February 19th, 2007


Tales from the Darkside

On Thursday, the SciFi Channel ran that Tales from the Darkside marathon I mentioned. I taped a sampling of them and finally got around to watching a couple last night.

Oh. My. God.

It's everything I remember and so much more! The terrible camera work, the laughable writing, the wooden acting, the unbelievable cheapness, the scary '80s hair and clothes, the awful incidental synthesizer music, Mallory from Family Ties...Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

The first episode I watched was called "Inside the Closet", and it's the exact same setup as Lovecraft's "The Dreams in the Witch-House": a grad student (female this time) moves into cheap lodging and discovers something weird in the walls. Unlike Lovecraft's story, though, this one made no sense at all. There was no logic to the creature's actions or the backstory or when the mysterious closet where the creature lives will be open and when it will be locked, or anything really. The episode was directed by Tom Savini, who I suppose created the creature too, which was an idiotic-looking puppet that made me chuckle every time it was onscreen. The episode did star the head-in-a-pan guy from Re-Animator, though, so that's something. Also, it reminded me that women in the '80s always slept with their makeup and lipstick on.

The second was "Mookie & Pookie" with Mallory as one half of a pair of fraternal twins. Her brother dies of some unnamed illness that kept him in bed but with perfect hair and deep dimples on his fresh-scrubbed, clean-shaven cheeks. Anyway, he was a computer geek and Mallory becomes convinced he's in the computer now. Or something. No one believes her until the end, when her brother speaks through the computer and then they all play Scrabble and laugh while Mallory wears giant '80s ribbons in her hair.

I can't wait to see more! One of the other two episodes I taped was, I think, the adaptation of Stephen King's oh-so-'80s story "Word Processor of the Gods". Eeeeeee!

Tales from the Darkside, Part Two

This afternoon, I watched the other two episodes I taped of Tales from the Darkside. Such cheesy goodness!

"I'll Give You a Million" is about a mean old rich guy who offers another mean old rich guy -- who looked remarkably like Tom Monteleone from certain angles -- a million dollars for his soul. It's a scam, Mean Old Rich Guy #1 knows Mean Old Rich Guy #2 is dying and scared all of a sudden about his soul because he's been a mean rich dude all his life, and he fully expects Mean Old Rich Guy #2 to buy the contract back for two million, thus providing a nice profit. But -- OH SNAP! -- Mean Old Rich Guy #2 winds up dying before the contract can be terminated! He shows up at Mean Old Rich Guy #1's house, looking all scary-decomposed despite the fact that he just died like two seconds before, and desperate to hand over his soul because -- DOUBLE SNAP! -- the Devil is coming for it! Then the Devil shows up and Mean Old Rich Guy #1 dies of a heart attack from all the scary booga-booga going on and the Devil collects both their souls and burns the words "Paid In Full" into Mean Old Rich Guy #1's chest hair. It's like the worst short story you've ever read on the sloppiest webzine in the world, only in moving pictures.

"The Word Processor of the Gods", on the other hand, was the best of the bunch, probably because of the Stephen King source material. Bruce Davison, in full Harry Anderson mode, uses the magic word processor his now-deceased whiz-kid nephew built to "delete" his mean, annoying wife and son and replace them with better people, namely his deceased sister-in-law and the aforementioned nephew. It's one of the few Tales from the Darkside episodes with a coherent backstory, internal logic, and a happy ending.

I really enjoyed seeing these episodes again, even the sucky ones. It brought back a lot of great memories. Now I want them all on DVD!