“Four Ghoulish Fables in One Modern Nightmare”
Tales from the Darkside: The Movie is an American horror anthology film directed by John Harrison, and based on the anthology television series Tales from the Darkside. The film depicts a kidnapped paperboy who tells three stories of horror to the suburban witch who is preparing to eat him, à la Hansel and Gretel.
The film is sometimes said to have been intended as Creepshow 3, a sequel to George A. Romero and Stephen King‘s popular horror anthologies Creepshow and Creepshow 2. However, this is not supported by any real evidence. Tom Savini has been quoted as saying that this film is the real Creepshow 3, which could be how the rumour started, though he may just have been referring to the similar nature of the movies and the involvement of King and Romero. The story titled “Cat from Hell” was originally going to appear in Creepshow 2, but was scrapped due to budgetary reasons.
The movie opens with Betty, an affluent suburban housewife and modern-day witch (Blondie‘s Deborah Harry), planning a dinner party. The main dish is to be Timmy (Matthew Lawrence), a young boy whom she has captured and chained up in her pantry. To stall her from stuffing and roasting him, the boy tells her three horror stories from a book she gave him, titled Tales from the Darkside.
The three segments were: “Lot 249”, based on an Arthur Conan-Doyle story, “Lot No 249”, and starring Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore and Christian Slater; “Cat From Hell”, a George A Romero adaptation of a Stephen King short story; and “Lover’s Vow”, starring James Remar and Rae Dawn Chong.
In the epilogue, Betty remarks that Timmy saved the best story for last, but he says that he hasn’t told her the really best story yet and that this one has a happy ending. She tells him that he should have done it earlier, because now it’s too late and she has to start cooking him to be ready in time for her party, and that none of the stories in the book have happy endings. As Betty advances on Timmy, he tells her this story, his own, narrating his own actions as he trips her by throwing some marbles on the floor. Betty slips and falls on her butcher’s block, impaling herself on her tools. Timmy releases himself and pushes her into her own oven. The film ends with Timmy helping himself to a cookie and breaking the fourth wall by asking us, “Don’t you love happy endings?” [Wikipedia]
Watch the trailer on the Paramount Movies YouTube Channel.