136 of 148 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2009
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. For all of its campiness, low production value and overall marginal episode quality, I really feel that the music of this series was well written and indispensable. Some viewers, and especially anyone new to the show, may not care about the altered soundtrack. However, for anyone with even a casual admiration for the series, I would think that the changes made here will be of great concern.
Regarding the picture quality of the DVD release, it appears that no effort was made by the producers to improve upon or re-master the video. This being said, I would not say that the visual quality is poor. It is at best average, but does not take away from the enjoyment of the viewing experience. That said, it is my opinion that the visual quality of the program as aired on the Sci Fi channel is better than what one would get with the DVD release. If nothing else, this is still disappointing.
There are two other very minor issues that I would like to mention. This is really nitpicking on my part, but hopefully it can be of value to someone. First, the commentary by creator George Romero that is advertised in the product description appears to be nothing more than bits taken from an interview done with him around the time of the creation of the series circa 1983. In other words, Romero has not been actively involved in contributing any new material to the DVD release, which he could easily have done. This is in a way deceptive advertising, as the product description leads one to believe that Romero provided new commentary for the purpose of the DVD release. In addition, this supposed commentary appears as an option for only one episode, the pilot "Trick or Treat". My initial impression after learning of the inclusion of commentary was that Romero would sit down and review at least 5 of the most well written episodes of the season. The second gripe is virtually meaningless, but something that was still disappointing. The show's commercial bumpers are not included in the set. This is trivial, but I cannot help to again reference the DVD release of The Twilight Zone, which does include all of the original show bumpers as each episode went to commercial. In virtually every way, the Zone DVD release is IMO the model for which all other TV programs should strive. Unfortunately, this release came nowhere near to satisfying what the fans of the program deserve.
73 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2009
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.
48 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2009
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.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2009
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?
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This is one of the most beloved anthologies to hit TV besides "Tales from the Crypt" or "Twilight Zone". From George A. Romero who gave us the Living Dead saga and Richard P. Rubinstein (Producer of "Creepshow", "Dawn of the Dead 1978 and 2004" and "Pet Sematary") originally pitched this as a TV spin-off to their successful 1982 classic "Creepshow" but instead they wanted to not just throw horror stories but also Sci-fi and fantasy stories just like "Twilight Zone" or "Outer Limits" thus "Tales from The Darkside" was born on October 1983 then finally hit 1984 until 1988 for it has became a cult fave.
This season has the 1983 pilot episode called "Trick or Treat" which deals with a spoiled rich man who sends kids into a special haunted house attraction in his mansion to scare them witless until a weird visitor gives him one hell of a scare. Next the first real episode from 1984 called "The New Man" has an alcoholic businessman who meets a young boy who claims to be his other son when the man doesn't have any other son but one which drives him to madness. Next "I'll Give you a Million" deals with an old fellow who is offered a million bucks by a very rich fellow in exange for his soul but there is a terrible price to pay once it's for real, "Pain Killer" is about a mysterious doctor who helps a back-pain patient as he must make a strange payment in order to be cured for all times on his back. "The Odds" tells the story of a gambling man who does the most unsusual odd even without learning what dark secret is behind this devilish game. "Mookie and Pookie" is a fantasy tale about two twin brothers and sisters who one of them dies and leaves his soul & mind in a computer for now the sister must prove that he exists in their.
"Splippage" tells us about a graphic designer who finds he is losing his mind when he's slipping through reality, next is "Inside The Closet" where a female college student who takes a room at a room-and-board dorm from a professor who keeps literally a secret in one of his closets. "Word Professor of the Gods" is a Stephen King written story about a married man who's got a humdrum life until his newphew gives him a magical word processor that makes his life better, "A Case of the Subborns" is a funny story about a griefstruck southern family who's grandpa recently died until he's mysterious brought back as a zombie who refuses to believe that he's dead. "Djinn No Chaser" is a tale about a couple who buys a magic lamp from a strange dealer but the Genie in the lamp is unfriendly towards the couple until one of them frees him then he will be nice again. "All A Clone by The Telephone" is a bizarre story of a TV show writer who's answering machine begins to become literally enchanted for it wants to help the man, "In The Cards" has a phoney psychic who is tormented by haunted cards that predicts terrible futures for many people.
