Tales from the Far Side II (1997) — Beware of Doug

“He always gets the girls…”

Justin’s rating: Is it selfish of me to want more of these?

Justin’s review: If the gift of a surprise Halloween special starring the oddity of The Far Side wasn’t enough to make my day this month, then finding out that there was a sequel certainly did the trick. In 1997, a second television anthology was greenlit, although for whatever reason this one was only shown in the UK and Canada — not in the US.

This time around, we get even more hilariously creepy and unsettling glimpses into the FarSideverse with a longer run time to boot. It follows the same format of the first: Stories of the weird and macabre that transition from one to another, usually without much spoken dialogue. Although this time around there is a little speech, although it’s truly strange. Sometimes you can make out what they’re saying, but then they mumble down into nonsense to make the point that the dialogue isn’t really what you need to be paying attention to.

Rather, the focus is divided up between the bulky characters (people and animals alike), the unnerving (yet captivating) soundtrack, and the dark humor. A whole lot of people meet unfortunate ends in this, but since it’s for our amusement, I suppose that’s OK.

Some of the longer vignettes in Tales from the Far Side II include a time traveling scientist who never seems to catch a break, a cow playing an arcade game called Stampede, Death taking a holiday and killing oh so many people, a cats vs. dogs Civil War-style documentary, and a martial arts movie starring a deer.

Really, if you liked the Far Side comics, then it’s a no-brainer to watch this. I kept snorting and chuckling at so many of the gags, such as lions attacking a just-offscreen orchestra scoring a documentary, a guy getting absolutely thrashed at a zoo by fake gorillas, or people repeatedly getting their heads crushed by elephants and mammoths. The deaths are played for laughs rather than gory thrills (most of the actual demises are implied rather than directly shown).

Together with the first Tales from the Far Side, this makes the perfect one-two Halloween night tradition that we need to revive. Who’s with me?

Didja notice?

  • Having an elephant step on your head is not good times
  • You can get first place for beating people on the head
  • Thag and Grog Unplugged
  • There are time travel towing and elephant removal services
  • T. Rexes smoked cigarettes
  • You can play your instruments while being chased
  • Poor tuba guy
  • Faeries have it rough in a swamp
  • Alien hunters like using decoys
  • How do you lose Stampede, exactly? I guess by running into a slaughterhouse.
  • Death’s calendar and dog “Lucky”
  • The caveman at the airport
  • I mean, I’d take pictures of a dead whale on a beach if I saw one, too
  • Cowboy shark!
  • The dog “narrator” licking himself
  • Some girls like their dates stuffed and mounted
  • The guy’s eye falling out
  • According to the credits, there was a “Cow Arcade Live Action Crew”

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