Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)

R | 93 mins | Horror, Anthology | 4 May 1990

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HISTORY

Tales From the Darkside: The Movie contains three tales and a frame story. The tales, in order, are titled: “Lot 249,” “Cat From Hell,” and “Lover’s Vow.” The first two are adaptations of short stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1892 and Stephen King in 1977. The third, “Lover’s Vow,” was written for the film anthology.
       Tales From the Darkside: The Movie was based on a half-hour syndicated television series that ran from 1983 to 1988.
       The 25 Oct 1989 Var noted that principal photography began 15 Aug 1989 in New York City. The $6-million production wrapped roughly two months later, according to the 19 Oct 1989 Newsday.
       Reviews were generally lukewarm. The 7 May 1990 DV noted that the film was “significantly gorier than its namesakeTV series,” but was otherwise predictable and hobbled by television production values. The 7 May 1990 LAT reported that Tales From the Darkside: The Movie “scared up $5 million” during its first week in theaters.
       End credits contain the following acknowledgments: “The producers wish to thank the City of Yonkers and Dee Barbato; Stephen F. Breimer; Laurie Cartwright; Peter Chema; Bert Cohen; Sheldon Cooper; Peter Dekom; Donald Hacker; Jim Hannafin; Nicolas Longo; Elio Pasato; Norman Samnick; Ira Schreck; Helen Shabason; Barbara Shulman; Henry Siegel; Paul Siegel; Melvyn B. Smith; Joey Violante; NYC Film Commission; NY State Film ... More Less

Tales From the Darkside: The Movie contains three tales and a frame story. The tales, in order, are titled: “Lot 249,” “Cat From Hell,” and “Lover’s Vow.” The first two are adaptations of short stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1892 and Stephen King in 1977. The third, “Lover’s Vow,” was written for the film anthology.
       Tales From the Darkside: The Movie was based on a half-hour syndicated television series that ran from 1983 to 1988.
       The 25 Oct 1989 Var noted that principal photography began 15 Aug 1989 in New York City. The $6-million production wrapped roughly two months later, according to the 19 Oct 1989 Newsday.
       Reviews were generally lukewarm. The 7 May 1990 DV noted that the film was “significantly gorier than its namesakeTV series,” but was otherwise predictable and hobbled by television production values. The 7 May 1990 LAT reported that Tales From the Darkside: The Movie “scared up $5 million” during its first week in theaters.
       End credits contain the following acknowledgments: “The producers wish to thank the City of Yonkers and Dee Barbato; Stephen F. Breimer; Laurie Cartwright; Peter Chema; Bert Cohen; Sheldon Cooper; Peter Dekom; Donald Hacker; Jim Hannafin; Nicolas Longo; Elio Pasato; Norman Samnick; Ira Schreck; Helen Shabason; Barbara Shulman; Henry Siegel; Paul Siegel; Melvyn B. Smith; Joey Violante; NYC Film Commission; NY State Film Commission.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
7 May 1990
p. 2, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 1990
p. 4, 16.
Los Angeles Times
7 May 1990
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
7 May 1990
Calendar, p. 8.
New York Times
5 May 1990
p. 16.
Newsday (Long Island, NY)
19 Oct 1989
p. 11.
Variety
25 Oct 1989
p. 28.
Variety
9 May 1990
p. 6.
Variety
9 May 1990
p. 30.
