Tales from the Darkside: Season One (V)

release date February 10 2009
studio Paramount Home Entertainment
director Bob Balaban, Bruce Dolin, Timna Ranon
writer Franco Amurri, George A. Romero, Scott D. Jackson
starring Paul Sparer, Catherine Battistone, John Marzilli, Karen Shallo, Neil Kinsella


A longtime favorite among fans of small-screen terror, the first season of the syndicated anthology series Tales from the Darkside (1983-1988) finally arrives on DVD to bring a new generation of viewers into its murky domain. The brainchild of producing partners George Romero (Night of the Living Dead) and Richard Rubinstein (Dawn of the Dead '78 and '04), Darkside's stories hewed closer to such straight-ahead fright fare as Night Gallery than the speculative fiction of The Twilight Zone or Amazing Stories (Darkside's chief competitor for viewers in its early season). Episodes revolved around deals with the Devil ("I'll Give You a Million," "Pain Killer"), paranormal phenomena and black magic ("Levitation," "Snip, Snip"), the unquiet dead (Robert Bloch's "A Case of the Stubborns," starring a young Christian Slater) and monsters both human ("The Anniversary") and otherwise ("In the Closet," directed by effects legend Tom Savini). Budgetary restraints blunted some of the show's special effects, and while those haven't improved with time, the best of the first-season episodes--"Closet," "Stubborns," and the Romero-penned pilot "Trick or Treat"--still retain the power to raise hairs in their brief running time. Other technical aspects remain solid, with scripts written by or based on stories by Stephen King, Harlan Ellison and Michael McDowell and stars like Danny Aiello, Victor Garber and Justine Bateman. The entire first season is compiled edit-free on the three-disc set; Romero's commentary on "Trick or Treat" covers the show's conception and his influences.

Official Review

Tales From the Darkside—a syndicated horror anthology series originally broadcast from 1983-88—is remembered more for narrator Paul Sparer’s ominous preamble (“a place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit”) than its mind-blowing episodes. A general dearth of televised anthology series followed the cancelation of Night Gallery in 1973, but after the unexpected box office success of Creepshow (’82), the George Romero-produced Tales From the Darkside helped jump-start a new wave of televised anthologies, paving the way for programs like The New Twilight Zone (1985-89), Amazing Stories (1985-87) and the far gorier Monsters (1988-91). …Read More

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