This lame anthology began with Dino De Laurentiis, who wanted a trio of stories unified by (A) a heroic cat and (B) Drew Barrymore.Stephen King, who had a deal with Dino at the time (his Maximum Overdrive came out the following year), dusted off two of his Night Shift tales, "Smokers Inc." and "The Ledge," and wrote a new one, "The General," in which the heroic cat saves Drew Barrymore from a troll. Mission accomplished, I guess.
Lewis Teague directed it as a borderline spoof (the whole "Every Breath You Take" hallucination is pretty embarrassing), but he lacks the visual sense to make it another Creepshow. So the film seems like a throwback not to old horror comics but to bad syndicated TV horror.
James Woods, who finds himself joining Smokers Inc., seems too smart for his character; "Who writes this crap?" he says of the movie version of The Dead Zone playing on a TV, but he could be referring to the movie he's in. (The in-joke might've been funnier if he'd said "Who directed this crap?", thus calling out both King and his Videodrome director David Cronenberg.) Alan King, as the head honcho at Smokers Inc., has some mean fun with his role, as does Kenneth McMillan as the gangster who forces Robert Hayes to walk the ledge. James Naughton and Candy Clark are so-so as Barrymore's parents in "The General" — the troll gives the best performance. And so the subject of the movie seems to be the seductiveness of evil — but that's not because of any complexity in the stories (there is none), it's because of the fine acting in the villain roles.The third story really throws the movie out of whack; it doesn't fit with the first two gangster-style episodes. A better story might've been 'The Cat from Hell,' later used in 'Tales from the Darkside: The Movie.'