I love anthology films. What’s not to love? Three (sometimes 4) short stories all linked together by a narrator if you will that opens and ends the film. There awesome. I mean I love the old horror tv shows so these are a natural fit. Body Bags, Trick r Treat, Creepshow, so many good ones out there. Well my personal favorite has always been Tales From The Darkside The Movie. It says movie because Tales From The Darkside was a horror anthology show that ran from 1983 until 1989. The success of the show lead to the birth of the film in 1990. The film boast an all star cast to say the least. Christian Slater, James Remar, Rae Dawn Chong, Steve Buscemi, Debbi Harry, and more. The film itself is broken into three sperate tales of horror. The wrap around is Debbie Harry and Mathew Lawrence. Harry is a witch who has kidnaped a little boy named Timmy. She has him tied up and is getting ready to cook him for a dinner party she is throwing. He manages to stall her by reading her three stories from a fairy tale book she has entitled Tales From The Darkside.
The first tale is Lot 249 starring Christian Slater as Andy, and Steve Buscemi as Edward. They are college students in the beginning who live in the same dorm. Edward, in the beginning has received a crate entitled Lot 249. Its an actual mummy, complete with a scroll with a reanimation spell. Andy sister (played by Julian Moore) manages to frame Edward for cheating not only costing him his place in the university but assuring that her boyfriend, Andy’s brother will get the scholarship they were after. Edward doesn’t take kindly to that and proceeds to reanimate the mummy and use it to murder those who have wronged him. Brains pulled out of the head through the nose, body crushing, and amazing overacting (in a good way) from Slater make this one of the best horror tales on film.
The second tale little Timmy tells is The Cat From Hell. Willan Hickey gives an amazing performance as Drogan. An old wealthy man who is confined to a wheelchair. Turns out he used to live with his sister, her best friend, and his butler. His sister began caring for a cat that Drogan is convinced is not only evil but out for revenge, as the Pharmacy company Drogan owned used to experiment on cats. Killing over a thousand during testing. He appears to be correct as one by one all three of his friends are killed by the cat. His solution, hire a hitman (David Johansen) to kill the cat. You get a lot of great gore, and some amazing POV shots from the cat hunting Johansen. I enjoyed this story as well, finding it very comical in parts.
The final tale is Lovers Vow, which is not only the most popular, but to this day is one of the most beloved stories amongst horror fans. James Remar (Who steals the entire film) is Preston. He’s a down on his luck artist, broke and alone. None of his art is selling so he goes to wash his sorrows at the local bar. When he is leaving his friend is ripped to shreds and beheaded by a gargoyle. Preston runs but is caught by the monster who tells him it will spare his life as long as he never tells this story to anyone. It even says “Cross Your Heart” before scarring Preston’s chest and disappearing. As he is running away he bumps into a young woman named Carola (Rae Dawn Chong) who helps him back to her place, and even treats his gash from the monster, that he does not tell her about. They fall in love, his career takes off, they marry and even have kids. Everything is fantastic, that is until he decides to tell her about the gargoyle attack on their 10th anniversary. This truly is one of the best horror stories ever. Great acting, tone, special effects, and a twist ending from out of nowhere. Its easy to see why this is the most popular of the three.
I saw this movie in the theater on opening night and fell in love with it. TO me this is not only the best anthology film out there, but one of the greatest horror films out there as well. Everything is top notch. Acting, effects, score, you name it. Every story is not only crafter perfectly, but the order in which they appear only help but to keep the pacing going, never letting you rest for even a second. I have owned the DVD for years, but now the amazing folks at Scream Factory have released this in an amazing Blu-ray collectors set. And I must say this is the best its ever looked. The picture is amazing. Especially in Lovers Vow as the film is very dark yet never suffers from the evil blue tint, or even grain like many transfers do. Not only does this look and sound amazing but Scream Factory has loaded this up with special features.
· NEW Audio Commentary With Co-Producer David R. Kappes
· NEW Tales Behind The Darkside: The Making Of Four Ghoulish Fables – A Six-Chapter, Feature-Length Documentary Featuring Director John Harrison, Producer Mitchell Galin, Director Of Photography Robert Draper, Production Designer Ruth Ammon, Special Make-Up & Creature Effects Artists Robert Kurtzman, Greg Nicotero, And Howard Berger, Creature Performer Michael Deak, Actors James Remar And Rae Dawn Chong And Editor Harry B. Miller
· Audio Commentary With Director John Harrison And Co-Screenwriter George A. Romero
· Theatrical Trailer
· TV Spots
· Radio Spots
· Stills Gallery
· Behind-The-Scenes Gallery
· Behind-The-Scenes Footage Compilation
Top to bottom this is a great release and a must have for any horror or film collector. As I stated this, in my opinion is the best anthology film out there, and this transfer only makes it better. Pick this one up right away. If you have never seen it your in for a hell of a treat.
Overall 4.5 out of 5 Stars!