31 in 31: Tales from the Darkside The Movie


Story: dinner party time. A woman has invited her friends & is prepping the feast. Oh, the woman is a witch, and the main course is a kid. Before you can say “Holy Hansel!”, the kid decides to try to lengthen his life by reading to the witch from a book of her favorite stories….

Scares: several creepy goodies, but from the ol’ EC mold rather than today’s “based-on-real-stuff” torture fests.

Splat Factor: Though there’s the old school horror, there’s still a bit of gore here for aficionados. Brains, slaughter,

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: it’s based on the tv series of the same name. But this is the only movie version.

Trick or Treat?: like those caramel creams, you probably enjoyed ’em more when you were younger, but there’s still a bit of fun left in a small handful. And who doesn’t love a good “you got yours” story…or four?

Three stories by famous authors, and a chance to see some great actors early in their careers,along with a few genre favorites. Not bad. Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, Debbie Harry, Buster Poindexter David Johansen, Christopher Slater, to name a few.

There are a few things that stick in my craw though. Nowadays it’s kind of implausible that the witch would stop to listen, after all the decades of more realistic horror. And though Julianne Moore is the youngest of her “college coeds”, she’s made up so thoroughly she looks like she’s over 30. But all in all if you’re into anthologies, this should be on your must-see list.

* Lot 249: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story, adapted by novelist/screenwriter Michael McDowell (Blackwater, Beetlejuice) – a mummy is brought to life by the campus nerd (Buscemi). The coeds that screwed him out of a scholarship better sleep with one eye on the door.

* Cat From Hell: George Romero adapts Stephen King’s story about, well…you know. David Johansen is perfect in this one.

* Lover’s Vow: written by Michael McDowell based on yuki-onna mythology, a man must promise to never, ever EVER tell about the night he saw a gruesome gargoyle-like creature kill someone. Like in Pretty Little Liars, I’m guessing two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.  A heartbreaking horror story, with Rae Dawn Chong & James Remar (Dexter) as a couple that get in the way of that secret.

* Wrap-around: a deliciously fun spin on the Hansel & Gretyl myth. With Debbie Harry!

Score:  out of 5 pumpkins.

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