Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)

Directed by: John Harrison 

Written by: Michael McDowell & George A. Romero 

Story by: Arthur Conan Doyle & Stephen King


Deborah Harry .... Betty 
Matthew Lawrence .... Timmy 
Christian Slater .... Andy 
Robert Sedgwick .... Lee 
Steve Buscemi .... Bellingham 
Julianne Moore .... Susan 
David Johansen .... Halston 
William Hickey .... Drogan
Alice Drummond .... Carolyn
Dolores Sutton .... Amanda
Mark Margolis .... Gage 
James Remar .... Preston 
Rae Dawn Chong .... Carola 

Release Dates: Theatrical: May 4, 1990; Avoriaz Film Festival: January, 1991; Sitges Film Festival: October, 1991





A witch named Betty (Deborah Harry) is about to bake her paper delivery boy Timmy (Matthew Lawrence) for supper but before she does so he tries to prevent her by telling her some stories from a book The first chapter is Lot 249 on a group of students gather to discover an ancient Mummy owned by Lee (Robert Sedgwick) and claims that he can resurrect it back to life but this Mummy seems to do away with the students one by one The next chapter is Cat from Hell about a cat who has devoured all but one family member named Drogan (William Hickey) in his own mansion and hires a hitman named Halston (David Johansen) to snuff this feline out but he finds it's harder than he thought it would be and making him the cat's next prime target. The third chapter is Lover's Vow on a troubled man named Preston (James Remar) who experiences a bizarre killing in an alleyway which is a gargoyle from one of the statues displayed there and has to promise never to tell a soul in order to live.
He then meets the woman of his dreams named Carola (Rae Dawn Chong) but is still disturbed over the years later on about what had happened. Can he still keep this secret without even mentioning it to her or his new family?After these stories are told Betty is ready to carve poor Timmy but can he still stop her by telling her a happy ending to all of this?


The beginning of the film looks pretty interesting in which we spot a decent wholesome looking woman named Betty arriving home only that we spot some sort of a dungeon looking cell in her decent looking home with a little boy named Timmy that she's about to eat in which this seemed to look impressive that some people no matter how harmless and innocent they look are very deceiving. It looks clever for Timmy tries to prevent her from eating him when he brings up a big book with the Tales from the Darkside on the cover of it tempting her to discuss a good story as well as it being impressive when the story starts and he briefly narrates it.

The first chapter Lot 249 seems to work in well when a bunch of college campus students gather together and get a big wooden box in which is a Mummy as we spot a nice vicious moment with a dweeby looking one named Bellingham acting goofy and plunging in to open this wooden box by having a sharp object in which this looked humoress and having some interesting horror moments to introduce what will be terrifying later on.
The story doesn't seem to take itself seriously when Bellingham reads out loud some words on a paper on how to wake this Mummy up in which this should've been a bit more dark on how everything was done here. But yet the effects looked impressive when he does awaken which was fun to watch as well as this thing wandering in the dark hallways awaiting it's next victim.
It looked good and dark when this Mummy plays tricks on one of the students here by hiding in some sort of a library and planning a deadly device along with lunging in for the kill when no one expects anything to happen at all giving it a good horror feel to all of the surroundings here.
Plus we even spot one of the students named Andy going crazy towards Bellingham tying him up as it's nice to have a twist on another killer involved. Also it looked cool with Andy wrestling down the Mummy and tearing this corpse apart piece by piece making you wonder what will happen next here.
The ending of this chapter looked a bit rushed but for the right reasons cause then it goes back to Timmy finishing his first tale here. In the chapter Cat from Hell looked entertaining when a character in a wheelchair named Drogan is living alone in a mansion acting bitter which seems to add a nice touch to the plot talking to some mobster named Halston discussing on murdering a cat in which we spot this black cat looking cute and innocent in the hallway. It seemed pretty funny watching this discussion thinking this critter wouldn't hurt a living thing.
It looked disturbing while we spot a character named Gage trying to chase this cat away as it seems to only want to be friendly while lounging around the mansion along with a character named Carolyn giving it some love showing a nice touch to all of this. It's also cool when we spot Halston rolling his wheelchair away from Drogan to tell his story and going into his flashback memory with ghostly type lighting effects as this blended in perfectly well.
There's a neat typical moment of the cat making it's first killing by tripping Carolyn by getting in her way down a staircase and boy does it look suspenseful while we spot her rolling down the staircase in which this had me convinced that it was intense enough she will fall for her death after she rolled down the staircase and I was right. This moment was cleverly put in.
Another good moment is this cat suffocating someone to death by sneaking up on them while they're sleeping but yet this moment looked fake with the cat as you can tell it's a stuffed animal when this person struggles with the feline. Oh well it's a low budget flick what can I say?
Later on we spot Drogan trying to find some way on snuffing out this cat as well as cheesy moments on the cat hissing and striking at him. What looked interesting is he points a gun at the cat while drinking out of a saucer and when he is on target he misses and shoots a TV behind this feline as if this cat seems to have some sort of a power to prevent from being targeted after all. This to me was a mystery that was never resolved while watching this tale.
There's a very strange moment with this cat while it finds a way on snuffing out Drogan as I've never seen a moment in a horror tale like this kind happen in which this looked shocking but I won't give it away. It's incredibly twisted by what it does and can definetely scare anyone who doesn't like cats thinking on how a cat can seek revenge on you without a doubt.

