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Tales From The Darkside
The First Season

review by Zach B.

 

 

Running Time: 473 minutes

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $39.99

Features: Audio Commentary with Executive Producer George Romero on "Trick Or Treat" 

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Stereo, English Closed Captions, Chapter Selections (6 chapters per episode), Three-Disc Set

Released: February 10th, 2009

 

 

Sadly, there's nothing redeeming about the transfers here. Presented in 1.33:1 full screen, they look like awful VHS dubs that have been put through the mud. I understand the series had no shot of getting a restoration, but these are really awful. Detail is blurred, fleshtones are pasty and whatever distinguishable color there is lacks refinement and is often smeared. The image quality looks blurry at times, and look soft with rough edges. Blemishes, scratches, dirt pieces - you name it, and they are splatted all over the prints. Forget the show - these transfers are scary.

 

Better are the English stereo tracks on the episodes. I really didn't notice any stereo effects, but at the same time, things sounded decent and audible - no hissing, scratches or other flaws. The "creepy" music came in clear, as did the dialogue. And while sound effects had no real "punch" to them, they can be heard and are loud enough. Suitable and expected. 

English closed captions are available through your television.

 

There's only one extra, and it's a pretty good one: an Audio Commentary with Executive Producer George Romero on the pilot episode, "Trick Or Treat." Romero seems to get lost in watching the episode, as there is a lot of dead space. But when he speaks, he has a friendly manner and gives a bit of background on the series and the episode in general. Romero says the series was meant to channel "The Twilight Zone," he speaks of Bob Balaban's involvement as a director for the pilot but mainly gives thoughts on writing, with references to his career. Romero mentions long form vs. short form writing, as well as how ideas randomly generated from him. Still, he is a little repetetive - namely how he mentions his love of DC Comics as a child several times. Romero spins his wheels a little, but fans of the show will want to give it a listen. 

 

Fans of "Tales From The Darkside" should be happy that the series is now on DVD, but the set leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to visual presentation. The stereo tracks are okay, but the sole bonus - a commentary with George Romero on the pilot - is a nice surprise. Probably a purchase for devotees of the series only.