You have to give it to HBO. Between The Hitchhiker and Tales from the Crypt, they were keeping the horror anthology in business throughout the 80s. Really Weird Tales is made up of three episodes of a comedy version of that format with Joe Flaherty as the host.
Flaherty, a Pittsburgh local, was a major part of Second City and SCTV. Horror fans will respect him pretty much forever for his Count Floyd character, which is a loving tribute that pokes fun at the horror hosts that he grew up with, including “Chilly” Bill Cardille.
There are three stories here that all have pretty high production value. “Cursed With Charisma” is all about a mysterious stranger (John Candy) coming to save the town of Fitchville with new ideas of how to sell real estate, as well as an alien invasion. It was directed by Don McBrearty, who directed 1983’s American Nightmare and is still working, directing holiday direct-to-cable movies.
“I’ll Die Loving” has Catherine O’Hara as a woman who blows up real good every man that she falls in love with. Where the last segment felt almost too long, this one seems too short. It was directed by John Blanchard, who directed episodes of SCTV and The Kids in the Hall.
Finally, the best story is “All’s Well That Ends Strange,” which pits Martin Short as a lounge singer trying to get into the good graces of a Hefner-style publisher, win the heart of a centerfold played by Olivia d’Abo and escape with his life after he learns that all of the perfect bodies of the women in the mansion aren’t all that natural. It’s a rare horror role for Short, who is great in this episode. It was directed by Paul Lynch, who knows something about making a horror film, what with Prom Night and Humongous on his resume.
While this doesn’t always work all the time, Really Weird Tales should have had more than three episodes to find its footing.
You can get this from Kino Lorber.