Tales from the Darkside: Trick or Treat Episode Review

I never did watch Tales from the Darkside when it was airing on TV, but only because I was a few months old and probably wouldn’t have grasped half the things happening on screen. (Damn, do I wish my parents would’ve at least tried though). So, I’m only now getting around to reliving all of these episodes on DVD (I did watch a few on VHS many moons ago) and I figured since the very first episode of Tales from the Darkside was a Halloween themed one, titled Trick or Treat, I figured why not review it.

Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: Town miser Gideon Hackles spends Halloween hiding IOU’s in his house,
which he then rigs as haunted and invites local kids to search for the
IOU’s so he can scare them. This year, he gets his comeuppance. 

Tatlock’s Quick ‘n Dirty Recap: The history behind Tales from the Darkside started with the movie Creepshow and how certain people wanted to create a TV series of Creepshow, but due to right concerns, we eventually ended up with Tales from Darkside. Thankfully, the spirit of Creepshow is still fairly present, although the budget might be a little smaller.

The pilot episode, broadcasted on Oct 29th, 1983, was directed by George Romero and was a little Halloween sweet, called Trick or Treat. It follows an old coot named Gideon Hackles, played by Barnard Hughes, who pretty much runs the entire town with his business. Everyone is poor and they owe a lot of money to Hackles. He demands money on anything he gives away, as there is no such thing as free.

Every Halloween, Hackles will hide a big stack of IOU’s from his fellow neighbors in his house and force the parents to send their kids in looking for them and if they are found, the IOU’s are cleared for the family of the kid who finds them. Unfortunately for the kids, Hackles puts a lot of work into his haunted house and the kids barely ever have a chance. Maybe Hackles needs to be taught a lesson from someone more powerful and scarier than him. Just maybe, this Halloween night will be little different for Hackles.

The Tatlock’s Opinion: Trick or Treat was a good way to start off Tales from the Darkside. It’s a short story, basically using the premise of A Christmas Carol as it’s basis, but setting it around Halloween instead. The story is pretty predictable as to what is going to happen and the fun is a little short lived. Still, the surprise trick or treater was a hoot and it’s always fun to see the big old meany get his just desserts, or should I say sweet treats, come the end.

Verdict: Trick or Treat isn’t a grand story, with elaborate set pieces and amazing special effects and the story definitely has a been there done that feel, but it still provides a great Halloween atmosphere, with plenty of cheap spooks and wicked tricks.

Rating: 3.5/5 (-1.5 for a story all too familiar. +3.5 for some fun Halloween shenanigans and doing well enough to give us four seasons of Tales from the Darkside.)

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Caffeinated Joe
10 years ago

Been ages since I have seen this one. Would love to again. Tales was always a great show to watch late on weekend nights!

Michael Tatlock
10 years ago

I love Tales from the Darkside, but man, the last two episodes a friend and I watched were brutal. One was called 'A Case of the Stubborns', written by Psycho author, Robert Bloch and the other was Djinn, No Chaser, written by Harlan Ellison. I don't recommend watching these ones.

Caffeinated Joe
10 years ago

It definitely has its high and lows. I think a lot of it had to do with budget. Seems like that to me, anyway.

Michael Tatlock
10 years ago

I think that was the biggest problem with these two episodes. The budget was super low and the acting was overdone big time.

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