Tales from the Darkside: The Second Season

Tales from the Darkside: The Second Season
Before Julianne Moore was ripped open with a pair of scissors and stuffed with flowers in 1990 feature horror anthology Tales from the Darkside there was as a successful half-hour television series of the same name that ran for four seasons. Each episode played out as a brief morality tale with an ironic spin, featuring mean-spirited characters receiving their comeuppance, when not preaching the perils of scientific advancement. Writers to the tune of Stephen King and George Romero kept the series at the forefront of the pop culture lexicon of the mid-'80s, attracting names like John Heard and Lisa Bonet for key guest appearances. This three-disc DVD set features all 24-episodes of the second season, both good and bad, looking weathered with time, as dirt and scratches are visible throughout. While time has not been kind to some instalments, such as "The Impressionist," wherein an impersonator must learn to communicate with an alien that looks a little bit like a blue Styrofoam scrotum, others hold up rather well, such as "The Last Car," which features a young woman trapped on a train car with a group of peculiar strangers. Those that enjoy seeing known actors tackle embarrassing early roles may find amusement in seeing Marcia Cross play a vampire or Penelope Ann Miller as a creature from another dimension, when not questioning Seth Green's dental work in "Monsters in My Room," where he plays an effeminate eight-year-old teased by his stepfather. The only supplement included with the DVD set is a brief discussion with George Romero about his episode, "The Devil's Advocate," where Jerry Stiller plays a misanthropic, hate-spewing radio show host who slowly turns into a demon while trapped in a sound booth. In case we didn't know, Romero points out that he was delivering another round of social commentary. Fans of horror anthologies and anyone feeling nostalgic should enjoy this passable and occasionally amusing box set. (Paramount)