Tales From The Dark Side – Sleepwalker Essay

Tales From The Dark Side: Sleepwalker by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

So back in 2016, there was some exciting TV news. They were remaking Tales from the Darkside. The original was the 80s horror anthology that was the competitor to Tales from the Crypt. I remember seeing a few reruns on Scifi when I was little. I don’t remember them being great, but I saw the potential in the remake because I like short standalone stories in TV format. And the most exciting part was Joe HiIl was producing this thing and writing the scripts. And that was a great recipe. A recipe that was very similar to Jordan Peele working on the Twilight Zone. Then as TV news typically goes. A pilot was filmed. The original network executives didn’t like it. It was shopped around networks and streaming services and no one picked it up. And now it’s sitting in a vault at some TV studio somewhere never to be seen by the public. And with most stories like this, that would be the end of it. But apparently Joe Hill gone “No you don’t! I put work into this and I’m going to get it out there one way or another!” So he teamed up his artist Gabriel Rodriquez and translated his work into a collection of graphic novel short stories in a collection appropriating called Tales from the Darkside. And of course my curiosity of what this show could have been got the best of me and I read this collection. This first review is on the first short in the series called Sleepwalker.

The story follows a young man named Ziggy. Through high school and there on afterward he had been a laid back partier who never had taken responsibility in life until that laid back attitude gets some one killed. He becomes a shut in afterward and is overridden with guilt. But one day he must go outside and finds something very strange. Everyone who see his face instantly falls asleep. Scared, he doesn’t know what to do and must put on a mask and make contact with a girlfriend he pushed away a long time ago. Together they must figure things out, but only learn that he must somehow accept some sort of consequence for woman he killed to make it all stop.

The good? This is a very unique story. It’s a weird character piece. To watch Ziggy grow from being a total jerk to being able to make sacrifices for others with a supernatural bent was nice. And characters are well defined.

The bad? It’s not scary in the least. It felt more like a Twilight Zone than a full on horror. And if this was the pilot filmed, I may see why some people passed. Though I can’t see why everyone would pass up on it. This is a really good story overall all, and I would have definitely watched this.

Overall, this is a really good short. I wouldn’t put up there with my favorites in Joe Hill’s catalog. But it’s pretty darn enjoyable. So if you stumble across it, I would say give this a read It’s totally worth your time.

3 smoothies out of four.

Overall Rating: Joe Hill Adapts His Never Aired TV Pilot to the World of Short Stories