Februrary 22, 2013
From the Darkside: The Movie
Debbie Harry, Matthew
Lawrence, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, and Christian Slater
Horror anthologies were big in the 1980's.
you have never seen one of them before, a horror anthology is basically
where the director had a bunch of good creepy short stories that he
wanted to make into a film, but none of them were long enough or had
enough substance to stretch into a 90 minute movie.
way to get around that was to create an anthology. All you
do was take a bunch of creepy short stories, show them back to
back to back in a movie, and have some sort of a "wraparound" story at
the beginning and the end that tied them all together. And
there you have it. A 1980's horror anthology.
The most famous horror anthology from the 80's was probably
there was one horror anthology that came out right at the end of the
80's (technically it came out in 1990) that has always held a special
place in my heart. And the reason for that is because it was
first horror movie I ever saw in a theater. Plus, as horror
movies go, it is actually pretty good.
But the problem is that it is virtually unheard of today. And
I wanted to give it some love.
That long forgotten horror anthology, of course, is the Tales From the
Hi I'm Buddy I'll be your waiter
From The Darkside was a TV show in the 1980's that, for all intents and
purpose, was basically just a ripoff of the Twilight Zone. It
a weekly show where bad and scary things happened to bad people.
And there was usually some sort of a twist involved.
don't remember ever seeing the actual show myself, but from what I have
read it sounds like it sucked pretty hard. In fact, it made
little of an impact on me I honestly don't even remember how long it
was around. It was just one of those shows that was on TV
night for a couple of years and my parents wouldn't let me watch.
And then it just sort of disappeared. I am guessing
never saw a single episode of it.
in 1990 all of a sudden a new horror movie came out in theaters.
It was called "Tales From the Darkside: The Movie."
had nothing to do with the TV show, other than the fact that it shared
the same name and that Debbie Harry (from Blondie) was in the movie,
and she had also been in a couple of the episodes. But
the movie and the TV show really had nothing to do with one another.
The movie was just some random anonymous horror anthology
was supposed to be in the same style as Creepshow. It was
short horror stories that were all tied together with a wraparound.
I said, I was only 15 years old when this movie came out. I
never actually seen an R rated horror movie in the theater before.
But in April of 1990 my school's marching band (including me
course) went on a three day trip to Victoria, British Columbia to play
in a festival. And on the first night of the trip my friend
Brian and I were bored in Victoria all alone with nothing to do.
So Brian suggested that we go down to the local theater and
the new Tales From the Darkside Movie.
"But it's rated R," I said. "And we're only 15.
They won't let us in."
we're in a Canada now," Brian reminded me. "In Canada they
care. Watch, they will just let us walk right in."
And that is how I saw my very first horror movie in a movie theater.
are four short stories in Tales from the Darkside, all of which have
varying degrees of effectiveness. Although one of them (the
one) is pretty awesome. In fact that last story (Lover's Vow)
so good that it is the main reason I am writing this entry.
other three stories, well they are okay. I mean, the
story starring Debbie Gibson is pretty forgettable. Well,
not forgettable if you remember Joey Lawrence from Blossom.
Because the wraparound story involves Debbie Gibson
to cook Joey's little brother Matthew Lawrence as a pot roast.
don't think I have ever seen anyone say anything even remotely
interesting about the wraparound story. Debbie Gibson is a
cannibal, and she is trying to pop Matthew Lawrence into the oven and
serve him for dinner. That's about it.
Oh, and to stall his fate in the oven, he distracts her by reading her
some stories out of a Tales From the Darkside book.
The three stories he reads make up the rest of the movie.
The most delicious Lawrence brother
Trying to remember if you cook a Lawrence at 350 or 375
first story that little Pot Roast Lawrence reads out of the book is
called "Lot 249." It is the story of three college students,
mummy, and revenge. It is a fun little story,
although it is
awfully gory. Let me put it this way, it wasn't until I saw
249 that I understood how ancient embalmers removed a mummy's brain
from his skull cavity. Suffice it to say that it involves
nostril and a really long hook.
The mummy featured in Lot 249
249 isn't really anything special. It is just a fun little
revenge tale that is exactly like something you would have seen in
Creepshow. However, if you go back and you watch it NOW, it
much more interesting than it ever was in 1990. And the
for that is because Lot 249 features three young actors who would later
appear in some much bigger movies.
