Reviews & Ratings for
"Tales from the Darkside" The Grave Robber (1987)

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

One of the best episodes.

7/10
Author: Paul Andrews (poolandrews@hotmail.com) from UK
19 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tales from the Darkside: The Grave Robber starts in the depths of an ancient Egyptian tomb where archaeologist & thief Dr. Harold Gromley (Daren Kelly), his female assistant Aileen (Polly Draper) & local Egyptian guide Ahmed (Ed Kovens) are about to break into in the hope of finding & stealing valuable artifacts. There they become trapped as a Mummy (Arnold Stang) awakes & kills Ahmed, he claims that due to a curse he has to kill anyone who enters the tomb but he is bored of being a Mummy & wants to prolong the death's of Aileen & Harold who desperately try to stall him as they search for a way out...

Episode 6 from season 4 this Tales from the Darkside story originally aired in the US during November 1987, directed by Jeff Schiro one has to say The Grave Robber is one of the best episodes from this very variable series. The script by Harvey Jacobs & Donald Wollner starts out like some traditional Mummy film set inside an Egyptian tomb where a curse makes a murderous bandaged Mummy come to life but then turns into a fairly light hearted quirky comedy spoof as the Mummy turns out to have a personality, that he can talk & can be bargained with. There's some amusing dialogue here & the whole set up & story is rather let field & against all expectations that it works very well. Scenes of the Mummy & Harold playing strip poker for instance are hard not to like & there's even a pretty good twist ending although the final shot of Harold crying by himself trapped in the tomb is a little downbeat & at odds with the generally amusing & light hearted nature of The Grave Robber until that point.

Like almost all Tales from the Darkside episodes The Grave Robber is set in a single location, an Egyptian tomb but it's well realised with good production values. The Mummy & zombie special effects are very good although the episode is played more for laughs rather than scares. The opening episode of the fourth season Beetles (1987) was also about Egyptian curses & the like but The Grave Robber is sufficiently different & the far superior episode. The acting is fine from the usual small cast.

The Grave Robber is one of the best Tales from the Darkside episodes, it's quirky, distinctive, fun, amusing & takes a well used horror theme & does something different with it. The best twenty odd minutes of the fourth season so far by the proverbial mile.

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Tales from the Darkside: The Grave Robber

6/10
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
9 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Played strictly for laughs, "The Grave Robber" cast Arnold Stang, of all people, as a centuries-old mummy, awakening from his slumber when greedy archaeologist, Dr. Harold Gormley (Daren Kelly) and his assistant (Polly Draper, with a nice pair of legs in her short-shorts) are invited by an Egyptian into a tomb belonging to a potential King. Instead they encounter a "guardian of the tomb" named Tapok (Stang) who claims that he has a duty to inflict harm to those who raid the tomb of his King. Instead, Harold and Aileen (Draper) attempt to get out of the tomb through various forms of trickery. Ultimately, a poker game will be the key to getting out of the tomb alive.

This mummy comedy is a lark and nothing more. Stang's voice under mummy wraps is absurd enough to roll your eyes at and just go with it. You either do or don't because this is all cheeky nonsense as the actors involved know too well that the material can't be taken seriously at any point. Sure Harold gets a bum deal but from the get-go he showed his hand and proved to be a money-focused opportunist, not the least concerned with science as much as the financial rewards benefited by the goodies found in the tomb. Draper proved to be the slick opportunist, as well; except, she eyes getting out of the tomb, using her looks in the end to manipulate Tapok. Tapok even, at one point, travels via astral projection to Las Vegas to figure out poker (and how to pull from the bottom of the deck!), learning the ropes after Harold and Aileen pull a few winning hands due to his lack of knowledge! The make-up for Stang (the rotted flesh and aged bandages) is rather surprisingly good and the tomb, although favoring Hammer's own Mummy movie budgets, isn't too shabby either considering what we Darkside fans are typically accustomed to with the series. The result of the episode—will the trapped archaeologists get out of the tomb and outsmart the mummy or remain trapped until dead?—shouldn't be too much of a surprise. A weeping Harold, believing his poker hand is foolproof, loses both his girl and his place, replaced by a former Egyptian guard stuck in a tomb for centuries…heartbreaking if he wasn't such a cretin and stooge.

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Likable comic episode

8/10
Author: Woodyanders (Woodyanders@aol.com) from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
11 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Unscrupulous archaeologist Dr. Harold Gormley (a lively and engaging performance by Darren Kelly) and his brash assistant Aileen (a winningly perky portrayal by Polly Draper) are forced to participate in a high stakes poker game with mummy Tapok (robustly played by Arnold) after Tapok catches the pair trying to rob the tomb that he stands guard over.

Director Jeff Shiro keeps the enjoyable story moving along at a zippy pace, mains an amiable lighthearted tone throughout, and milks plenty of laughs from the amusing sense of cheerfully goofy humor. The witty script by Harvey Jacobs and Donald Wollner boasts lots of sidesplitting snappy lines, with the last one from the mummy rating as a total doozy. The crisp cinematography by Steven Ross makes the most out of the cramped tomb setting. An absolute hoot.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Horrifically unfunny

4/10
Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
25 June 2015

Two guys play strip poker with an Egyptian mummy. That's the level of wit, insight, and narrative depth that we get in this episode of TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE, entitled THE GRAVE ROBBER, and boy, is it unfunny. If you think the idea of having an ancient mummy gradually stripping off his bandages and changing clothes with a couple of American idiots, then you're welcome to it.

For what it's worth, I hated this story. It's one of those unfunny comedy episodes in which we're asked to identify and sympathise with a couple of bumbling idiot characters and laugh at the idiocy of the situation. Needless to say we don't, and this episode outstays its welcome after about five minutes. I wish I hadn't bothered.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A God-awful parody of early Sesame Street Skits

1/10
Author: saralynn1975
18 October 2014

I vividly remember seeing this when I was 12, with my dad and my sister one Saturday night. It was OK up until the horrific end.

Well, I watched it again this morning on YouTube and was reminded how gut-wrenching it was.

Think about it. The strip poker scenes were pretty funny. Seeing Harold in his underwear...he was pretty cute!

And then...the mummy completely bandages Harold in his wrappings, then leaves the tomb with Aileen!!!!! Man, I was nauseated the whole weekend!

Remember the old 1970s SESAME STREET skits, particularly the Bert & Ernie moments, where sometimes a problem would become bigger at the end, with no closure? It was just like that, except much worse.

Not even the TWILIGHT ZONE or ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS could come up with something this sad. Well, the latter's remake of "Breakdown", where a man is paralyzed after a bad car accident, came pretty close.

When a story scares me, it stays with me years later. And you'd think it wouldn't look as bad as when you were a kid, but...sometimes it actually looks worse!

But again, that's the beauty of such anthology shows...that classic terrifying cliffhanger, which leaves the viewer wanting more.

One should never watch such an episode alone. Always have someone to comfort you if scenes get too disturbing. I learned that the hard way!

I feel much better, having vented my review.

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