"Anniversary Dinner" has a cannibalistic couple who takes a young girl in whom is running from her boyfriend as they invite her to their anniversary dinner and she will soon discover she's the main course. "Snip Snip" has a rival Warlock and beautician witch who each lay claim to a special lottery ticket as they battle each other for who should have the million bucks. "Answer Me" has a terrorized British actress who is taunted and harrassed by phone calls all night and day long, "The Tear Collector" has this cry-baby girl who meets a strange man that collects tears for profit. "Madness Room" deals with a rich couple and a friend who plays a Ouji-board game and are brought into the madness room where the wife plans to scare her husband to death, "If the Shoes Fit" has a politician who's running for governor is staying at a hotel that somehow becomes a trap that will turn him into something else. "Levitation" is about a circus magician who proves that his magic is for real, next "It all comes out of the Wash" has a Chinese laundry owner who washes out the guilt of a developer until that customer learns the true meaning of a price to pay. "Bigalow's Last Smoke" has a man trapped in a caged area by a anti-smoking company to quit his smokin habits, "Grandma's Last Wish" deals with grandmother who's about to go to a retirement home makes a special wish of her desire and finally "The False Prophet" has a fortune telling machine who desires a young woman and begins to become progressive yet hostile.
This season is a nice start with some good stars like Jessica Harper of "Suspiria" fame, David Patrick Kelly ("Commando" and "The Warriors"), Jean Marsh ("Willow" and "Return to Oz"), James Hong, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Keenan Wynn, Bruce Davidson, Harry Anderson, Dick Miller and Richard Romanus ("Heavy Metal", "Wizards", "Hey Good Lookin"), it became one of the most popular shows of the 80's and started out well. This DVD does have some episodes that aren't really remastered and has only one extra which is an audio commentary by George Romero on the pilot episode but who cares, what really matters is that this great show is on DVD.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Back in the 1980s, I used to watch "Tales from the Darkside" when my parents were out of the house on an occasional Saturday evening and my siblings were upstairs in bed. Even then the rubbery acting and hit-or-miss stories were apparent to me, but the show's headstrong attempt to creep out horror-loving people like myself was endearing, and what's more, the dark twists to the conclusion of some of these scripts were actually pretty amazing at times. I think that's why I tuned in to "Darkside" most: to be surprised.
Unfortunately, season one offers few plot twists that lead to shock, though there are a few gems. On early "Darkside" tales, subtly is mostly left out in favor of ham-handed scare gags, while the characters tend to be a bit one-dimensional, the plots are mediocre to poor and evil cackling is unnecessarily added. But a funny thing happens as the shows progress: The plots become more complex; current-day issues begin to arise; a few noticeable faces from the acting world of the 1980s begin to pop up; and, probably scariest of all to most horror fans, a few scripts are even life-affirming, such as "The Odds" with Danny Aiello. Another fascinating script to watch these days is "Mookie and Pookie," starring Justine Bateman, which perfectly captures the burgeoning popularity of personal home computers at the time. Though vilified at the start of the story, the miracle of communication via a computer ultimately gives the machine its redemption. After watching "Mookie," it's actually not so difficult to fast-forward to the present and visualize how communication behemoths like Facebook got their start.
Whatever mayhem was going on, "Darkside" stories always had a pervading sense of plastic weirdness, mixed with a touch of you'll-get-yours-in-the-end humor, that gave them a creepy edge. Indeed, these eight tales won't disappoint in that sense.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2009
"Tales From The Darkside". I love this show as much as those of you that have already posted reviews. Therefore, I've got to be honest. The episodes do not appear to be edited of any footage (which is very good) but there is a big problem: all of the library music used in the first season has been replaced (to me, a very bad thing). I understand that when shows like this were created, using library music was very commonplace; however, with the creation of DVDs it seems that library music tracks pose a problem for releases such as this and other series (such as library music used on "The Fugitive"; DVD releases of that series have had their library tracks removed as well). Though it's not much, the silver lining is that the new music created to replaced the original library tracks sounds similar to the library tracks it's been created to replace. Little of the original music created by composers for season one remains (Such as tracks used in the episode "Inside The Closet"), but not all of the episodes are as fortunate (For example, the episode "I'll Give You A Million" is missing the original music composed by John Harrison). Luckily, the Opening and closing theme remains untouched which will please fans (Though the bits of it heard in the Pilot "Trick Or Treat" have also been removed).
The picture looks as well as one would expect; a bit grainy, but considering the age it looks very good. The same cannot be said for the 'Commentary Track'. It's always great to hear George Romero talk about his work on specific films, but from what I understand it's not a true commentary track (George didn't sit down and watch the episode "Trick Or Treat"). Instead, he was interviewed for an hour and the bits concerning the creation of the series and bits about the pilot are spaced about the 23 minute run of the episode. In fact, there seem to be several minute breaks inbetween George's input and can be a distraction as you wait to hear more about the series... only for things to pick back up after two or three minute breaks.
