As a junior high student who rented and re-rented George Romero’s “Creepshow” to the point of memorization, it was with extreme anticipation that I looked forward to the premiere of his syndicated horror anthology, “Tales from the Darkside,” in 1984.
I can still remember the Saturday night it premiered, with me and my younger brother watching it in our unlit kitchen, and being genuinely frightened by its ominous opening credits. Those goosebumps rose again after inserting the first disc of “Tales from the Darkside: The First Season” into the DVD player.
Among the 24 episodes on this three-disc set, be sure to try:
“Trick or Treat,” the Romero-directed pilot (on which he provides commentary) with Barnard Hughes as a greedy, Scrooge-like businessman who runs the most unique haunted house for kids every Halloween; “The Word Processor of the Gods,” based on a Stephen King tale, in which Bruce Davidson’s computer manipulates the real world (in hilariously outdated technology) by whatever he types; and “Inside the Closet,” directed by effects guru Tom Savini, where Fritz Weaver’s female boarder discovers a rat in her room “¦ which isn’t a rat at all!
Story quality from one ep to the next is inconsistent, but these low-budget efforts are, by and large, a lot of fun, even if you’ve never seen the show. While not all are successful, the series generates some worthy monster-driven scares and supernatural thrills “¦ even outside of its credits. Can’ t wait for season two!