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DVD Review

DVD cover

Tales from the Darkside
Season Two


Starring: Marcis Cross, Seth Green, John Heard, Jerry Stiller, Lisa Bonet and Dominic Chianese
Revelation Films
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 15
Available 20 February 2012

"Man lives in the sunlit world of what he believes to be reality. But there is, unseen by most, an underworld, a place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit... A Darkside."

Tales from the Darkside is a horror anthology TV series which ran from 1983 to 1988. It is similar in style to Amazing Stories and Tales From the Crypt, but concentrates primarily on horror as opposed to melding the genre with fantasy and science fiction. It’s not without good reason that it most closely resembles the Creepshow movie, because Creepshow (which was based on the old E.C. Comics) was the brainchild of George A. Romero. Its relative success was going to spawn a series, but this eventually evolved into Tales From the Darkside, produced by Romero.

Season 2, which ran from 1984 to 1985 and consists of 24 30-minute episode over 4 discs, contains a strangely eclectic bunch of stories. Some are darkly humorous, others play it straight without quite managing to convince, and then there is a handful which surprise you at just how good they are. The main problem is that the series is very much a product of the eighties and doesn’t stand the test of time too well. Having said that it doesn’t want for strong source material either, featuring the writing talents of Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker and Stephen King, to name but a few. There are no rubbish episodes as such; however, there are a lot of average ones, and this makes the good examples seem just a little more special.

Episodes to watch out for are: Halloween Candy, in which a grumpy old man refuses to give sweets to the local kids as part of Trick or Treat, and suffers the consequences when he is visited by a strange little creature; Ursa Minor, wherein a teddy bear no one has seen before turns up in a little girl’s bedroom and appears to leave scratch marks on the wall overnight; A New Lease on Life, in which a man secures the ideal apartment as part of a ridiculous arrangement, and discovers there’s a rather large catch; and The Last Car, in which a young woman boards a train home from college, and meets a very strange bunch of people.

This set begins badly with The Impressionist, a story which works well on the page but doesn’t translate convincingly to the small screen - but I found myself gradually warming to this series. Nevertheless, it’s a million miles away from The (classic original) Outer Limits, and the 1950s Twilight Zone in terms of quality and style.


Ty Power

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