Thursday, January 8, 2015
Tales From the Darkside: The Movie (1990)
The wraparound is a pretty nice structure for the film as rock star Debbie Harry plays a cannibalistic suburban witch planning to make a meal out of a young kid played by Matthew Lawrence. Lawrence is the one telling the stories in order to stave off becoming the main course and both performers do their jobs fairly well.
The three stories are equally competent. "Lot 249" is based on an Arthur Conan Doyle story and it is more interesting for the cast than the rather typical revenge tale composing the story. Steve Buscemi is a college student who has been screwed over by a dumb jock and his girlfriend (Julianne Moore) who happens to be the sister of his roommate, played fairly well by Christian Slater. Buscemi is a collector of rare artifacts and has come into possession of a mummy, complete with the scroll to bring him back to life. Needless to say, he gets his revenge.
The second and best story is based on a Stephen King short story called "The Cat From Hell" and concerns a hit man played by David Johansen who is hired by a rich, mean old bastard played by William Hickey (who was one of the best when it came to playing mean old bastards) to kill a cat that has been steadily taking revenge on him for the 5,000 cats he killed while perfecting the drug that made him his fortune. It's a nicely done, taut little story with good acting and a nice gross-out gag at the end.
"Lover's Vow" is the last tale and it is a fairly plain romantic tragedy as James Remar plays an artist who has an encounter with a gargoyle who spares him if he promises to never tell anybody about it. Shortly thereafter, he falls for a beautiful woman played by Rae Dawn Chong and if you can't see where this one is going, I really will need you to hand in your movie viewer card. The acting is fine, funnily enough, Remar always seems to play guys who just can't help but make dumb life decisions whether it's charging a pissed off Nick Nolte in 48 Hrs. or pissing off a gargoyle as he does here and the gargoyle is great looking but as I said, the payoff is rather obvious though nicely done.
Tales From the Darkside: The Movie is an adequate enough horror anthology film with solid acting, great KNB f/x and a brisk pace that helps it not overstay its welcome. The first and third stories are rather pedestrian but the middle one is enough of a gem to warrant at least one viewing.