Tales From the Darkside: The First Season Various Directors

With the success of Stephen King and George Romero's cinematic throwback to the pulp horror comics of the '50s, Creepshow, it became apparent that the anthology format of the film was ideally suited to television. In 1983, one year after Creepshow, Romero launched a TV series in the same vein: Tales From the Darkside. Each episode was comprised of a half-hour short story, mostly horror, with some sci-fi occasionally, often with an ironic twist ending. While some episodes are a lot of fun, most people will find that the first DVD release of Darkside conflicts with their memory of the show, finding it more dated than frightening. The best episodes of the season include "Word Processor of the Gods," based on a Stephen King short story in which an unhappy writer (Bruce Davison) is able to change his life after receiving a mysterious package, "I'll Give You a Million" with Keenan Wynn as a curmudgeonly millionaire who offers to buy his friend's soul and the unfortunately titled "Slippage" with David Patrick Kelly as an artist who begins to slip away from existence. As a blast of nostalgia, the new DVD set is ideal but for any new viewers, Tales From the Darkside isn't quite good enough to be scary, and not quite bad enough to be considered camp. Another problem with watching the show in retrospect is that it was essentially eclipsed seven years later by the darker, more nuanced EC Comics adaptation Tales From the Crypt. Still, if you grew up in the '80s, Darkside is definitely worth revisiting, but be warned: the stories are very hit and miss. The only extra feature is an audio commentary with horror movie hero George A. Romero. (Paramount)