Another classic anthology film down! Should I just round out this year and do Trilogy of Terror…?
Tales from the Darkside: The Movie is made up of three segments with a wraparound. That’s about right for this kind of thing although four segments tends to be ideal. Unlike most anthology movies the segments in this one are all roughly the same, quality-wise. I suppose you can’t really afford to have any stinkers when you’ve only got the minimum number of stories (RIGHT, Creepshow 2?)
The wraparound story features Debbie Harry of all people, playing a modern witch getting ready to roast a little boy she’s got captive in her kitchen. To buy time, he starts reading her stories from a book called – you guessed it – Tales From the Darkside.
The first has Christian Slater, Steve Buscemi, and Julianne Moore in a tale of mummy-related betrayal and revenge. Why mummies always seem to be consumed with the desire for vengeance, I’ll never know. This was actually my favorite of the three, with nice practical effects and a great monster. Stacked cast of up and coming stars as well.
The second story is about an old, wheelchair-bound rich curmudgeon played by William Hickey (calling to mind Dr. Finkelstein in Nightmare Before Christmas) who hires a hitman to take out a cat. Yep, a killer cat. It’s obviously silly, but it has a most spectacular climax. Easily the second-best killer cat movie I’ve seen to date.
Finally, we have a bizarre tale about a starving artist who sees some kind of demonic gargoyle come to life and kill a man before his eyes. The demon/gargoyle cuts the artist a deal that he’ll help him with his woes as long as he vows to never reveal his existence to anybody. I think you can guess what happens next…
While Tales From the Darkside The Movie falls just short of Creepshow I do have to say I was impressed by it. It manages a consistent level of quality across all stories that’s rare in this format, and each segment has at least one great, memorable gore scene. This could become a Halloween season staple.