Variety
16 May 1990
p. 31.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
A Richard P. Rubinstein Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
WRITERS
Scr, "Lot 249"
Scr, "Cat From Hell"
Wrt, "Lover's Vow"
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst photog
2d asst photog
Still photog
Best boy elec
Electric
Electric
Key grip
Best boy grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Sketch artist
FILM EDITORS
Post prod supv
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutters
SET DECORATORS
Asst dec
Set dresser
Asst set dresser
Asst set dresser
Prop master
Prop master
Asst prop
Asst prop
Spec prop builder
Spec prop builder
Artwork by
Artwork by
Lead scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Asst scenic artist
Const coord
Lead carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Asst carpenter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
MUSIC
Orig mus by, "Wraparound Story"
Orig mus by, "Lot 249"
Orig mus by, "Lot 249"
Orig mus by, "Cat from Hell"
Orig mus by, "Lover's Vow"
Spec mus equip provided by
Mus for "Lot 249" eng by
Fortress Studios
Mus for "Lot 249" eng by
Mus for "Cat From Hell" eng by
Martins Studio
Mus for "Cat From Hell" eng by
Mus for "Lover's Vow" eng by
Wildcat Studios
Mus for "Lover's Vow" eng by
SOUND
The Looping Group
The Looping Group
The Looping Group
The Looping Group
The Looping Group
The Looping Group
The Looping Group
The Looping Group
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
ADR rec
ADR rec
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Spec gargoyle voice by
Post prod sd services provided by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec make-up eff
Spec make-up eff supv
Spec make-up eff supv
Spec make-up eff supv
Crew
Crew
Crew
Spec eff
Visual eff supv, "Lover's Vow" vis eff
Stop motion anim, "Lover's Vow" vis eff
Puppet fabrication, "Lover's Vow" vis eff
Opt supv, "Lover's Vow" vis eff
Visual eff photog, "Lover's Vow" vis eff
Visual eff photog, "Lover's Vow" vis eff
MAKEUP
Make-up eff consultant
Make-up/Hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
ADR voice casting
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst to Mr. Rubinstein
Asst to Mr. Galin
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Unit mgr
Prod coord
Sr financial exec
Sr legal exec
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Unit pub
Unit pub
Transportation coord
Driver
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Extras casting
Trainer, Brian McMillan's Animal Rental Unlimited
Trainer, Brian McMillan's Animal Rental Unlimited
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
ANIMATION
Stop motion anim, "Lovers Vow"
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
"Lot 249" inspired by a short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1892). "Cat From Hell" based on a short story by Stephen King (1977).
SONGS
Original Theme for “Tales From The Darkside,” composed by Donald A. Rubinstein and Erica Lindsay
Kromer, “Flute Quartet Allegro,” courtesy Group Pro Inc./Ole Georg
“The Way Of All Flesh,” composed and performed by Jim Manzie, produced by D. J. Holman and Pat Regan (Manzie Music).
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 May 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 4 May 1990
Production Date:
15 August--November 1989
Copyright Claimant:
Laurel Darkside Movie, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 May 1990
Copyright Number:
PA470445
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
93
Length(in feet):
8,384
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Preparing for her evening dinner party, housewife Betty, who is also a witch, opens a kitchen door to an adjoining dungeon, where Timmy, a small boy, is held prisoner. When Timmy throws a book titled Tales From the Darkside at the cell door, Betty asks which stories he likes. To distract Betty from cooking him in the oven for dinner, Timmy relates one of the tales: College student Andy Smith is worried the faculty will discover his sister, Susan, wrote the Penrose Fellowship proposal for her boyfriend, Lee Malkin, and expel them. Andy’s dorm mate, archaeology enthusiast Edward Bellingham, was also a candidate for the fellowship until an anonymous tipster accused him of stealing a pre-Columbian Zuni fetish from the college museum. When Bellingham hauls a box he bought at auction, marked “Lot 249,” into his room, he invites Andy and Lee to look inside at a wooden Egyptian sarcophagus that contains a mummy. Lee hurries to Susan's dorm to warn her that Bellingham appears to suspect that she accused him of stealing the fetish, but Susan is unconcerned because she has arranged his expulsion from school. Meanwhile, as Edward Bellingham unwraps the mummy, he describes to Andy how Egyptian embalmers used hooks to pull the brains out through the nose. Andy holds the mummy’s stomach open as Bellingham extracts various items from the cavity, including a papyrus marked with hieroglyphics. Later, Andy hears Bellingham chanting incantations. The electricity goes out, and as Andy stumbles in the dark to the fuse box, an unseen, foul-smelling figure pushes him aside. Bellingham comes out of his room with a ... +


