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  • Writer's pictureAllan Major

Tales From The Darkside 1990 Reviewed

Featured Image For Tales From The Darkside 1990 Reviewed.  Poster for 'Tales from the Darkside: The Movie,' featuring a skeletal hand holding a book against a backdrop of dark clouds.
With each page turned, 'Tales from the Darkside' unearths nightmarish fables that twist your reality and drag you into the inky depths of the dark side.

In the midnight hour, when shadows stretch long across the walls and the wind whispers secrets through cracked windows, there are tales that coil in the darkness, ready to strike. "Tales from the Darkside: The Movie" is one such tapestry of terror, woven in 1990 – a grotesque bouquet of the macabre that dared to chill even the most jaded horror fan.

Key Takeaways From Watching This Movie

  • The Appeal of Horror Anthologies: The film demonstrates how a well-made anthology can offer a satisfyingly diverse dose of scares in a single package. Each segment has its own unique flavor of horror, from revenge-driven curses to demonic cats and monstrous pacts.

  • The Unsettling Power of the Ordinary: The film emphasizes that horror can lurk beneath the surface of normalcy. College dorms, luxury apartments, and even artist studios can conceal gruesome secrets and monstrous entities.

  • The Price of Betrayal and Greed: Several stories revolve around characters seeking personal gain through unethical and immoral means. They discover that consequences come at a terrible price, often far worse than they could have imagined.

  • The Blurred Lines Between Good and Evil: While some characters are clearly villainous, others fall into morally ambiguous gray areas. Witnessing their struggles and eventual fates highlights the complexities of human nature and the temptations of darkness.

  • The Importance of Keeping Promises: In "Lover's Vow," a crucial theme is the horrifying fate that befalls those who break a solemn vow. The tale serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of betraying a trust.

  • Practical Effects Have Lasting Charm: Even with dated elements, the film's practical makeup and creature effects retain a unique, visceral impact that can sometimes be lacking in modern CGI-dominated horror. The gargoyle and the mummy in particular stand out.

  • The Talent Behind the Camera: John Harrison's direction adds a stylish touch to the macabre proceedings, and the screenplay – influenced by George A. Romero and Stephen King – showcases the potential of collaborative storytelling within the horror genre.

A woman stares at the TV with wide eyes, her body tense with fear while watching the horror anthology "Tales From the Darkside.
The line between the TV screen and reality felt dangerously thin.

Let the flickering light of this review guide you, dear reader, through the twisted labyrinth of this film. For in this anthology, the ordinary bleeds into the monstrous. Here, echoes of the iconic "Creepshow" reverberate, yet "Tales From the Darkside" carves its own niche in the annals of celluloid nightmares. Like some unholy tome unearthed from a forgotten tomb, it dares to unleash three stories bound together by a wraparound narrative that shivers with unnerving unease.

In the first segment, a young boy tells his captive the price of vengeance and betrayal. A vengeful college student, Bellingham (played by a young Steve Buscemi), seeks supernatural retribution against those who wronged him. He channels the power of an ancient Egyptian mummy, unleashing a curse with gruesome consequences. Buscemi, even then, exudes an aura of unsettling peculiarity that hints at his future stardom.

And who among us can forget the sinister elegance of "Cat from Hell"? This tale pits the rich against a seemingly immortal cat with an insatiable hunger for human souls. Hit man Halston (David Johansen) finds an unusual contract – $100,000 to eliminate a seemingly harmless feline. The ensuing showdown is a dance of blood and darkly comedic chills, punctuated by the unforgettable performance of the late William Hickey.

Finally, "Lover's Vow" unfurls as a haunting fable of promises broken and the monstrous price of silence. Struggling artist Preston (James Remar) witnesses a nightmarish murder at the hands of a demonic gargoyle. To secure his fortune and fame, he strikes a hellish bargain, swearing never to tell anyone what he saw. But as the whispers of his own conscience begin to gnaw, the consequences of his vow come to bear in a chilling crescendo. It's a tale of stark, unsettling horror, enhanced by the visual power of the gargoyle – a grotesque figure that lingers in the mind like a half-forgotten nightmare.

A man watches "Tales From the Darkside," his expression mirroring the terror on the screen.
He couldn't shake the feeling that one of those monsters was lurking just beyond the edge of his vision.

More Reviews Of This Classic Anthology Can Be Found On Rotten Tomatoes 

Director John Harrison helms these tales, his style infused with the sensibility of a seasoned horror aficionado. The film echoes the pulp sensibility of its television predecessor, the series "Tales from the Darkside", but with a heightened level of gore and unsettling atmosphere. While none of the three stories will reinvent the wheel, they are executed with a macabre flair that satisfies the cravings of a seasoned horror fanatic.

The movie is a testament to the enduring power of the horror anthology format – each segment a self-contained nightmare. Much like Masaki Kobayashi’s Japanese ghost story anthology 'Kwaidan', the film offers a variety of terrors to savor. While some might find the tone a bit uneven, like a rollercoaster with thrilling highs and jarring dips, as a whole, "Tales from the Darkside: The Movie" manages to entertain.

