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:  Paramount Pictures/Laurel Productions/Darkside Movie

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  May 4, 1990

MPAA Rating:  R

tales from the darkside the movie debbie harry blondie witch

I’ve got to get supper on…

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 and buy himself the time he needs to figure out a means of escape.  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 murder a cat, and an artist named Preston (James Remar) who finds success and a lover (Rae Dawn Chong) after a night of horror are all on the dinner plate…might be the Timmy’s only hope.

tales from the darkside the movie lot 249 mummy

Who’s your mummy?

Directed by John Harrison, Tales from the Darkside:  The Movie is a horror anthology film.  The movie is an adaptation of the anthology series Tales from the Darkside which also is loosely considered a sequel to Creepshow.  The film features adaptation of “Lot 249” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which was originally published in Harper’s Magazine (September 1862),  “Cat from Hell” by George Romero which adapts Stephen King’s short story (Cavalier March 1977), and “Lover’s Vow” which an adaptation of a Japanese myth story from Lafcadio Hearn’s 1904 Kwaidan:  Stories and Studies of Strange Things.  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).  While it is problematic, Tales from the Darkside:  The Movie has fun.

tales from the darkside the movie cat from hell stephen king george romero

Cat got your tongue?

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.

tales from the darkside the movie lovers vow gargoyle monster

You told!!!

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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