Aug 212020

Tales from the Darkside: The Movie has two decent stories, one was dull and the other, the wrap-around, so-so. Still, it’s an anthology film worth checking out.



Tales from the Darkside: The Movie
— Collector’s Edition —

Genre(s): Horror, Fantasy
Shout Factory | R – 93 min. – $29.99 | August 25, 2020

Date Published: 08/21/2020 | Author: The Movieman

Director: John Harrison
Writer(s): Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (‘Lot 249’ story inspired by), Stephen King (‘Cat from Hell’ short story); Michael McDowell (‘Lot 249’ screenplay) (‘Lover’s Vow’ screenplay), George A. Romero (‘Cat from Hell’ screenplay)
Cast: Deborah Harry, Christian Slater, Steve Buscemi, Robert Sedgwick, Julianne Moore, David Johansen, William Hickey, James Remar, Rae Dawn Chong

Features: Commentaries, Featurettes, Galleries, TV Spots, Radio Spots, Theatrical Trailer
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 44.63 GB
Total Bitrate: 42.02 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3.0/5

Plot Synopsis: To keep from being eaten by a modern-day witch (DEBORAH HARRY), a young paperboy (MATTHEW LAWRENCE) weaves three twisted stories to distract her. In “Lost 249,” a vengeful college student (STEVE BUSCEMI) resuscitates an evil mummy to teach unsuspecting student bodies (JULIANNE MOORE, CHRSTIAN SLATER, ROBERT SEDGWICK) a lesson in terror. Then, the “Cat from Hell” follows a furry black feline who cannot be killed… he may have nine lives, but those who cross his path are not so lucky. Finally, in “Lover’s Vow,” a stone gargoyle comes to life… to commit murder.

Quick Hit Review: While I have heard of the Tales from the Darkside television series, having aired from 1983 to 1988, I was too young to watch and never got the DVD either. Later, at least throughout the 90s, I was more into Tales from the Crypt. With that, I went into Tales from the Darkside: The Movie hoping to be entertained by the four short stories, and for the most part I was.

My favorite easily was “Lot 249”, not only did it have a bit of an old school horror vibe, but includes a great cast, two before they became famous, with Christian Slater, Steve Buscemi and Julianne Moore (who made her big screen debut).

The second story, “Cat from Hell”, based off of a Stephen King short and adapted by the legendary George A. Romero, was the worst of the bunch, not bad per se, but really dull to the point I was having trouble staying awake. I guess I don’t find killer cats all that scary.

“Lover’s Vow” is an interesting one with a nice twist, though before it’s revealed, perplexing on some characters actions (for one, why a woman who is grabbed by a man on a deserted street, willingly goes to his loft on his say so… yeah, right). However, I did like James Remar and Rae Dawn Chong who were good together.

The final tale, the wraparound, with a witch preparing to grill a boy, had a bit of dark fun to it, but found the kid to be on the annoying side and Deborah Harry not quite deliciously devious enough in my book. It’s a fun enough storyline but I don’t really count it as much as it serves as the glue to introducing the others.



This “Collector’s Edition” release comes with a matted slip cover. The inside cover is reversible showing the film’s poster artwork.

Audio Commentaries:

  • Co-Producer David R. Kappes, Moderated by Michael Felsher
  • Director John Harrison and Co-Screenwriter George A. Romero

Both tracks flow fairly well and nice to have, on the first one, a moderator to keep things move along at a brisk pace. These provide some interesting tid-bits about the production, working with the cast, etc.

Tales from the Darkside: The Making of Four Ghoulish Fables (TRT 1:43:47) is a comprehensive, six-chapter, retrospective documentary detailing going from the small to big screens, the castings and how it has held up over the years. Includes new interviews with director John Harrison and producer Mitchell Galin, Cinematographer Robert Draper, Make-Up Effects Artist Greg Nicotero,  Creature Effects Artist Robert Kurtzman, and others. Also features come archive behind-the-scenes footage.

Also included is the Theatrical Trailer (1:57), two TV Spots (1:06), three Radio Spots (1:35), a Still Gallery (3:59), a Behind-the-Scenes Still Gallery (4:09), and last a Behind-the-Scenes Footage Compilation (11:05).


VIDEO – 4.0/5

Shout Factory releases this film, shown in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio. Since there’s no mention either on the back cover or on Shout’s website, presumably the 1080p high-definition transfer was likely given by Paramount. As such, the film doesn’t look half bad, detail for the most part is well defined, perhaps a bit softer on some of the more distant shots, and colors are on the damper side given these are darkly toned stories. Speaking of which, the black levels are stark without appearing crushed. There were no noticeable instances of aliasing, artifacting or other flaws making for a respectable transfer.

AUDIO – 4.25/5

The disc comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track along with a 2.0 option, the former being the default. Dialogue does come through with good clarity with no obvious aural anomalies like hisses, pops or other ailments, and for the most part there is some decent depth for the horror scenes be it a growling cat, ambient noises on a “city” (backlot) street, etc. Nothing quite to show off but still a movie that’s now 30 years old, fairly well done.


OVERALL – 3.5/5

Overall, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie has two decent stories, one was dull and the other, the wrap-around, so-so. Still, it’s an anthology film worth checking out. This “Collector’s Edition” release from Shout Factory has respectable video and audio transfers and a good selection of bonus features, headlined by a 6-part featurette.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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