It features a young Christian Slater
And a VERY young Julianne Moore
And my favorite, a particularly odd looking Steve Buscemi
when people think of Lot 249 (if they think of it at all),
people generally remember it as the mummy story. And then
remember, "Hey and wasn't Steve Buscemi in that?" And then
generally remember, "Hey, and wasn't Steve Buscemi ugly and funny
looking in that, even by Steve Buscemi standards?"
And the answer to that is yes. Yes he was.
Even as a young actor that nobody had ever heard of before, Steve
Buscemi was particularly funny looking.
Funnier than most people even
anyway, that is Lot 249. It's nothing great, but some people
it, some people don't like it. Again, if you are familiar
horror anthologies you know what to expect. Expect a lot of
attacks and dark humor embalming jokes.
Donnie you're out of your element
second story in the movie, though. Well this one is
The second story is called "Cat From Hell" and it was written
And, well, it is about a Cat From Hell.
That is about the best way to describe it.
In Soviet Russia, pussy fucks you
From Hell is about a particularly nasty little black cat who has a
habit of killing people. And a hitman who has been hired to
It is a silly story, and it doesn't make any
sense. But almost anyone who has ever watched Tales From the
Darkside remembers it. In particular, they remember the
Cat From Hell has an ending that you will never forget.
David Johansen as the hitman who has been hired to kill the cat
I said, Cat From Hell is a Stephen King short story, so if you are a
fan of Stephen King at all you should probably see it. Just
because, well, because. Because it is a quirky one.
again, because of that really... uh... interesting ending.
This fight is hot hot hot
and then we come to the third story. The final story.
masterpiece. The story that is so good that it
should have been made into its own standalone movie.
if Lover's Vow had been a standalone movie, it would
considered one of the best horror movies of the 90's. It
probably be a movie that people would be putting on a pedestal.
Vow is the story of a man (Preston) who witnesses a strange murder.
He is just walking down the street one night, minding his own
business, drunk and blitzed out of his skull, when he sees a gargoyle
come down from the sky and rip a man to shreds in the back of an alley.
gargoyle turns and it sees that Preston has witnessed the killing.
And it says it will only let him live under one condition.
gargoyle tells Preston, go home right now and tell nobody what you have
seen here. Do not tell anybody EVER what you have seen here.
If you can go your entire life without ever telling what you
seen, I will allow you to live.
Tell anyone, even fifty years from now, and I am going to come back.
So Preston keeps his word and he tells no one. He keeps the
Years pass. More years pass. Preston leads a
perfectly normal life.
Then, one day, he meets the love of his life.
And he drops his guard. He falls in love. He starts
to get comfortable.
And he debates if it is okay to tell her...
Preston with his new fiancee, Carola
Vow is one of those stories that I saw in 1990 and it has always stuck
with me. I don't know why, there is just something about the
that the story was told and the way it was written that has always
lodged itself in my brain. And what is funny is that I
was the only one. I thought that I was the only one who
Tales from the Darkside in 1990 and thought that Lover's Vow was
Well I was reading through some reviews of obscure
horror movies in preparation for this list, and sure enough, what do
you think I found? I found pages of reviews talking about
Tales From the Darkside Movie. And nearly all of them said
exact same thing.
They all said "the wraparound story was
meh, Steve Buscemi was creepy in Lot 249, WTF was the Cat From Hell.
And OH MY GOD do you remember Lover's Vow? Why the
don't more people remember that last story? Lover's Vow was
so there you have it. The first horror movie I ever saw in a
theater, featuring two pretty good stories, a psycho cat versus a
hitman, Debbie Harry in one of her rare acting roles, and then ending
with one of the best short stories that has ever been in any horror
anthology movie ever. Seriously, I would say that Lover's Vow
better than anything that was ever in any of the Creepshow movies.
do feel a little guilt recommending this one, because Tales From the
Darkside is much gorier than most horror movies I would ever recommend
to you, but most of the gore in this movie isn't really that bad.
I mean, it is nowhere near as gross as Seven or Silence of
Lambs. A lot of the stuff in this movie (particularly the cat
sequence) is more blackly funny than it is disturbing.
You will know exactly what I am talking about if you have seen it.
Has cat issues
From the Darkside isn't one of the best horror movies ever made, but it
is a fun way to spend an evening, and it is a movie that has been
virtually unheard of since about 1994. It won't freak you
and it won't gross you out. And really, if you are looking
light fun interesting horror movie, you could do a lot worse.
Although you really need to see it at least once, if only
for Lover's Vow.