I originally rated this five stars, but I've decided to lower the rating due to the treatment of this show by Paramount (the music changes and the commentary track being a let-down). I would have prefered George's Hour-long interview to have been included as the extra instead interspersed with scenes from the episodes referenced. If you are a fan of this series, avoid this DVD because you're not getting the show the way it was originally broadcast as. Show Paramount that treating "Tales From The Darkside" like this is a good way to lose business.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2011
Sure, everyone mentions that the original music is taken out. Let me tell you, if you pay for this product make sure you buy another case to keep it in. Bought this at FYE in a clear case. The paper inside the cover was pulled up so high that the security sticker ripped the paper. Maybe that was FYE's fault? I don't know. Then when I opened the case a piece of plastic broke off. Clearly all costs were cut to make this cheap crap. Write to CBS to demand original music & better casing.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2009
Okay, even after all the hub bub of how terrible this set really is, I had to see for myself. First off, the show was shot on film (not videotape) period; even George Romero states this in the commentary on the pilot episode on disc 1. The film prints are dirty and there is some grain, but they look no better or worse then what any station is showing currently. The show was low budget to begin with, so it is never going to look like a brand new release, that is simply the nature of the beast.
Paramount spent zero dollars cleaning anything up, that much is VERY evident. George Romero's commentary is indeed new and is not made up of old interviews from the 80's (the reviewer here who claimed that is on crack). Then again if he didn't buy the series due to the music replacement, how did he listen to the commentary? ;) Think about it folks.
There are no extras at all on this set, but hey, its Paramount, we would all be shocked and/or amazed if they did include ANYTHING on a television on DVD release (heck even their TWIN PEAKS Gold Box Edition disappointed me).
I have to say I used to watch this series religiously back when it first aired in independent syndication and if the music has been replaced I didn't see too much of an impact or difference. Am I put off by the fact that the original music is altered or removed or replaced? Hell yes, its an awful and shoddy practice and should be outlawed by the consumers, but its still with us so we can grumble or you people can write letters to Paramount and complain. George Romero created the series, is he aware of what was done to the series' music? Anyone write and ask him? Or Rubenstein?
So, the new music replacements are just as low budget as the old ones if are comparing. Still I have seen far worse conditions released on DVD (NIGHT STALKER anyone? Eh Universal?) so try not to over-exaggerate, thus scaring to many folks off. Will Paramount re-release these again with original music? Its Paramount, do you REALLY need someone to answer this question? REALLY?
So,if you just want to enjoy the stories and memories then I would say pick the set up, if you are so adamant you won't support the series release on DVD and risk stopping ANY and ALL future season releases, then go ahead and keep your memories cause that is all you will have now and in the future.
So in short, yes Paramount should be ashamed of this release with zero extras and replaced music. I still am enjoying the series regardless. If you are on the fence, and know the budgetary limitations the series had originally, its not THAT big a stretch to live with the replaced music. Enjoy it for what it is, not what you utimately would like it to be.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2010
Tales From The Darkside - Season 1
This is a good anthology show, not a great one. It is no doubt a tv version of George A. Romero's great '82 film 'Creepshow', and it shows with it's dark humor integrated with it's visual horror. Not all the episodes/stories are great though. In the first season, there are some episodes that are great.
**** = great / *** = good / ** = decent / * = bad
Trick Or Treat (Pilot) **** - A great pilot, spooky for tv in '83 (which is why it was in syndication). Bernard Hughs is good as an evil town owner who delights in scarying desperate children in search of their parents' debt papers on Halloween at his house of horrors. Bob Ballaban directs George A. Romero's script.
The New Man - **** - Another one of my favorites because it's so devious. A recovering alcoholic is visited by a boy who claims to be his son named Jerry, but he doesn't have a son named Jerry. Who is this boy, and why is he claiming to be his son? It's a Twilight Zone-ish 'what's going on here?' style that is made even better by the casting of Vic Taybeck.
I'll Give You A Million *** - Almost one of the best with Keenan Wynn as one of two rich old men who buys his friend's soul for a million dollars only to getting more than he bargained for. It would have been great except for the very end.
Pain Killer *** - I liked Lou Jacobi in this that, again, seems to have fit in an 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' episode. A man with chronic back pain caused by stress from his wife is made an offer to take his "pain" away.
