Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)

tales from the darkside the movie poster 1990
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Lover's Vow

Most of the stories are so-so

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Tales from the Darkside:  The Movie

Studio:  Laurel Productions

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  May 4, 1990

MPAA Rating:  R


What’s the matter Blondie? Heart of glass?

A witch named Betty (Deborah Harry) holds a young boy named Timmy (Matthew Lawrence) prisoner in her home and prepares to serve him for her feast.  Given a book called Tales from the Darkside, Timmy’s only hope is telling the tales to the witch. The story of the revenge of a scholar named Bellingham (Steve Buscemi) against his tormenters (Christian Slater, Julianne Moore, Robert Sedgwick), an old man named Drogan (William Hickey) who hires a hitman (David Johansen) to kill a cat, and an artist named Preston (James Remar) who finds success and a lover (Rae Dawn Chong) after a night of horror, might be the boy’s only hope.


Are you my mummy?

Directed by John Harrison, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie adapts the popular anthology series which ran from 1983-1986.  The movie’s stories were penned by Michael McDowell (“Lover’s Vow” and “Lot 249”—from a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle short story) and Stephen King and George A. Romero (“Cat from Hell”).  The movie was a moderate success and received average reviews.

Tales from the Darkside was always a second rate anthology series to me.  Despite having a scary opening (which is truncated here), the stories always didn’t reach a level of even a Tales from the Crypt or a Night Gallery episode.  Tales from the Darkside:  The Movie is often called the true Creepshow 3 due to a lot of crossover creators (and “Cat from Hell” was originally scheduled for Creepshow 2).


Cat’s out of the bag…

Though the cast is good, I think “Lot 249” is probably the worst of the three tales.  This is always unfortunate when the story kicking off an anthology movie is dull (see Creepshow 2 for another example of this).  Though I don’t think “Lot 249” is as bad as “Old Chief Wood’nhead”, it does feel a lot like an episode of the series (or even Tales from the Crypt).  I just wanted more of a plot, and mummies have always been the least frightening monster to me.

The Stephen King and George A. Romero story “Cat from Hell” also has a few issues.  The story really does feel like a E.C. horror comic complete with the demon cats and a hardboiled detective.  The movie’s ending however is quite bad and the fake cat doesn’t inspire terror, but instead inspires laughs.



The final story in Tales from the Darkside: The Movie is the most memorable and the most fun.  “Lover’s Vow” involves an artist being sworn to secrecy by a demon to never tell what he witnessed in the murder of a man.  It appears his life turns around with a new lover and a new family, but SHOCK!, it turns out she is the demon…it is a bit predictable, but a fun twist and a fun monster.

Tales from the Darkside:  The Movie is an ok anthology but just isn’t the first Creepshow. It is tough to get a group of stories that all are good, and I find all the stories are so-so.  I do think that movie does a good job with the wrap-around story by making it more involved and a bit more sinister (much closer to Creepshow’s wrap-around story).  The movie however did not spawn a sequel and it appears that the Darkside’s underworld that is just as real, but not as brightly lit…has gone dim.

Related Links:

Tales from the Darkside—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Tales from the Darkside—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Tales from the Darkside—Season 3 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Tales from the Darkside—Season 4 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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