From horror masters George Romero and Stephen King comes this horror anthology. The movie starts with a kidnapped boy (Matthew Lawrence) being held by a housewife (Deborah Harry) as the intended main course of a dinner party. The boy attempts to stall the cooking process by reading some stories to the housewife from a big book called Tales from the Darkside that he was given to occupy himself.
Story 1 – Lot 249
Graduate student Steve Buscemi reanimates a mummy for revenge against two classmates who framed him for theft. Julianne Moore delivers an epic performance of mediocrity in her first movie role. Christian Slater is also great as the brother of Julianne Moore, who tries to do his own revenge after finding out what his roommate, Buscemi, has done. I like how the mummy kills people with methods explained early on as part of the mummification process.
Story 2 – Cat from Hell
An old geezer hires a hit man to kill a cat he thinks is an agent of the devil sent to exact revenge for his pharmaceutical company killing cats during tests. The hit man thinks it’s weird, but takes the $100k payment to do it. You would think it would be over, but the predator becomes the prey and the hit man doesn’t make it, nor the geezer. I like the minimal horror parts, but this story could have been better.
Story 3 – Lover’s Vow
James Remar plays a troubled artist with no money, named Preston. After a night of drinking, the bartender is brutally murdered in front of Preston by a gargoyle creature. The creature tells him to promise not to divulge what happened to anyone in exchange for his life. He agrees and picks up a girl (Rae Dawn Chong) as he’s running away. Seriously. They fall in love and have two kids and he becomes a successful artist. Then years later, he tells her about the gargoyle incident and she turns into the gargoyle, as do the children. She rips his throat out while she tells him she loves him but he broke his vow. What a metaphor for marriage. The gargoyle creature FX were laughably hilarious.
Everything wraps up in glorious fashion and it ends up being one of the better horror anthologies of the olden days. Still, it suffers from the middle story crapfest. I don’t get why someone doesn’t say, “Hey, this one is not that good, let’s do a different story.”