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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Thriller > Mystery > Supernatural > Anthology > TV > Tales From The Darkside – The Final Season (1987 – 88/CBS DVD Set)

Tales From The Darkside – The Final Season (1987 – 88/CBS DVD Set)

Picture: C-     Sound: C     Extras: A-     Episodes: B+

The show Tales from the Darkside ran in syndication from 1984 to 1988, and then morphed into the program Monsters which debuted later that same year. Reviewed here is the fourth, and sadly, final season of Darkside.

Notable moments in this season include episodes written by Clive Barker (The Yattering and Jack) and Stephen King (Sorry, Right Number).  King’s episode was originally written to be a part of Steven Spielberg’s failed anthology series, Amazing Stories, but went unused.

Another of this season’s highlights is found in the episode The Cutty Black Sow - a rather bleak episode concerning the efforts a boy takes to protect him and his family’s souls from an evil creature after the death of his grandmother.

Actual special features such as commentaries and the like are sadly absent from this set.  However, more than making up for that loss is the inclusion of two largely unseen episodes from what would have been Tales from the Darkside Presents.  These are titled Akhbar’s Daughter and Attic Suite, respectively.  Attic Suite was aired only once, but as part of the regular series, rather than being given its own distinction.  In light of the inclusion of these impossibly rare episodes, listed here as special features, I have graded the extra content accordingly.

The picture is presented in its original television aspect ratio of 1.33:1.  Image quality is below par for a DVD release, and in many cases is worse than that of the prints which are currently being run on the SyFy network.  There is a lot of grain, and the show looks rather murky, although some of this can be ascribed to often being shot in low light conditions to enhance the mood of the show.  The sound quality fares slightly better than the video, and was recorded quite well for a show of this vintage.  All episodes are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono.

Hopefully there will soon be a day when this series will get the treatment it deserves, with better transfers from better prints, if they’re out there.  In spite of some less than stellar video presentation and a lack of real extras, this set is an essential addition to any horror collector’s shelf.

-   David Milchick


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