Oh, and be sure to keep all your promises to gargoyles. That
is really just good advice for anyone.
favorite IMDB user reviews about Tales from the Darkside:
A Fine Horror Anthology -
12 February 2013
fact that two of the stories in this fine thriller are based on works
by Stephen King and Arthur Conan Doyle promises good things for the
viewer. Tales From the Darkside not disappoint; it is a far better than
average horror anthology. Typical of 1980's horror movies, it is an
entertaining combination of humor and thrills.
The segment that
frames the other three segments is about a witch who wants to serve up
a little boy as a meal. The boy distracts the woman by telling her
stories from a book with the same title as the movie. The woman, Betty,
is played very well by Debbie Harry in her prime. Her almost cold,
flawless beauty is perfect for the part. It's a shame that Harry did
not capitalize on her physical beauty and apparent acting ability to
appear in more movies back in the day.
The first standalone
story is Lot 249 by Arthur Conan Doyle. It's about an ambitious young
museum curator who purchases an Egyptian mummy's casket. Steve Buscemi
brings the right amount of creepiness to the role. Christian Slater and
Julianne Moore are also featured in the story. It's entertaining to
watch a critically acclaimed actress such as Moore play the hot young
coed. This must be one of her first film roles. Despite her
attractiveness, it is very clear from watching that she's more than
just a pretty face.
The second story, called Cat from Hell,
belongs to Stephen King. It is the simplest of the three. A wealthy
pharmaceutical company president hires a hit-man, amusingly played by
rock singer David Johanssen, to dispose of his cat. The cat has other
plans. If viewers are looking for blood and guts, this is the story.
last story, Lovers Vow, is the most emotionally involving of the three
stories. It is, after all, a love story of sorts. It is also the best
developed of all the segments. A struggling artist (James Remar)
witnesses a murder, but is compelled to keep quiet about it.
A good cast, along with
well-done makeup and effects, make this a fine anthology.
- 3 February 2010
Christ, I love horror anthology movies.
about the format just really, really works. The short running time of
each tale seems to focus the mind of the writer, compelling them to
shed unwanted fat and hone efficiently chilling tales of gore and
ghouls more regularly than their full length movie counterparts.
Three tales, here, with an additional throwaway 'wraparound' tale to
bind them all together:
Debbie 'Blondie' Harry plays a witch who intends to cook a child in a
large oven, and makes the necessary preparations, lining a large baking
tray with aluminium foil and setting the gas mark to 'human flesh.'
Well, the kid is no idle dimwit, and sets about delaying his death by
telling her creepy stories from a large tome.
Tale 1: Steve
Buscemi reanimates a 3000 year old Mummy. A veritable array of stars
here, as Christian Slater, the aforementioned Buscemi and Julianne
Moore all get to creep it up with a long deceased Egyptian. Pretty
spooky, pretty funny, in the blackest sense of the word, this is a good
Tale 2: A wealthy old man hires a hit-man to kill a
cat. Written by Romero and based on a Stephen King short story, expect
plenty of darkness, and it's delivered in spades, the standout moment
being a cat forcing itself down a grown mans throat.
An evil gargoyle spares a mans life, on the condition that he never
speak of the incident. Easier said than done. Another good tale, and a
solid closer to the anthology.
With gore, genuine scares and solid script writing, this is a cut above
most horror, and is recommended to all.
Brilliant - 31
is an excellent entertaining movie. The wraparound story is about a
woman who is going to eat a boy. So this boy tells her three stories to
delay the purpose of the lady. Lot 249 updated from an Arthur Conan
Doyle story is really funny. Watching Steve Buscemi, Christian Slater,
Juliane Moore and others in the story about a mummy covering life.
second story (Cat's from hell), written by George A. Romero from a
Stephen's King story, has some frightening moments when you look at the
eyes of the black cat who was the object of murder. A millionaire hires
a hit man to do the job. But the best comes towards the end with
"Lovers Vow" where an artist deals with a very terrifying creature in
order to save his life. He is awarded with a beautiful wife if he does
not tell a word that this devil exist. Amusing. I shouted a lot.
Really, gave me the creeps. And the conclusion is great. 10/10.
Very entertaining Horror
Anthology - 12 December 2005
director John Harrison's adaptation from the 80s TV series, four horror
stories are told (one of them as a wraparound story) with different
results, although the movie leaves the audience with a feeling of pure
The wraparound story stars ex-Blondie
singer Deborah Harry as Betty, the typical next door woman, the only
difference is that she hides her cannibalistic habits a a secret.
