's Vow' has the excellent & totally cool looking Gargoyle transformation & just about any shot that it's in really. It's a little light on the actual blood & gore front though, we do get a gorily realistic cool looking severed hand & decapitation. Overall I liked Tales from the Darkside: The Movie but I can't help but feel the endings of both 'Lot 247' & 'Cat from Hell' let those segments down somewhat. Still the film as a whole is a great watch & is good all round entertainment.
Make sure to check this one out (:
First up is story called "Lot 249" starring Christian Slater and Steve Buscemi. It's an old mummy story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It's got all of the shadows and light in all the right places and looks good. When Slater flips the insanity switch, things actually get entertaining. It's not a very strong adaptation, but it's not bad, either.
Next it's "Cat From Hell", a Stephen King penned, George A Romero adapted story of a cat whose killed all but one of the inhabitants of a rich CEO's mansion. That one survivor is the actual CEO, who hires David Johansen to kill the cat. Johansen attempts to kill it with all of his hitman related tools of the trade. It's annoyingly silly and Johansen is such a charicature that the whole story never materializes. The best part about this is Johansen gets it in a disgusting one-on-one with the evil cat. It's gross and it's the only thing that makes the story worth watching. But it's still more funny than frightening.
Finally, "Lover's Vow" completes the trilogy and is the best story of the lot because it had a surprise ending twist. I'm not ruining anything by mentioning that this entry has a great looking gargoyle, too.
Recommending "Tales From the Darkside" isn't easy but if you like the TV series, you'll be just fine sitting down to watch this.