Is it a true classic of the genre? Perhaps not. But like a faded photograph unearthed in a dusty attic, it holds a strange, unsettling charm. If you are a fan of "Creepshow" and its ilk, or just craving a blast of old-school, pulpy horror, then "Tales from the Darkside: The Movie" is a worthy addition to your watchlist.

As the final credits roll and the last tendrils of fear dissipate, one thing remains clear: sometimes, the most terrifying tales are those lurking just beyond the edge of the known, in the shadows where reason falters, and the monstrous thrives. And "Tales from the Darkside: The Movie" offers a fleeting glimpse into that twisted realm, a stark reminder that the darkness holds stories both gruesome and strangely compelling.

And that is Tales From The Darkside 1990 Reviewed. Another classic horror that paved the way for modern anthologies. 

Stay tuned for more horror movie reviews

If You Liked Tales From The Darkside You Might Also Like These Films

  • Creepshow (1982): The granddaddy of horror anthologies. This classic film features five horror comic-inspired tales written by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero. Expect a darkly humorous tone, over-the-top gore, and memorable segments that pay homage to classic EC Comics.

  • Creepshow 2 (1987): A sequel to the original, offering three more twisted stories from the twisted imaginations of Stephen King and George A. Romero. While not as iconic as the first, it delivers solid scares and captures the same pulpy horror comic vibe.

  • Trick 'r Treat (2007): A modern cult favorite that weaves together four interconnected horror stories on Halloween night. This film masterfully mixes scares with a touch of dark humor, creating a chillingly fun and atmospheric experience.

  • The Mortuary Collection (2019): A recent standout in the anthology realm. This film features a mortician weaving a series of strange and terrifying tales that each explore different subgenres of horror. Expect some clever twists, atmospheric storytelling, and gruesomely satisfying endings.

  • Body Bags (1993): This made-for-TV horror anthology boasts a unique presentation: John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper serve as "hosts" introducing three unsettling tales. While the quality can be uneven, it offers moments of quirky humor and a few genuinely scary sequences.

Tales From The Darkside 1990 Reviewed FAQs

Q: What is "Tales From The Darkside"? 

A: "Tales From The Darkside" is a horror anthology film released in 1990 that tells three chilling stories of horror. It was inspired by the 1980s television series of the same name, known for its twisted endings and focus on the supernatural and macabre.

Q: Who directed "Tales From The Darkside"? 

A: "Tales From The Darkside" was directed by John Harrison. Harrison also served as the composer for the film and worked on the "Tales from the Darkside" television series.

Q: What is the wraparound story in "Tales From The Darkside"? 

A: The wraparound story in "Tales From The Darkside" features a young boy named Timmy (Matthew Lawrence) held captive by a suburban witch (Debbie Harry). To stall his gruesome fate of being cooked and eaten, Timmy tells the witch three terrifying stories from a book titled "Tales from the Darkside".

Q: Which actors are featured in "Tales From The Darkside"? 

A: The film features several notable actors, including:

  • Christian Slater (Lot 249)

  • Julianne Moore (Lot 249)

  • Steve Buscemi (Lot 249)

  • Rae Dawn Chong (Cat from Hell)

  • William Hickey (Cat from Hell)

  • David Johansen (Cat from Hell)

  • James Remar (Lover's Vow)

  • Matthew Lawrence (Wraparound Story)

  • Debbie Harry (Wraparound Story)

Q: Is "Tales From The Darkside" related to "Creepshow" or "Tales From The Crypt"? 

A: While "Tales From The Darkside" isn't directly related to "Creepshow" or "Tales From The Crypt", it shares the same horror anthology format. "Creepshow" was written by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero, and both films heavily influenced the style of "Tales from the Darkside".

Q: Are there any user reviews available for "Tales From The Darkside"? 

A: Yes! You can find tons of user reviews for "Tales From The Darkside" on popular movie websites like:

  • Letterboxd ( [invalid URL removed])

Q: What is the overall reception of "Tales From The Darkside"? 

A: "Tales From The Darkside" has a generally positive reception. Viewers often praise its creepy atmosphere, memorable stories, and elements of dark humor. While some find the film a bit uneven in tone, it's generally considered a fun and entertaining watch for fans of horror anthologies.

Q: What distinguishes "Tales From The Darkside" from other horror anthology films? 

A: "Tales From The Darkside" offers a few unique elements that help it stand out:

  • Source Material: Two of the film's segments were adapted from established authors – "Lot 249" was based on a short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and "Cat from Hell" was inspired by a Stephen King short story.

  • Wraparound Story: The wraparound segment adds an extra layer of suspense and a satisfying conclusion, something not always present in other anthology films.

  • Focus on the Supernatural: While not all stories are explicitly supernatural, the film leans heavier into themes of curses, ancient evil, and demonic bargains compared to some of its anthology counterparts.

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