Preparing for her evening dinner party, housewife Betty, who is also a witch, opens a kitchen door to an adjoining dungeon, where Timmy, a small boy, is held prisoner. When Timmy throws a book titled Tales From the Darkside at the cell door, Betty asks which stories he likes. To distract Betty from cooking him in the oven for dinner, Timmy relates one of the tales: College student Andy Smith is worried the faculty will discover his sister, Susan, wrote the Penrose Fellowship proposal for her boyfriend, Lee Malkin, and expel them. Andy’s dorm mate, archaeology enthusiast Edward Bellingham, was also a candidate for the fellowship until an anonymous tipster accused him of stealing a pre-Columbian Zuni fetish from the college museum. When Bellingham hauls a box he bought at auction, marked “Lot 249,” into his room, he invites Andy and Lee to look inside at a wooden Egyptian sarcophagus that contains a mummy. Lee hurries to Susan's dorm to warn her that Bellingham appears to suspect that she accused him of stealing the fetish, but Susan is unconcerned because she has arranged his expulsion from school. Meanwhile, as Edward Bellingham unwraps the mummy, he describes to Andy how Egyptian embalmers used hooks to pull the brains out through the nose. Andy holds the mummy’s stomach open as Bellingham extracts various items from the cavity, including a papyrus marked with hieroglyphics. Later, Andy hears Bellingham chanting incantations. The electricity goes out, and as Andy stumbles in the dark to the fuse box, an unseen, foul-smelling figure pushes him aside. Bellingham comes out of his room with a flashlight, and they hear Andy’s sister scream. They find her in the darkened stairway, complaining that someone knocked her down. Andy runs after the attacker, while Bellingham turns the lights back on. Susan plants the stolen Zuni fetish in Bellingham’s room and leaves. Meanwhile, the mummy breaks into Lee Malkin’s apartment, strangles him, and pulls his brains through his nose with the tip of a coat hanger. When Susan arrives, she finds Lee dead and the mummy walking out the back door. Telephoning police and her brother, Susan describes the man who killed Lee as thin, filthy, and stinking like rotten flowers. Meanwhile, university museum curator Dr. Casey and university Dean Murray go to Bellingham’s apartment on Susan’s tip and find the Zuni fetish. Despite Bellingham’s pleas of innocence, the dean expels him. Dr. Carey opens the sarcophagus and comments that it would have been a “nice acquisition” if a mummy had come with it. Andy arrives and asks Bellingham what happened to the mummy. Fearing the worst, Andy runs back to his sister’s place, breaks in, and finds Susan’s body. He returns to Bellingham’s apartment, knocks him down, and ties him up. Bellingham recites an incantation to reactivate the mummy, but Andy has prepared himself with a battery-powered handsaw. As the mummy attacks, Andy lops off one of its legs and then its head, and throws them into the fireplace. He also burns the papyrus scroll, then unties his prisoner. Bellingham packs and leaves the dormitory. Driving away in a taxi, he pulls out the real papyrus and laughs because Andy burned the wrong one. When Andy returns to his apartment, the mummified, revived remains of Susan and Lee are there, holding a brain hook. They tell him that Bellingham sends his regards. Betty likes Timmy's story, but she must start dinner and already has a place for him in the oven. However, Timmy insists she hear the book’s best story about a rich old man named Drogan who lives alone in a mansion. Professional hit man Halston arrives at Drogan’s mansion in a taxi and walks inside according to previous instructions. When Halston asks the identity of the target, the wheelchair-bound Drogan points to a black cat sitting in the doorway. Assuring Halston he is not joking, Drogan hands him $50,000 in an envelope and promises another $50,000 when his job is done. Drogan explains that he once shared the house with his sister, Amanda Drogan; her friend, Carolyn Broadmore; and a servant named Rick Gage. One day, the black cat showed up. Gage tried to shoo it away, but the feline always came back. Finally, Amanda invited the cat inside, and realizing her brother hated it, she enjoyed using the animal to aggravate him. Drogan asks if Halston knows who he is, and the hit man correctly identifies him as the owner of Drogan Pharmaceuticals, inventor of “Compound G,” a pain killer-tranquilizer-hallucinogen that, in Halston’s opinion, is “one step up from street junk.” Drogan informs him the cat killed the other residents. Amanda Drogan tripped over it on the staircase at midnight and broke her neck. Knowing Drogan wanted to kill it, Carolyn Broadmore locked the cat in her room, but at midnight, as she was sleeping, the cat covered her face and smothered her. When Gage captured the cat, Drogan sent him to the veterinarian