Sunday, December 11, 2016

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 308: Watched “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie”

I love a good horror movie, especially when it has Alabama connections. “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie” fits both bills, but for a long time, I couldn’t honestly say that I’d ever seen this movie from start to finish. For that reason, I put it on my bucket list and finally took the time to watch it the other day.

A year or so ago, on a Web site about Alabama authors, I read that a portion of “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie” was written by Michael McDowell. McDowell, who was born in Enterprise, Ala. on June 1, 1950, wrote two of the three horror stories shown in “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie.” Those stories include “Lot No. 249” and “Lover’s Vow.”

For those unfamiliar with “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie,” it’s a horror movie that was released on May 4, 1990 and features three separate stories. Directed by John Harrison, the movie includes “Lot No. 249,” “Lover’s Vow” and “Cat from Hell.” Despite the fact that the movie includes three stories, it’s still shorter than the average feature-length film with a run time of 93 minutes as opposed to two hours.

While watching this movie recently on NetFlix, it dawned on me that I’d seen portions of this movie before, but I couldn’t say that I’d seen the entire, uncut version. All three stories were pretty good, but I especially liked “Lot No. 249,” which I later learned was based on an old Sir Author Conan Doyle story. “Cat From Hell” was probably my next best favorite, followed by “Lover’s Vow,” which was pretty good too.

Of course, now that I’ve watched “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie” and have gotten a taste of McDowell’s screenplays, I’m left wanting to read some of his other published works. McDowell passed away at the age of 49 on Dec. 27, 1999 in Boston, Mass., but during his life he published a number of novels, including more than a few that are set in Alabama. McDowell’s novels include “The Amulet” (1979), “Cold Moon Over Babylon” (1980), “Gilded Needles” (1980), “The Elementals” (1981), “Katie” (1982), “The Flood” (1983), “The Levee” (1983), “The House” (1983), “The War” (1983) “The Fortune” (1983), “Rain” (1983), “Toplin” (1985), “Clue” (1985), “Jack and Susan in 1953” (1985), “Jack and Susan in 1913” (1986), “Jack and Susan in 1933” (1987), “Candles Burning” (2006).

McDowell also wrote a number of novels under the pseudonyms of Axel Young, Nathan Aldyne, Preston Macadam and Mike McCray. Those novels include “Vermillion” (1980), “Cobalt” (1982), “Blood Rubies” (1982), “Wicked Stepmother” (1983), “Slate” (1984), “Michael Sheriff, The Shield: African Assignment” (1985), “Michael Sheriff, The Shields: Arabian Assault” (1985), “Michael Sheriff, The Shield: Island Intrigue” (1985) and “Canary” (1986). He also wrote several titles in the “Black Beret” series as McCray between 1984 and 1987.

In the end, how many of you have watched “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie”? What did you think about it? What other horror movies would you recommend watching? Let us know in the comments section below.

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