Tales from the Darkside: Trick or Treat (1983) – George A. Romero HORROR TV REVIEW



By Geno McGahee

I haven’t seen TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE for years, but when I found the entire series for 20 bucks, I had to pick it up. As a kid, the intro to the show was very terrifying and it’s creepy now, as the guy with the scary voice talks about the other side that isn’t very nice. It sets the tone for the show and gets you into that mode where you want to be scared. In the first episode “TRICK OR TREAT”, the focus is on scares and is set on Halloween. It’s the perfect way to start a short horror series.

Gideon Hackles (Barnard Hughes) is a rich old man and he enjoys throwing around his wealth and exploiting those less fortunate. He gives out loans to the townspeople and holds it over their heads with great joy. His two accountants come over, Mr. Bindle (I.M. Hobson) and Mr. Bundle (Max Wright), and he even has fun at their expense, sending a large scary head floating over to them. They clutch onto each other and scream as Gideon laughs. I know that there is money involved but Max Wright could have and should have kicked the ever-loving shit out of that old bastard. Max Wright was the man on ALF and he doesn’t need to bend over and take it from this old prick. He should have gotten up and kicked him in his saggy nuts.


Every Halloween, Gideon gives the townies a chance to clear their debts and it’s a very unusual way. He wants their children to come into his house so he can scare them. I think Chris Hansen might want to show up too for this one. The townspeople are reluctant to send their children into his home, but they are also desperate and concede. The kids show up in costumes and Hackles hides in a room, controlling mechanisms to scare the kids as they walk around. He does everything he can to stop them from finding the IOUs and finds great joy in their fear. When they scream and run away, he laughs up a storm. Fucking prick.

An unexpected visitor arrives. A scary witch stands at the door and she is amused, but Hackles is not. He demands that she leaves and insists that he only wants kids. Chris Hansen…where are you?! The witch floats in and is now returning the favor and terrorizing the old man. The witch looks rather good…almost as if she came from THE EVIL DEAD. The voice, the laugh and the smile remind me very much of the women from THE EVIL DEAD and how they played the role. This isn’t as scary, but it brings some of that creepy element in and for network TV, this is rather scary.


Hackles runs around his house as he encounters new ghoulish sights and watches as his money flies away. He runs into the devil himself and realizes that he has no lived the best life, but it doesn’t matter anymore. The money is spread around the town and the IOUs are forgiven. This was a very fun episode.

TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE: TRICK OR TREAT was written by George A. Romero. This is the sort of episode that must have scared a lot of kids and some adults. The visuals are very good and the bad guy is very unlikable. I highly recommend this one. I just wish that Willy Tanner would have gotten off his ass and pounded Hackles into hamburger. Other than that, it ruled.


Rating: 9/10

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