Friday, February 24, 2012

Tales from the Darkside

Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)

Watched this anthology on TV the other day. Apparently it's based on a show I have never heard of, in the same vein as like Twilight Zone and Night Gallery, which George Romero did after Creepshow. So... now we know that.

The wraparound story involves a woman (wikipedia tells me that was Debbie fucking Harry. Cool) with a ridiculously cute little boy (Matthew Lawrence) in a cage preparing to cook him and serve him at a dinner party. To prolong his life, he kicks it Arabian Nights style and starts telling her stories.

The first story, Lot No. 249 (which I thought was a book I had to read for English but apparently not) is about a weiner (Steve Buscemi) who gets cheated out of... something... by some dick and his girlfriend (Robert Sedgwick and Julianne Moore) so he orders a mummy off eBay and magicks it into killing them in nasty ways.

At one point the mummy pulls a dude's brain out through his nose. That was satisfyingly gross. The rest of the story wasn't really anything special. It was sort of alarming seeng Steve Buscemi and Christian Slater friggin around with a mummy (I didn't realize that the girl was Julianne Moore until now. Whaaaaaat), and you know, mummies are sort of underused as monsters. Sure, they don't really do all that much but technically neither do zombies so what the fuck. More mummies, people, come on.

The second story, The Cat from Hell is about a cat... from hell. The cat is pestering a crazy old dude (William Hickey, the craziest old dude of them all) because his pharmaceutical company did testing exclusively on cats. He hires a hitman (David Johansen) to kill it and then fucks off for the weekend. Needless to say the hitman has a hard time trying to kill the cat. Tenacious little bastards they are.

The way they show the cat killing people (it kills a couple of people) is, well, it's pretty ridiculous. I mean, it's a fuckin cat. I know, cats are evil and one of my cats has repeatedly tried to trip me up and kill me but still. It's a cat. I was totally rooting for it too. It was just getting revenge for the deaths of its brothers and sisters. Besides, the hitman was whiny.

That being said, this also has one of the most disturbing horror deaths that I've ever seen - the cat crawls inside a guy's mouth and kills him from the inside. What the fuck? 

This segment is sort of interesting, and the photography is pretty cool. They got cat vision going on and everything, it was great. I like cats. I like cats killing people.

The third and final segment, Lover's Vow is about a down-on-his-luck artist (James Remar) who watches one of his friends get killed by a fucking gargoyle. The gargoyle spares his life on the condition that he never ever tells anybody about what happened. Later that night he meets a mysterious and beautiful woman (Rae Dawn Chong) who moves in with him immediately and gets his art in the swankiest gallery in town and blah blah blah. You can probably figure out where this is going.

Seriously, though, let's examine the situation - you live in New York. You run into a woman running down the street. She agrees to go home with you even though she just bumped into you and you look like a god damn lunatic. And you're not, like, the least bit suspicious? Come on now.

Despite that, this is the best story in the movie and actually pretty good. And, like mummies and cats, gargoyles really don't get that much screen time (short of the show Gargoyles. That's my favourite show). So that's cool. Represent.

Over all the movie was watchable. It had a kind of cheesy, television look to it and fairly low production values but it was okay and sort of predictably entertaining. If you like twist endings but not surprises, this is the movie for you! Otherwise, you know, if you need to watch something and this is on then what the hell.


Directed by: John Harrison.  Written by: Michael McDowell & George Romero, segment 1 based on Lot No. 249 by Arthur Conan Doyle, Segment 2 based on The Cat from Hell by Stephen King.  Starring: Debbie Harry, Matthew Lawrence, Steve Buscemi, David Johansen, James Remar, Christian Slater, William Hickey, Rae Dawn Chong, Robert Sedgwick, Julianne Moore, Dolores Sutton, Alice Drummond, Mark Margolis

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