The Odds **** - Danny Aiello is great as a bookie who makes a bet with a demon. This is like a mini play - one setting, a few characters, but the way it's acted and plays out is entertaining.
Mookie And Pookie ** - This is a sweet-natured, decent episode starring Justine Bateman about a brother whose soul is in his computer and the parents want to pull the plug unless his sister can convince them he's in there. It doesn't take a lot to see the real "point" this episode is trying to make. It just doesn't fit with the 'Darkside' though. It's seems more of an 'Amazing Stories' episode.
Slippage ** - A man begins to slip out of reality. Fitting, though similar to 'Twilight Zone' episodes. I like the eerie tone it sets, but a similar story by Ellison for a story on the '85 Twilight Zone called 'Shatterday' with Bruce Willis is better. This is a bit more predictable.
In The Closet ** - A college girl who is being boarded by a professor (Fritz Weaver) is convinced something inside the closet in her room. This isn't bad, but you have to depend on the stupidity of the girl to get to the end which is somewhat surprising the way Tom Savini directs.
The Word Processor Of The Gods **** - One of the best and most memorable episodes for me. Bruce Davison stars as a writer unhappily married with a lazy son who recieves a word processor from his late nephew that changes reality with the push of a button. Steven King wrote this from a short story included in his book 'Skeleton Crew'. It's well directed, written and acted.
A Case Of The Stubborns ** - An dead man (Eddie Bracken) won't except the fact that he's dead as he walks around rotting. Also stars a young Christian Slater as the grandson. This one is played for laughs and disgust - not bad, but not lasting.
Djinn, No Chaser ** - A couple buy a lamp with genie locked inside who makes their life hell unless they can open the bottle. This is taken from Harlan Ellison's story (not surprisingly), and it's another one played for laughs - nothing scary at all. It feels like an 'Amazing Stories' episode. It's more silly fun than anything else.
All A Clone By The Telephone **** - A great episode with Harry Anderson as a struggling tv writer whose voice on his answering machine is trying to take over his life.
In The Cards **** - Another great episode about a fake fortune teller whose stuck with a cursed deck. I like the haunting twists and direction.
Anniversary Dinner **** - Three in a row, this one is one of the best for me because of the way it handles the story, characters, direction. A girl on the run from her abusive, controlling boyfriend seeks shelter at the home of an elderly couple celebrating their anniversary.
Snip, Snip *** - A witch and a warlock vie for a winning lottery ticket with Bud Cort and Carol Kane. Great casting with a nice twist.
Answer Me * - Horrible, one of the worst episodes. A woman is bothered by the constant phone ringing in the next apartment. What makes this irritating (besides the rediculous, cop-out outcome) is that the woman does nothing but talk to herself thoughout the whole episode.
The Tear Collector ** - Not bad, but simple story of a woman who constantly cries and a man who collects tears who is interested in her. Again, more like an 'Amazing Stories' episode.
The Madness Room ** - Your typical 'Body Heat' style story of revenge, murder and greed.
If The Shoe Fits... * - This is, sorry to say because Dick Shawn is in it, a boring episode. It's point is clear right away, one-note that is supposed to be funny but isn't, and it's not horrifying in any way either.
Levitation ** - A predictable circus story of a magician who can make things/people levitate in mid-air.
It All Comes Out In The Wash * - A good story idea that crumbles because of it's implausable confusion with the plot that tapers off near the end.
Bigalow's Last Smoke **** - One of the most memorable stories - seeing this as a kid stuck in my mind as really creepy. Richard Romanus stars as a man who is undergoing a sinister program to help him stop smoking.
Grandma's Last Wish *** - This episode is purposely annoying, but the ending image is worth seeing.
The False Prophet ** - A woman obsessed with fortune telling is stuck at a bus station with a controlling fortune telling machine. I like Ronee Blakey's performance especially, but the main story lost my interest half way through and ends up going for cliche rather than scary. The fortune telling machine's voice should have sounded a little more like Hal from 2001 than Harlan Ellison.
There is only one special feature included and it's a commentary by George A. Romero for the pilot. There are many spaces in between and only a couple of somewhat interesting comments from Romero are given. A small featurette or documentary would have been nice with interviews with some guest stars, directors, writers, ect. But at least Romero and CBS/Paramount finally released it on dvd. I can't say the same for Amblin/Spielberg who did not release the second/final season of 'Amazing Stories'.