in a nearby town to have it euthanized, but during the ride, at midnight, the cat got out of its box and caused Gage to crash. The cat returned to the house a week later. Halston observes that since Drogan was not present, there is no way for him to know the cat killed them at midnight, but Drogan is certain. Furthermore, he believes that now the cat wants to kill him, because when Compound G was being synthesized, his chemists fatally tested the drug on at least 5,000 laboratory cats. Suddenly, the cat jumps on Halston’s shoulder, settles in his lap, and purrs, but the moment Halston tells Drogan he could kill it, the cat claws his hand and leaps away. Drogan leaves in the taxi that brought Halston, but wants to see only the cat’s tail when he returns. After Drogan leaves, Halston opens his weapons kit. The cat leaps up his back, scratches his neck, and runs away. Angry that his expensive suit is bloodied, Halston searches the house. When the cat rips the crotch of his trousers, he fires his gun, but misses. The cat leaps again, scratches his face, and crawls inside his mouth and into his stomach. Drogan returns to find Halston dead. The clock chimes noon as the cat frees itself from Halston's body with a spray of blood, spattering the old man. It jumps into Drogan’s lap, shocking him into a heart attack. Betty compliments Timmy on picking a scary story, but the boy insists the next one is even scarier. It takes place in a New York City neighborhood that is empty at night. An artist named James Preston receives a telephone call from “Jer,” his bartender friend, who tells him that Preston’s agent, Mr. Wyatt, is waiting for him. Thinking Wyatt has a check for him, Preston hurries across the street from his studio, but Wyatt informs him that the art gallery cannot sell his work and wants him to clear it out tomorrow. Wyatt cannot live on ten percent of nothing and ends his relationship with Preston. The artist sits at the bar and drinks until closing time. Maddox, another customer, passes out, so Jer and Preston lock up and leave him. Outside, a gargoyle from the top of Preston’s building attacks Jer and decapitates him. Turning to Preston, the creature offers him a deal. It will let him live if he promises to never reveal what he saw. Preston promises, and with a slash of its claws across Preston’s chest, the gargoyle disappears. Soon afterward, Preston sees Carola, a young African-American woman, walking toward him in the alley. Fearing for her safety, he pulls her aside and asks what she is doing there. Carola tells him she is lost. Preston takes her to his studio to make a telephone call, and they talk. As he checks the slashes on his chest, Carola dabs them with alcohol-soaked cotton. He convinces her to spend the night, and they make love. In the morning, Preston asks Carola to stay. Outside, he sees police arresting Maddox, the drunk at the bar, and carrying away Jer’s body. When he returns to his studio, Carola is gone. He begins drawing with chalk, inspired by the gargoyle and its brutal murder of Jer, but when Carola returns with all her things, he hides his artwork. She explains that her roommate’s boyfriend moved in, and she had to leave. Carola told a friend of a gallery owner how good his art is, and now the owner wants to see his work. Preston is overwhelmed, because the owner oversees the most popular gallery in town. Preston’s luck changes. The gallery showcases his work, and during the opening party, one of his paintings sells for $23,000. Maddox walks in, having not seen Preston since the night Jer was murdered. He accuses the artist of knowing something, but Preston assures Maddox he knows “exactly nothing.” Later, Carola tells Preston she is pregnant, and he asks her to marry him. Ten years later, Carola and Preston are set to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the night they met. Their children, John and Margaret, are there, and so is Wyatt, Preston’s agent. At the end of the night, Wyatt goes out to look for a cab and the kids go to bed. Preston opens a box and takes out a model he made of a gargoyle. He explains to Carola that it killed Jer and made a pact of secrecy with him, which he has kept for ten years. He is only telling her now because she brought him ten years of a perfect life, and he loves her. Carola cries out in anguish. She transforms into the gargoyle, confessing that she loves him, but she must punish him for betraying his vow. The creature rips out Preston’s throat, then spreads its wings, crashes through the skylight, and resumes its spot on the top of Preston’s building. Betty agrees that Timmy saved the best for last. Timmy begins another story about himself tossing marbles on the floor to kill a witch. He tosses marbles on the floor, tripping Betty as she prepares to open the dungeon door. When she falls into the oven, Timmy picks up her key ring and frees himself. Eating a cookie, the boy declares he loves happy endings. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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