This is really three shorter movies, bound together by a fourth tale in which the other three stories are read. The first segment features an animated mummy stalking selected student victims; the second tale tells the story of a "cat from Hell" who cannot be killed and leaves a trail of victims behind it; the third story is about a man who witnesses a bizarre killing and promises never to tell what he saw, and the "in-between" bit is the story of a woman preparing to cook her newspaper boy for supper. Written by
In director John Harrison's adaptation from the 80s TV series, four horror stories are told (one of them as a wraparound story) with different results, although the movie leaves the audience with a feeling of pure worthy entertainment.
The wraparound story stars ex-Blondie singer Deborah Harry as Betty, the typical next door woman, the only difference is that she hides her cannibalistic habits a a secret. Matthew Lawrence is Timmy, a kid who was kidnapped by Betty in order to be her dinner tonight. Timmy begins to tell her stories from the "Tales from the Darkside" book in order to gain time while he plans his escape. The stories Timmy tells are the other three stories in the movie.
First one, "Lot 249", stars Steve Buscemi as Bellingham, a misfit in a yuppie university. Bullied by Andy (Christian Slater), Lee (Robert Sedgwick) and Susan (Julianne Moore), he works as assistant in the Museum. When he receives Lot 249, troubles will begin as he revives an ancient mummy to do his will.
Second one stars William Hickey and David Johansen in a tale of a devilish cat that seems to haunt Hickey's character. Johansen plays a professional assassin hired to kill the feline.
In last one, writer Michael McDowell develops a love story loosely based on a Japanese tale. James Remar stars as Preston, a failed artist who is having the worst day of his life, as he watches his best friend being brutally killed by a mysterious beast who makes him promise that he won't tell anyone about it; everything looks worse until he meets Carola (Rae Dawn Chong), and his life changes for good. What would happen if he reveal the secret of the monster?
The four stories have very good performances, particularly those of Buscemi and Hickey. The downside is that while the three main stories present a very adult horror style with very gory scenes, brief nudity and foul language, the wraparound story looks tame and more similar to kid's horror like "Goosebumps". That doesn't mean that it's a bad tale, is just that it seems out of place in the film, but still the movie is good enough to keep the attention of the viewer.
Very good movie that it's almost forgotten today. The very good acting and the good SFX (although outdated for today's standards) create a very rewarding movie that surely will give entertainment. 7/10
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