If you’ve been following my past entries in the FearTASTIC Vault O’ Fun, first off, THANK YOU (you’re a disturbed yet loved bunch)! Secondly, you’ve probably guessed by now that I have a gushing love for Horror Anthologies. In case you’ve forgotten or have no clue what I’m blabbering on about, I believe these kinds of flicks are the perfect delivery system for the horror genre. The story, characters and scares unfold at the perfect rate without the fear of dragging it down with (sometimes) useless character development and plot twists when all the while, the true horror junkie just want their fix of macabre entertainment!
What makes Tales from the Darkside: The Movie special however, is by the time I got my hands on this gem, I realized a large portion of the cast were people I ACTUALLY recognized! Unfortunately (sometimes fortunately), the horror movie genre produces more duds than stars in the acting front and most of the time, it takes some research on the net to see what some of your favorite horror stars are up to nowadays. This flick however, had a large span of actors that were either already established for that period of time or have gone on and done plenty famous movies which can also explain why this particular flick works so well.
Like most horror anthologies, the flick starts off with a story that binds the upcoming tales of terror. In the fashion of this particular movie however, we get our first dose of star power right from the get go! A witch played by Deborah Harry (yeah, THAT Deborah Harry from Blondie!) is keeping a boy (Matthew Lawrence, not as impressive but still) trapped in a cell with the intention to cook and consume him for her dinner party. The clever boy decides to buy some time by offering to read her some stories from the book in his cell and thus, let the tales commence!
An unusual student (Steve Buscemi folks, applaud) brings a mummy to life and even more impressive, has the power to control the mummy to do his bidding. As any vengeful nerd in a movie would do, he sends the mummy to attack those who have wronged him, particularly the hot rich girl Susan (Julianne Moore, seriously, more star power) which sends her brother Andy (Christian Slater! YAY) to form a vengeful plot! Besides the obvious star power, this is a solid first tale that mixes suspense and dark humor but still stays faithful to some gruesome kills and an entertaining ending.
Cat From Hell
This nod to the noir film genre has a dangerous assassin, Halston (David Johansen from Scrooged fame), who is presented with the most peculiar target: a black cat that roams inside a mansion terrorizing everyone who lives inside. The old man who hires Halston tells the tale (or tail…get it?) of how the cat took out each his sisters in the most nefarious ways. At that point, the battle is on, man vs. beast, assassin vs. fur-ball killer! This was a clever story that was the perfect length, once again the reason why horror anthologies work so well for me. I couldn’t imagine watching an hour and half of a guy chasing around a black cat (looking at you Hollywood)!
This cautionary tale has an artist (James Remar from Dexter!) who witnesses a horrific murder from a terrifying Gargoyle who spares the artists’ life in exchange for his vow of silence. On the same night, he meets his future wife (played by Rae Dawn Chong) but she realizes that he’s hiding a terrifying secret that could tear them both apart. This was by far the best tale out of the three with a surprise twist that most could call out before the story even ends but it’s still a great entry and has a dark lesson for the heart.
This is the ultimate movie you throw on when you want to get your friends to enjoy horror anthologies because there are recognizable stars that they can point out and appreciate when they either kill or get killed with all the entertaining properties of a great horror flick!