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Film / Tales from the Darkside: The Movie

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A horror Anthology Film based on Tales from the Darkside television series, released 1990.

In the film's Framing Device, Betty, a modern day witch, has captured a little boy named Timmy in order to turn him into a dinner. Timmy stalls her by reading three tales from the favourite book of her childhood: Tales from the Darkside.

  1. Lot 249: A college student (Steve Buscemi) uses his recently purchased mummy to enact vengeance on those who have wronged him. Based on a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle.
  2. The Cat from Hell: An old businessman hires a hitman to kill a cat, which he claims has killed the other members of his household. Based on a short story by Stephen King; script by George A. Romero.
  3. Lover's Vow: After an artist (James Remar) witnesses a gargoyle killing a person, it makes him vow to never tell about it. Based on the legend of Yuki-onna from Lafcadio Hearn's Kwaidan.

The film in general:

  • Bloodier and Gorier: The movie didn't have to worry about broadcast rules.
  • The Film of the Series: Not only that...
    • Title Drop: We have the book Timmy reads from actually being called "Tales from the Darkside", making this the only time the title had any relevance in the series proper.
  • Grand Finale: Ignoring the attempts at a reboot, including the IDW miniseries, this is currently the official end of the Darkside franchise.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Creepshow and Creepshow 2. Considering on how the television series was initially pitched as a spinoff to Creepshow, it isn't much of a stretch.
    • In fact, Tom Savini has gone on record to state that this is the real Creepshow 3, unlike the In Name Only one that came out 16 years later.


Lot 249

  • Antagonist Title: The mummy is referred to as Lot 249, taken from its auction number.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Andy saws off the mummy's leg and snaps off its arm before killing it for good.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Bellingham ultimately gets the last laugh, an Adaptational Alternate Ending of the original story where he was defeated.
  • Cassandra Truth: Discussed: in the middle of dealing with the mummy, Andy assures Bellingham that he won't call the cops over this, as there is no way they would believe him.
  • Groin Attack: Andy threatens to roast Bellingham's nuts when he has him tied to a chair.
  • Hooks and Crooks: The mummy kills Lee by removing his brain through his nostrils with a coathanger.
  • Mummy: An Egyptian one.
  • Neck Lift: The mummy has one hand holding Lee against a wall several inches off the floor, while the other hand has the aforementioned coathanger.
  • Reality Ensues: With the mummy being thousands of years old it leaves its body open for vulnerability. Which Andy takes full advantage of during the final portion of the act.
  • No-Sell: Upon seeing the mummy approach him, instead of freaking out, Andy instantly drops down to the floor to saw its leg off with the turkey cutter. He doesn't even view the mummy as a threat, letting out a chuckle upon seeing it climb onto Bellingham before going for the mummy's head.
  • Off with His Head!: Andy kills the mummy by decapitating it, and placing its head on the fireplace.
  • Shout-Out: Bellingham says that he lost the Penrose Fellowship after being accused of stealing a "Zuni fetish." This is a shout-out to Trilogy of Terror, another horror Anthology Film.

The Cat from Hell

  • Animal Testing: Drogan believes that the cat has come to make him pay for the thousands of dead cats that were tested with his drug.
  • As You Know: Halston reminds Drogan about his business to provide exposition to audience.
  • Attack the Mouth: Halston is killed by the cat leaping into his mouth, and then the cat goes far enough down Halston's throat to cause him to choke to death.
  • Black Comedy: A cartoonish insertion noise can be heard as the cat enters Halston's mouth.
  • Body Horror: Just wait until you see what that darn cat does at the end.
  • Cats Are Mean: Or just this one cat, seeking revenge.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Johansen just hams up the part. He keeps chewing the scenery even when the cat is crawling in Halston's mouth.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The cat not only goes after some people who made millions on a drug that was fatally tested on thousands of cats, but also a servant who merely happened to work for them. In fairness, Drogan sent said servant to take the cat out and kill it.
  • Eat the Camera: When the cat leaps into Halston's mouth, it's done with a shot of the camera going right at Halston's face.
  • Eldritch Abomination: If it wasn't obvious from the vignette's title and backstory that the cat is no ordinary feline, it certainly is by the time the cat is shrugging off .44 slugs and crawling down a man's esophagus to kill him.
  • Groin Attack: At one point the cat attacks Halston and claws through the bottom of his pants, only centimeters away from where his crotch is.
  • More Dakka: Growing frustrated with the cat, Halston picks up the biggest gun from his suitcase to finish it off.
  • Orifice Evacuation: When Drogan returns home to see if Halston has succeeded, the cat removes itself from Halston's corpse though the mouth it came in, causing Drogan to have a heart attack.
  • Orifice Invasion: After the cat leaps into Halston's mouth and kills him, the cat forces itself all the way into Halston's body through his throat. It spends the night resting in Halston's torso.
  • Professional Killer: Halston is a hitman.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Halston makes several failed attempts to catch the cat before considering simply using one of the guns in his case. He finally does get fed up enough to go straight for his Hand Cannon, only to have the bullet harmlessly pass through the cat.

Lover's Vow

  • Adult Fear: There's little other way to characterize a story where the main character is a barely-employed entrepreneur on the verge of starvation. Or where the protagonist's wife leaves him and takes their children with her, even if in this case it's for supernatural reasons rather than divorce.
    • Considering the manner in which she "divorces" him, he'd probably have preferred the legal way.
  • Cradling Your Kill: The gargoyle enfolds/cradles her husband in her bat-like wings and bites him on the neck, laying him gently on the ground as he bleeds to death. She then howls in remorse.
  • Downer Ending: It turns out that Carola was actually the gargoyle, and Preston inadvertently broke his promise in telling her, so he is killed.
  • Loophole Abuse: Inverted: as it turns out, telling the gargoyle about the gargoyle still counts as telling anyone about the gargoyle.
  • Loose Lips: It takes years, but Preston in the end can't let go of the guilt of seeing someone get killed by a monster unless he tells someone. Just his luck that it would be to the one person most likely to get upset about him breaking his promise...
  • Magically Binding Contract: The way the gargoyle acts implies that her deal with Preston was this trope: she doesn't want to kill him, but because he broke his promise, she has to.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: Not just a stony beast, it can also turn into a human.
  • The Reveal: After Preston tells Carola about his encounter with the gargoyle, she reveals that she is the gargoyle in question.
  • Spoiler Title: No points for guessing how.
  • Taken for Granite: In the end, the gargoyle places itself on a roof and turns into stone.

The wraparound story

  • Asshole Victim: Betty, considering what she planned to do to Timmy.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: After killing Betty, Timmy turns to the audience, eats a cookie and proclaims how he loves happy endings.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Betty always talks to Timmy in a calm manner and doesn't even raise her voice at him once even though it's clear she's realizing he's stalling for time reading from the book and starting to get annoyed by it, and all while she's preparing to cook him alive.
  • Homage: To Hansel and Gretel, just with no Gretel.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: While the other stories all end in a Downer Ending, the wraparound segment winds up being a case of Earn Your Happy Ending as Timmy is able to escape being eaten.
  • Murder by Cremation: Timmy kills Betty when he pushes her into her own oven.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Astute viewers may notice that neither Betty nor Timmy use the word "witch" in their conversation; this is implied by the broomstick leaning against the wall in the first scene and Betty's actions.
  • Slippery Skid: Timmy throws marbles to cell floor to make Betty trip.

Alternative Title(s): Tales From The Darkside


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