Matthew Lawrence is Timmy, a kid who was kidnapped by Betty in order to
be her dinner tonight. Timmy begins to tell her stories from the "Tales
from the Darkside" book in order to gain time while he plans his
escape. The stories Timmy tells are the other three stories in the
First one, "Lot 249", stars Steve Buscemi as Bellingham,
a misfit in a yuppie university. Bullied by Andy (Christian Slater),
Lee (Robert Sedgwick) and Susan (Julianne Moore), he works as assistant
in the Museum. When he receives Lot 249, troubles will begin as he
revives an ancient mummy to do his will.
Second one stars
William Hickey and David Johansen in a tale of a devilish cat that
seems to haunt Hickey's character. Johansen plays a professional
assassin hired to kill the feline.
In last one, writer Michael
McDowell develops a love story loosely based on a Japanese tale. James
Remar stars as Preston, a failed artist who is having the worst day of
his life, as he watches his best friend being brutally killed by a
mysterious beast who makes him promise that he won't tell anyone about
it; everything looks worse until he meets Carola (Rae Dawn Chong), and
his life changes for good. What would happen if he reveal the secret of
The four stories have very good performances,
particularly those of Buscemi and Hickey. The downside is that while
the three main stories present a very adult horror style with very gory
scenes, brief nudity and foul language, the wraparound story looks tame
and more similar to kid's horror like "Goosebumps". That doesn't mean
that it's a bad tale, is just that it seems out of place in the film,
but still the movie is good enough to keep the attention of the viewer.
good movie that is almost forgotten today. The very good acting and
the good SFX (although outdated for today's standards) create a very
rewarding movie that surely will give entertainment.
Terrifying if watched
alone late at night - 9 May 2001
of the top horror-story anthology movies out there (albeit that isn't
saying much). Will scare the pants off you if watched late at night by
your lonesome. Stories are cleverly placed from least terrifying first
to most terrifying at the end. Acting leaves much to be desired,
however, with the first story containing the most watchable cast (Steve
Buscemi, Christian Slater). Wraparound story is cliched and
predictable, but it doesn't really matter.
First story is one of
the more interesting mummy tales out there, with Buscemi playing an
outsider in a yuppie university who discovers "Lot 249." Lot turns out
to be ancient preserved mummy who, of course, wrecks havoc. Twists at
the end are good but not exceptional in any way.
Second story is
a fantastical tale regarding a vicious cat that never seems to go away.
Old man hires hitman to kill cat. Tale is entertaining and unnerving
but altogether ridiculous as well. Only for fans of horror, really.
story is gem of anthology. Concerns a young man who witnesses a
gargoyle savagely kill a man in a dark alley. Man makes vow to never
speak of gargoyle to anyone in exchange for his life. Romantic tale
ends in shock and horror. Likely to give nightmares.
this movie is laughable and boring in daytime but can be terrifying at
night. Personally I have a tough time choosing favorite tale; each one
brings something different to the table. Horror buffs be sure to check
this one out if you haven't already.
Quite good actually - 12
saw this yesterday and I was quite surprised by the quality of this.
Compared to today's CGI standards the effects used hold up quite good,
refreshing to see something different for a change. I've never had the
chance to see the original TV series so I expected something in the
likes of Twilight Zone, but this one here is of course a lot more gory.
stories are original, except for "Lover's Vow" which seems to be more
than just inspired by the tale "The Woman in the Snow" from Japan's
1964 movie "Kaidan". Of course the scenery is different, yet the
concept is strikingly similar. It's a good adaption nontheless.
favorite trivia about Tales from the Darkside:
* The second story, titled "The Cat From Hell" (written by Stephen King
and adapted for the screen by George A. Romero) was originally intended
for Creepshow 2. The story was later dropped due to budgetary reasons.
"Tales from the Darkside: The Movie" is considered by many fans and Tom
Savini himself to be the 'official' "Creepshow 3". Following the
success of Stephen King and George A. Romero's Creepshow, Laurel
Entertainment (Creepshow & Creepshow 2's production company)
with the idea of a Creepshow television series. After several
negotiations and changes (due to rights holders etc.), the decision was
made to change the title for the series to "Tales from the Darkside"
(to be helmed by none other than Creepshow director and Creepshow 2
screenwriter, George A. Romero). After the series' great success, just
roughly three short years after Creepshow 2 hit theatres, Tales from
the Darkside: The Movie came to fruition in 1990 as the successor to
the original two Creepshow installments, sharing many of the same crew
as the Creepshow installments.
favorite scene in Tales from the Darkside:
The ending of Lover's Vow is great. I haven't seen this movie
in years but I have always remembered that.
the Darkside: The Movie
at the IMDB
from the Darkside: The Movie
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