Tales from the Darkside: The Movie

Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition Review)

Short stories are sometimes the most intriguing; because the writing is more sharply focused in order to swiftly get the intent across. This in mind, in the world of Horror entertainment the short story also is one that stimulates the senses if done well… particularly in what is called an anthology film. 

Looking back, the anthology format – a collection of three or more short films with different characters, but usually with a wrap-around story – has been utilized countless times through the decades dating back to 1945’s Dead of Night, and moving forward into the ‘70s with titles like 1972’s Tales from the Crypt. Then in the ‘80s several more anthology films emerged, but none more spectacular than 1982’s Creepshow. Directed by George A. Romero, written by Stephen King, and produced by Richard P. Rubinstein, the success of Creepshow no doubt opened the door for similar projects down the line. Breaking down this short list of predecessors, one of the biggest was the Tales from the Darkside television series.

Tales from the Darkside: The Movie
Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)

Originally premiering just before Halloween of 1983, Romero’s creation of Tales from the Darkside would go on to air four seasons with stories that mixed in Horror, Black Comedy, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi. A series that featured a list of contributors, including writing from Romero, direction from Tom Savini, and production from Rubinstein, there was also the unforgettable theme music composed by Donald Rubinstein. Then there was John Harrison, a longtime collaborator of Romero, who even composing the soundtrack for 1985’s Day of the Dead,  that would also write/direct a list of episodes of Tales from the Darkside during the series’ run. Factors important to draw attention to, as the ‘90s drew close Harrison was called on by Paramount Pictures to direct a Tales from the Darkside feature film. An exciting prospect for fans of Creepshow and 1987’s Creepshow 2Tales from the Darkside: The Movie was eventually given green light and made its way to theaters in May of 1990.

A film that true fans and those closest to the work often referred to as the unofficial Creepshow 3, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie stayed true to the approach and style viewers had grown to appreciate with prior Creepshow films. Thanks in part to Rubinstein onboard as the producer (who had worked on previously mentioned projects with Romero, but also 1978’s Dawn of the Dead), and of course with Harrison acting as the director, the film included three tales with a strong wrap-around plot that was modern, yet classic in every sense of the word. Key ingredients for a solid Horror film, it also featured an absolute stellar cast led by Blondie’s Debbie Harry, Christian Slater, David Johansen, William Hickey, James Remar, Rae Dawn Chong, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, Robert Klein, and a very young Matthew Lawrence.

All elements that are intriguing, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie attained decent success at the box office, and to many fans, is one of the better Horror films to emerge from the ‘90s era. Sustaining its legacy in the decades to follow, it was initially released to DVD back in 2001 and 2006, as a three-disc triple feature with Graveyard Shift and April Fool’s Day in 2007, before making its way to Blu-Ray in 2020. Offering fans a list of home viewing options, perhaps the most exciting to come down the pike line is the 2023 release of Tales from the Darkside: The Movie as a 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition.

Tales from the Darkside: The Movie
Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)

Released on November 28th of 2023 through Scream Factory, this latest edition could possibly be the best yet to emerge. For starters, it features the unmistakable original theatrical poster art (both on the in-lay and slipcase). This is a huge plus; because while you cannot always judge anything by the cover, the prior home media releases’ artworks never truly matched up. Beyond this, this new collection comes as a two-disc 4K Ultra HD and Blu-Ray set; collectively offering a ton of bonus features such as audio commentaries, interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, theatrical trailers, and more. Content which was included with the 2020 Blu-Ray Scream Factory release, the added bonus this time around is a supplement audio commentary from Film Critics Emily Higgins and Billy Dunham.

All very solid and satisfying, the biggest and boldest aspect of this new release is the 4K transfer from the original camera negative. Offering a deeper, more clarified image, the colors are also brighter; making for a presentation that is nothing less than stellar. And if you are curious if the scan is that much different than the 2020 Blu-Ray edition… there is honestly a significant shift in the quality that is worth feasting your eyes on.

In all, Scream Factory has successfully put together the most complete version of Tales from the Darkside: The Movie that has been offered to the public over the last two plus decades. The packaging is what fans want, the features are fun to dig into, and the 4K scan is absolutely lovely. So, if you are a fan of this film, or simply someone who remembers watching it years back and want to give it another look, this Collector’s Edition is certainly worth every penny. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Scream Factory’s 4K Ultra HD + Blu-Ray Collector’s Edition release of Tales from the Darkside: The Movie 5 out of 5 stars. 

Tales from the Darkside: The Movie poster
Tales from the Darkside: The Movie / Scream Factory (2023)

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