Reviews & Ratings for
"Tales from the Darkside" A Choice of Dreams (1986)

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This is your Life

6/10
Author: sol from Brooklyn NY USA
24 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

**SPOILERS** Being diagnosed as dying from terminal cancer with him having no more then six weeks to live Mafia Boss Jake Corelli, Abe Vogoda, has finally come to the realization that there's one thing in life that he can't control pay off forestall or intimidate: Death! As the cancerous tumor in his body spreads and starts chocking off his life this yuppie looking stranger, David Chandler, shows up unannounced at Corelli's place. The stranger not at all intimidated by Corelli and his goons offers him the one thing that Corelli can't have; His life! But he'll have to accept the strangers's offer within the next 24 house or the deal is off! And pay a cool 10 million dollars for it!

At first a bit hesitant Corelli feeling that he's got nothing to lose goes along with the stranger's plan to give him eternal life even if it doesn't include his body but only his brain or conciseness! To make things a bit better, in the afterlife, for himself Corelli gives his #1 henchmen Angelo, Ralph Monaco, a going away present for his long years of fateful and loyal services to him. It was Corelli's way of showing his gratitude towards Angelo which in fact was something that Angelo, who's seen everything there was to see in his boss' actions, never saw coming

***SPOILERS*** What turned out to be eternal life for Corelli in keeping his brain alive was in fact the timely justice that he earned himself over the years in his life of crime! Instead of dying a peaceful death after his illness finally took his life Corelli is now to relive all the pain and suffering in the many crimes that he inflicted on people over his long life of crime from a juvenile delinquent to a Mafia Boss! And relive those memories over and over until he ended up, even if it takes all of eternity, paying for them!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Tales from the Darkside - A Choice of Dreams

8/10
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
5 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When I watch an episode like "A Choice of Dreams", I realize just what Tales from the Darkside was capable of. I think the opening dialogue between mobster and doctor is fantastic. The actor playing the physician (David Glen) is a voice for all of those victimized by mobster, Jake Corelli (Abe Vigoda); during his life of crime, many have been left either dead, addicted, in fear, or in ruin thanks to his history of criminal activity. The vicarious thrill of providing the diagnosis that Jake is terminally ill, will suffer from his cancer, and endure the same kind of pain he has inflicted on others gives this doctor a reason to look at him, sturdy and strong, bluntly vocal about the pleasure of telling him. Jake, of course, threatens to cost him his job by calling the head of the hospital for which the physician works, but still being able to inform him of his upcoming demise was so worth it. While the rest of the episode can't quite reach the same level of satisfaction—besides the twist ending which I think most will see coming—I think the initial scene on its own warrants essential viewing for Darkside fans. Vigoda does establish intimidation and offers a glimpse into the kind of menacing scumbag and cold-blooded creep that has reigned down terror upon many unfortunate souls living and employed on his turf. When Vigoda kills loyal Angelo (Ralph Monaco) right before he is to pay for a peculiar procedure that will supposedly allow a scientist (David Chandler; sinister and giving off this aura of distrust that a dying man may decide to look past) to provide him with pleasant dreams after death, it is the supreme example of the depths for which he'll sink. Not saying Angelo--a mob cretin who worked as a muscle and gun for the boss, insuring victims answered to Jake or else--wasn't deserving of his fate, but it just shows you that loyalty gets you nowhere but dead. We even see the brain removed, and the director wisely shows faces from Vigoda's past memories emerging while mobster Jake is in sleep as Chandler is preparing him for the afterdeath procedure. Anytime a human monster gets his just desserts, the anthology series format achieves what it sets out to do. I think this is a fine example of that.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

"What are you? A hippie undertaker?" Really good Tales from the Darkside episode.

8/10
Author: Paul Andrews (poolandrews@hotmail.com) from UK
13 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tales from the Darkside: A Choice of Dreams starts as murderer, drug dealer, gangster, mob boss & all round bad guy Jake Corelli (Abe Vigoda) is told that he has terminal cancer & has a matter of weeks left to live. Obviously upset Corelli is paid a visit by a man who claims that he can keep him alive after death reliving his past in the form of dreams in his still active brain for all eternity, he can do this & it will only cost Corelli ten million dollars. In an experiment Corelli experiences various happy times from his life as dreams & agrees to undergo the procedure, unfortunately for Corelli his brain can experience both dreams & nightmares which aren't quite so pleasant when your just a brain in a jar & can't wake up...

