31 Days of Halloween – Day 5 – Tales from the Darkside

tales4I checked out Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990) after hearing so many good things from some of the horror fans and reviewers I know, but I learned for myself what a disappointment this movie is.  This movie is a collection of stories a lot like Creepshow, but the writing is hit or miss.  There are three stories, and the best of the three is probably the first one shown, which stars Christian Slater, Steve Buscemi, and Julianne Moore before they were all stars.  The other two stories are crap, and the second rips off a lesser known Universal horror film.

tales1Christian Slater as Andy faces off against a Mummy in the first story, which his scientist buddy brings back to life.  I’m not sure why.  They doze off as Dawn of the Dead plays on the television in the background, making for the most obvious and contrived parallel in movie history.  Just like any pissed-off dead guy, the Mummy takes revenge on Andy and his pals.  It murders his arrogant friend Lee and Andy’s sister, played by Julianne Moore.  Moore comes off as very slutty in this, and she’s terrible overall. Christian Slater chopping up the Mummy with a turkey-carver is the only  highlight, because it’s certainly not Moore. Steve Buscemi does alright in his role, but his lines are kinda cheesy.

tales5The second story in the anthology is a ripoff of the Universal film Shadow of the Cat (1961), which I’ve already reviewed on this blog because it was featured on the show, Svengoolie.  And because it’s crap.  A cat is out for revenge and kills people, by scaring them or making them fall down some stairs.  In Tales from the Darkside, the cat does more than trip people up and send them down a flight of stairs, though that’s copied from Shadow of the Cat too.  The only highlight in this stupid example of plagiarism is when the cat crawls into some guy’s mouth and burrows into his stomach.  Yeah, gross.  Is that even possible?

The third story is not a ripoff of Universal’s movies, though I would not be surprised to find out later that it was.  The make-up effects for this story are pretty good for an 80s horror movie, and the plot is framed like a twisted fairy tale.  It is written by Michael McDowell, the guy who wrote Beetlejuice, a spectacular movie.  This short tale doesn’t have any humor though, dark or otherwise.  How disappointing is that? Is seeing your girlfriend turn into a gargoyle and kill you supposed to be funny? Maybe I have no sense of humor. 

tales3Another surprise is seeing William Hickey in this movie.  If you’re a fan of anything, you’ll remember Hickey from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) as Uncle Lewis, who had his hairpiece set on fire.  He’s the evil guy in story number two who wants to kill The Cat (in caps) and hires a hitman to do it, which gets the obvious confused reaction from the confused hitman.  He’s even more confused as The Cat jumps him and kills him.

In all, this movie is disappointing.  It’s a copy of Creepshow and a copy of other stupid B-Movies.  I’m surprised Universal didn’t sue.  This movie has even less originality than a remake.  I think the only reason it has any notoriety is because it has a bunch of stars before they were stars.  Skip it.  There’s plenty of other stupid 80s movies out there to watch.  Why not watch Creepshow instead?  The movie that did this sort of thing first.  At least it has dark humor done right. 



31. Poltergeist (1982) vs Poltergeist (2015)
30. Blair Witch Project (1999)
29. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
28. The Wicker Man (1973) and The Wicker Man Remake
27. Tales from the Darkside, the Movie (1990) – This post
26. Saw (2004)
25. The Prophecy (1995)
24. The Hills have Eyes (1977)
23. House of the Long Shadows (1983)
22. Creepshow (1982)
21. Phantasm (1979)
20. The Omen (1976) vs Damien: The Omen II
19. We Are Still Here (2015)
18. The Guest (2010)
17. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
15. The House that Dripped Blood (1971)
14. Army of Darkness (1992)
13. In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
12. Friday the 13th Part III
11. Theater of Blood (1973)
10. House of Wax (1953) vs House of Wax (2005)
9. Hellraiser Inferno (2000)
8. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
7. The Changeling (1980)
6. The Eye (2002)
5. The Hitcher (1986)
4. Paranormal Activity (2007)
3. 28 Days Later (2003)
2. Suspiria (1977)
1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – This review will be published October 31st!