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Tales from the Darkside: The Movie

Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990) was a spin-off of the Tales from the Darkside television show (1984-88), which itself was born from the success of George Romero's 1982 Creepshow. Featuring short films of horror inspired by the old EC comic Tales from the Crypt — with a dash of Twilight Zone thrown in for good measure — Darkside features three episodes told by a young boy trying to outwit a witch (Deborah Harry) who's about to cook him. The first is about a student (Steve Buscemi) who awakens a mummy to get revenge on the people who cheated him of a scholarship; the second of an old millionaire (William Hickey) who hires a hit-man (David Johnansen) to kill a evil cat; and the third of an artist (James Remar) who meets a demon that spares his life on the condition that he tells no one of their encounter, and then meets the woman of his dreams (Rae Dawn Chong). Where anthology films are usually erratic, Darkside director John Harrison maintains consistent lameness throughout, as none of the stories are in the least bit creepy, the characters don't make the bold impressions that comic-book-style heroes or villains should make, and the come-uppances (always the best part of these stories) are very weak. The only reason to watch the film is for early appearances by the likes of Buscemi, Christian Slater, and Julianne Moore — those hoping for frights, look elsewhere. Paramount's DVD is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1. Includes a commentary from Harrison and co-screenwriter George A. Romero. Trailer, keep-case.

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