Sunday, April 13 2014, 08:02 AM MDT
DVD Review: Monsters - The Complete Series
Genre: Horror, Anthology
Street Date: 3/18/14
Available On: DVD
Synopsis: Following the demise of the horror/fantasy/science fiction anthology series Tales from the Dark Side producer Richard P. Rubinstein created Monsters, a similar series focused entirely on horror. Even though only 72 episodes were produced during the original three-season run the show has remained in syndication since its debut in 1988.
Recommendation: In my early teens I loved to stay up late and catch the various horror anthology televisions series that seemed to be everywhere at the end of the ’80s. There was Friday the 13th: The Series, Freddy’s Nightmares, Tales from the Dark Side and Monsters.
As with many modern anthology series the quality of Monsters varies greatly from episode to episode. All were produced on small budgets and as a result some of the special effects and monster suits are less effective than they could be. The tone of the series was also uneven. Some episodes were played fairly straight, others were comical and some fall somewhere between. Like Tales from the Dark Side, the stories tend to feature a twist ending. The series also served as a landing point for various stars with careers on the rise or on the decline. Guest stars included Pam Grier, Deborah Harry, Tony Shalhoub, Lili Taylor, Tori Spelling, David Spade, Linda Blair, Steve Buscemi, Gina Gershon and many others. The writing isn’t nearly as sharp as the original Twilight Zone or even Boris Karloff's Thriller, but is easily on par with the other anthologies of the era.
The picture quality is betrayed by its late ’80s aesthetic and low budget beginnings. Most of the episodes look washed out and faded and detail is often pretty fuzzy. It’s far better than what you’d get from those worn out VHS copies that you might have rotting in your closet, but it’s still pretty murky and ugly. Still, I can’t imagine anyone really being too disappointed. It looks about as good as it should. Any more clarity might further undermine the already shaky effects.
-Ryan Michael Painter