Then there's the final chapter Lover's Vow as this is even more unexplained in which at first takes place in a lounge but outside we see those statue type gargoyles as well as an incident inside a bar with a troubled man named Preston and then there's a moment outside which looked good and dark in an alleyway where we see a gargoyle slaughtering some people in which this looked good and graphic. Yet this doesn't explain as to how this beast came to be at all but yet it looked good and shocking when it attacks others and then forces Preston to never mention in his life to what he encountered as this seems pretty psychological since a secret like that is hard to keep after spotting something nightmarish.
The story seems impressive when he almost mugs a woman named Carola in which it seems impressive that they end up falling in love and then the story takes place 10 years later with two children as well as Preston's frustrations while drawing some sketch art on gargoyles in which this story still seems to touch base with what he experienced as this leaves some mysterious moments about his disturbed life in which this was well put in.
Then there's the moment when Preston confesses what he saw that night 10 years ago in which leaves a chill down your spine as she seems quiet about this in which this leaves you a feeling that something bad is going to happe here. Pretty spooky and twisted after we discover what will happen next and quite imaginitive too. Whoever wrote this was pretty clever on how they put the pieces of this story together.Bottom line is the wraparound story seemed like a present tale of a sort of Hansel & Gretal with the child telling scary stories but yet this story isn't for children at all. It worked in perfectly well as the stories seem pretty entertaining and different than most chapters in an anthology. Of course this was after the TV series and considered a Creepshow 3 in which is so far the best anthology of the series. The film is low budget but hey nothing wrong with that since it gives the story a nice feel in alot of spots here.

