Tales from the Darkside Sn 4

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 09:02

Tales from the Darkside - Season 4 on DVD nowGeorge A Romero’s Tales from the Darkside returns for a fourth and final time with a slightly shorter but no less ghoulish, 20-episode run. Spread across four discs, this season features the usual mixture of chilling and entertaining tales about monsters, demonic forces, death, sin and punishment, and the occasional left-field story for good measure. Be warned, though, as there is always time to squeeze in one more episode…

The impressive list of contributing writers includes Stephen King (“The Shining”), Clive Barker (“Hellraiser”), Robert Bloch (“Psycho”), Michael McDowell (“Beetlejuice”) and SF author Lois McMaster Bujold (the “Vorkosigan” saga). Actors include Deborah Harry (aka Blondie), Stephen McHattie (“The Fountain”), Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5), Barry Dennen (“Jesus Christ Superstar”), Divine (“Hairspray”) and Arthur Taxier (“Donnie Darko”).

It may just be me, but I am convinced that this final run has more hits than previous seasons, as though the makers put in the extra effort to see Tales from the Darkside go out on a high. There are a few unconvincing episodes, of course, but the overall standard is pretty good.

The strongest instalments burrow under your skin or make you laugh at their daft characters. For example, “Mary, Mary” features a woman who uses a mannequin to represent her in dating tapes, but when her intrigued neighbour comes round, he finds out that the truth is something even more bizarre. In the decidedly macabre “No Strings”, a puppeteer is forced to put on a show for a violent mobster, only this time the puppet is the corpse of the criminal’s sworn enemy.

Other quality episodes include “The Yattering and Jack”, an amusing tale about a demonic dwarf who strives a little too hard to claim the soul of a loving father, and “Love Hungry” about a plump woman who falls for the impossible promises of a weight-loss company. Their products cause the wearer to perceive that items of food come to life and plead for their survival. The sight of a banana, pear and an apple with little scared faces is brilliantly silly!

The writing does occasionally telegraph the ending of an episode too clearly, but on the other hand this can be a strength if you cannot wait for the greedy or murderous victim to get their comeuppance. Other times you have no idea what is going on or where the story is going, as in “Mary, Mary” mentioned above.

In common with previous seasons, some of the episodes come across as cheap and rushed, but the problem is less pronounced this time around. A few tales feature very strong visual effects, such as the lupine “Family Reunion”, but others get around their budgetary constraints through strong acting, imaginative use of sound and the potent suggestion of something terrible happening just off the screen.

I have enjoyed reviewing all four seasons of Tales from the Darkside, and I am sad to see it come to an end. The journey has had its ups and downs, but each box set has contained some real horror anthology gems, and I recommend you take a peek inside.

Tales from the Darkside - Season 4 (1987-88) is out now, courtesy of Revelation Films. The 4-disc box set has a running time of 433 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £19.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 09:18

denizli escort denizli escort