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Tales from the Darkside: Season 1

3.6 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This 30-minute horror/fantasy anthology series follows in the vein of The Twilight Zone. Each week presents another standalone story of horror fantasy, and/or science fiction. Some episodes are gruesome, a few are of a lighter comedic style. Like many such shows, Tales... adapted the work of famous genre authors of the period such as Harlan Ellison, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. Many episodes also featured veteran actors of the 40's and 50's that saw very little work in their later years.


A longtime favorite among fans of small-screen terror, the first season of the syndicated anthology series Tales from the Darkside (1983-1988) finally arrives on DVD to bring a new generation of viewers into its murky domain. The brainchild of producing partners George Romero (Night of the Living Dead) and Richard Rubinstein (Dawn of the Dead '78 and '04), Darkside's stories hewed closer to such straight-ahead fright fare as Night Gallery than the speculative fiction of The Twilight Zone or Amazing Stories (Darkside's chief competitor for viewers in its early season). Episodes revolved around deals with the Devil ("I'll Give You a Million," "Pain Killer"), paranormal phenomena and black magic ("Levitation," "Snip, Snip"), the unquiet dead (Robert Bloch's "A Case of the Stubborns," starring a young Christian Slater) and monsters both human ("The Anniversary") and otherwise ("In the Closet," directed by effects legend Tom Savini). Budgetary restraints blunted some of the show's special effects, and while those haven't improved with time, the best of the first-season episodes--"Closet," "Stubborns," and the Romero-penned pilot "Trick or Treat"--still retain the power to raise hairs in their brief running time. Other technical aspects remain solid, with scripts written by or based on stories by Stephen King, Harlan Ellison and Michael McDowell and stars like Danny Aiello, Victor Garber and Justine Bateman. The entire first season is compiled edit-free on the three-disc set; Romero's commentary on "Trick or Treat" covers the show's conception and his influences. --Paul Gaita

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Sparer, Catherine Battistone, John Marzilli, Karen Shallo, Neil Kinsella
  • Directors: Bob Balaban, Timna Ranon
  • Writers: Franco Amurri, George A. Romero, Scott D. Jackson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Full Screen, Color, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: February 10, 2009
  • Run Time: 533 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001LM64VA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,415 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tales from the Darkside: Season 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
News of the release of Darkside's first season on DVD was long awaited. Unfortunately, the product ultimately delivered was a tremendous disappointment. Please be aware that all of the show's original music has been changed here for every episode as far as I can tell, with the exception of "Inside the Closet", which is presented with its original score. In all fairness to the producers of the set, this music alteration is mentioned on the back of the DVD case, along with a statement about some episodes that may be modified. However, these facts are stated nowhere in the amazon.com product description, so many buyers may find this out after the fact.

It appears that music library licensing has forced the producers of this set to strip the series of all of its original soundtracks. I find it somewhat difficult to believe that compensatory arrangements couldn't have been made with the original composers or their families in order to allow for this music to be included in the DVD release. Consider the DVD release of The Twilight Zone, for example. Beyond the 4 or 5 major composers that contributed music to that series (Herrmann, Goldsmith, Constant, etc), there were a plethora of other musicians that contributed little musical cues, as confirmed by the new Zone book by Martin Grams. With this in mind, the Zone DVDs still present all of the original music from the series. Again, I find it difficult to believe that the producers of the Darkside DVD set could not have done the same.

I personally would have paid $20 to $40 more for the set if it included the original music. For me, the inclusion of altered music makes the DVD set utterly unacceptable and unwatchable.
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Format: DVD
I really can't believe that I'm on Amazon actually giving a Tales from the Darkside product a negative review... but here I am doing just that. I consider myself one of the biggest "Darkside" fans ever. I have been waiting 15 years for this show to get the treatment it so rightfully deserves, and what does Paramount/CBS DVD do? They TAKE OUT ALMOST EVERY PEICE OF ORIGINAL MUSIC IN EVERY EPISODE! I have the entire series made from TV airings burned onto DVD from my DVR, and these DVD's only improve on the picture quality a microscopic bit. Grain is apparent everywhere. This is inexcusable. If they can make Night of the Living Dead look like it was made yesterday, then they can fix up an 80's show!!! Speaking of "Night of the Living Dead", all of the musical tracks from "Night" as well as "Creepshow" ( two of George Romero's most remembered films ) are taken out completely. Funny thing is, "Night of the Living Dead" is in the public domain, so this couldn't be a rights issue. So what do we get instead? An incredibly inferior alternate soundtrack that sounds like someone is playing around on a Casio keyboard. This is the first review I have ever done for Amazon, and I am really sorry that it has to be a negative one, but come on Paramount! You can't get anything right! Can you watch Titanic, Rocky, or Star Wars with the soundtrack completely changed? Of course... but why would you want to? It would be almost a sin. But Paramount likes to experiment with this on one of the greatest and creepiest shows of all time. What do I rate "Tales from the Darkside" as a series? That's easy: 6/5. What do I rate this set? I've had bowel movements that have been better. Hopefully, if enough people complain, this will be rectified... and I'm praying that's the case so that this show won't be remembered as "That 80's show with the bad soundtrack"! Paramount is the devil.
24 Comments 73 of 86 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Like other reviewers, I've been an avid fan of this series since it premiered when I was a kid. So, when my brother broke the news to me last week that the first season would be released on dvd, I ordered my copy immediately. Shipping took 2 days from the time of availability. I thought, "this is too goood to be true." Well, it is. The big problem I have with the release is that A FEW EPISODES DO NOT CONTAIN THE ORIGINAL MUSIC. Now, I'm not referring to the beginning and ending titles. That music is the same. Just do me the favor of comparing the Youtube versions of "Trick or Treat" and "The Odds" with the versions on the disk. You will notice markedly different music throughout the course of the episode. And these are two of the greatest episodes in the series!!!

Many people would find this trivial; to have the episodes in one place for the first time is enough. However, I am certain there are fans out there for whom this has been a long anticipated event who will be disappointed. My memories of this show are not just the stories: they are the images, the diaglogue and, yes, THE MUSIC. George Romero should be ashamed of himself.

Now, it is possible that having been syndicated, these episodes were not shown with the original music since their first airing. I invite anyone to prove that assumption; it would be reassuring.
7 Comments 48 of 57 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
I will keep it short and sweet. I have read alot of reviews regarding this set. Many points are valid. I miss the original scores of music and the picture quality could have been better, but, I enjoyed watching this series again. I loved the stories, and all the cheesiness that went with this series. I agree with everyone that they could have put a little more love and care into bringing this to DVD, but can't you/we just enjoy the fact that they DID bring it to DVD. That is all. OH! One other thing. They need to bring the series, MONSTERS to DVD. Anyone else remember that show?
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The case
I like the case. It is space saving and the cover art is creepy. The cost savings on the case, soundtrack, and keeping the grainy original look all helped make this dvd a reality. Paramount knows this show is a cult classic and that they will not sell a great amount of units so they had to skimp... Read More
Feb 13, 2009 by Remy LeBeau |  See all 4 posts
bradbury on tv
the ray bradbury theater. it's on dvd for $15. all 65 episodes.
Feb 10, 2009 by William R. Dunn |  See all 2 posts
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