Episode 20 from season 2 this Tales from the Darkside story originally aired in the US during May 1986, directed by Jerry Smith I must admit I really liked this macabre little episode. The script by James Houghton is one of those sci-fi stories which veer into horror territory with a great twist ending which may be a little bit predictable but works perfectly & satisfies on many levels. I have to say that A Choice of Dreams reminds me a lot of the British TV anthology series Tales of the Unexpected episode William and Mary (1979) written by Roald Dahl as both revolve around surgically removed brains, mad doctors & not very nice men getting their comeuppance while as a disembodied brain they can't do anything about it! At twenty minutes it's short, the character's are good, the story is good & fairly ghoulish which makes a change from all the Disney style light hearted fantasy episodes & coming straight after the excellent The Last Car (1986) things are looking good as the second season comes to a close.

This Tales from the Darkside episode is one of the more gory entries in the series with someone getting shot in the back of the head & some great scenes involving a surgically removed brain, the effect is very good & I suspect the production team used a real sheep or cow brain from a butcher. Veteran telly actor Abe Vigoda puts in a good performance & carries the programme.

A Choice of Dreams is one of my favourite Tales from the Darkside episodes, I just think it works really well on many levels & I also like anything with disembodied brains in.

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Getting one's just desserts

8/10
Author: Woodyanders (Woodyanders@aol.com) from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
22 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Diagnosed with terminal cancer, cold-blooded mobster Jake Corelli (an excellent and convincing performance by Abe Vigoda) makes an expensive deal with mysterious scientist Michaelson (a nicely sinister portrayal by David Chandler) to keep his brain alive after he dies. Director Gerald Cotts, working from an absorbing script by James Houghton, maintains both a steady pace and a grimly serious tone as the engrossing story unfolds towards a bitterly ironic ending in which Corelli winds up in a personal hell of his own cruel device in which he's tormented by his worst and most upsetting memories from his rotten existence. Vigoda's tour de force acting effortlessly carries the whole show: Vigoda not only totally nails Corelli's angst and desperation as he downs Scotch and takes painkillers to stave off the inevitable, but also projects a chilling palpable ruthlessness as evident in the startling scene with Corelli killing his loyal lifelong friend Angelo (well played by Ralph Monaco) on the day prior to his big operation. Moreover, there are sturdy contributions from Tracy Kolis as Corelli's bitter wife Marie and a pre-Sporanos Dominic Chianese as Corelli's disapproving abusive father. A superior episode.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

I wasn't blown away like others.

5/10
Author: Tommy Nelson from Long Beach, California
2 August 2006

With Abe Vigoda.

I wasn't as blown away by this episode as others were. It was a reasonable plot, but very little interesting substance to carry it through the middle. It's about an aging mobster (Vigoda) who knowing he will die seeks help. He finds a doctor that can keep his brain alive forever. It has a nice twist ending, but that really doesn't make up for the lackluster script. The positives are Abe Vigoda. He's always good and this is no exception. This can be found on Tales from the Darkside volume 2.

My rating: OK episode. 18 mins. TV PG V

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

An OK plot with a daft ending

Author: love_horror
24 August 2011

A cold hearted mobster, who is dying of cancer is approached by a strange man who claims that he can make his afterlife pleasant by inducing sweet dreams & by erasing his memories of guilt.

As always, the talents employed by TFDS resonate well with the plot, the characters- the mobster (played by Abe Vigoda), his faithful comrade, the accuser-doctor & the eerie scientist are all played nicely.

But good actors are not a substitute for a not so good script. Although I do I like the small twist just before the climax, the climax itself is just daft & feeble & is short of anything fulfilling. I like watching TDFS but if my memory serves me right, this is not the first episode of this kind.

I give it a 4.

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