The acting was in a well decent fashion as in the wraparound story the actress Deborah Harry (Betty) certainly had that great deceiving motherly clean cut and healthy look to her only to be a witch as she brought on a nice wicked attitude to who she really was coming across nicely to the camera. She showed a good firm attitude in some spots too along with still knowing on how to talk sweetly too. She does well speaking coldly too. She was definetely a character actress without a doubt.
Former child actor Matthew Lawrence (Timmy) as a delivery boy trapped well it's Matt as usual but seems to try his best to show some interesting energy into his performance here. You can tell he was doing his best to study his part as an anxious kid not wanting to being eaten by this witch telling a story. But when he cries out for help it needed a tiny bit of improvement but not too much. He shows a believeable eager attitude so I give him credit for this. In the Lot 249 chapter Christian Slater (Andy) seemed to breeze through in his performance but yet at first doesn't seem to do much until later on. He shows a nice vicious and smooth speaking attitude when he reveals his evilness onto the screen in which he was quite impressive by doing this. A nice energetic blocking on him battling against a Mummy not letting an ounce down for this moment. He fully gets into character big time and shows it off perfectly onto the camera too.
Robert Sedgwick
(Lee) certainly had a great nerdy look and appeal to him and was very high strung whenever he performed in which this was very intentional. He seemed to be on the ball with whatever he does in his performance. There's a nice energetic running with him holding a knife towards a wooden box and shows good menacing energy while plunging it open. He also shows a great fearful attitude along with acting goofy too. A nice freaked out and tense reaction with him gagged and tied up showing good energy on him struggling. All in all he seemed like a natural ham with everything that he did with his work in the film and proves to be another worthy character actor in this anthology. However when he was saying a chant it didn't look too convincing and seemed a tiny bit too slapstick in which I was expecting him to react like this in a creepy way.
Steve Buscemi (Bellingham) knew his stuff as one of those insecure types and acting anxious on certain situations. His energy was at a terrific pace and seemed to be well noticed in his supporting role here as one of those serious types in the flick like when he freaks out about an incident as his energy was at a great high speed and does this naturally as well as a nice slick speaking. She does well screaming in terror while being grabbed by the neck as this looked impressive. He had the right looks too for the character that he portrayed as well.
Julianne Moore
(Susan) really had a great sharp attitude and speaking in her part as if she was someone who was a bit wicked and really showed off her stuff here and there. Yet there's a moment when she lacked a bit with her screaming when she is attacked and slayed. She also had the great sharp looks which is a bonus here to portray one of those beautiful types in a horror film since we need one of those in every flick. She does her part perfectly in every aspect for this chapter.In the chapter Cat from Hell David Johansen (Halston) certainly came across perfectly as a mobster with his masculine looks and gruff speaking and knew his stuff on how to have a sarcastic and tough attitude along with great sneering too while pointing his weapon as well as aggressively reacting when he seems to have missed shooting something in which his intensity was at a good pace here. He comes across nicely with his firm speaking as well as knowing on how to act outrageous in the suspenseful moments in the film drawing it all together including his painful reactions after a cat scratches him along with getting aggressive too. I thought that he was one of the best actors in this film.
William Hickey (Drogan) often played a bitter old man in a wheelchair like he does in this one and does it terrifically with his creepy like speaking and an eccentric type of attitude especially with his hissy type of speaking as well as a good bitter and grumbling attitude in a flashback sequence. Perfect shocked reaction with him at the end of his performance after what he spots in which he was perfect behaving like this and acting frightened as his timing was perfect here. He seems to have a real icy cold like appeal into everything he did for this role and comes off perfectly like he does in anything that I've seen him in and a great horror character actor too especially whenever he acted aggressive.
Supporting actress Alice Drummond (Carolyn) was quite a ham in her role as a loving type by all that she did in the film acting like a fruitcake and coming across humoress by behaving like this. She also has a nice sympathetic behavior in which she does well acting overly loving towards the cat. She adds good timing into what she portrayed and was indeed a worthy character actress for everything that she did here. In the final chapter Lover's Vow James Remar (Bellingham) was perfectly hyped up with his disturbed personality and acting outrageous whenever he needed to along with his stressful and pleading attitude and intensely scared in certain scene's of the story. He was quite believeable in his role especially when he acts paranoid or pleading for mercy in certain spots of the film. He also knew on how to act lifelike too which was pretty impressive as well. He was one of the actors who had the highest energy out of them all here.
Rae Dawn Chong (Carola) really brought on a calmness to her role as well as the beautiful looks which worked in her favor too since she portrayed the beautiful type. She brought on a nice charm to her role. She also seemed to act mysterious which was pretty darn impressive too.

A brief breast shot by Julianne Moore is exposed in the Lot 49 chapter during a lustful moment

In Lot 49 a knife is sliced in the back of a woman
In Cat from Hell bloody scratch marks are revealed here and there
In Lover's Vow a head and other body parts are chopped off in an alleyway
Flesh is torn open revealing a gargoyle
A piece of a neck is bitten open

The music had alot of high synthesizer sounds with having a sort of fairy tale type of appeal to it along with alot of waltzy type of feel to it. We also hear alot of good hissing sounds in certain chapters and icy sounds too. The composers were different one's in each chapter here in which all of them did okay. The music however had a low budget feel to it and sounds something similar to a Full Moon Pictures production like Puppet Master for instance.

Halston: [preparing to asassinate a cat] The rest of your nine lives are going in one lump-sum.Carola: [as she begins to change back into a monster] You broke your promise, you IDIOT! I loved you!