Tales from the Darkside

Season 1 Episode 1

Trick or Treat

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Oct 29, 1983 on

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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out of 10
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  • The pilot episode of Tales from the Darkside, written by horrormeister George Romero, shows how the tables are turned on an old trickster.

    With this being the launch episode of "Tales From the Darkside", it starts the series off on the right foot. Bernard Hughes plays a miser that over the years has held a small town in his hands by collecting I.O.U's, and holding them over the heads of the owners as collateral for their property, etc. When Halloween comes around, he basically uses this leverage to have the children of the town come to his house, on the pretense that if the child finds the I.O.U's, then the family's debts are forgiven. In practice, he instead terrorizes the children that enter, using props and sound effects to scare them out of their wits. In the end, he gets his comeuppance in the form of a witch, who releases his fortune, and the Devil, who lets him know that he is getting hotter while chasing his fortune to Hell. A solid starting episode for the series.
  • Although similar to the fan favorite "Halloween Candy," this episode has a more original plot and spends more time developing its characters.

    As a pilot episode, "Trick or Treat" sets a great precedent for a very hit-or-miss series. Few episodes spend as much time developing the characters as this one does, and the acting is a cut above typical Tales From the Darkside fare.
    Barnard Hughes plays Gideon Hackle, a miser who revels in hoarding I.O.U. notices and loaning money to local townspeople. While he resents the townies for their lack of self-reliance, he also does whatever he can to keep them in debt to him. Every year, Kimble offers to erase the debts of any family whose child conquers his "haunted house" and finds the hidden I.O.U. notices. Not surprisingly, no child has ever emerged from the house victoriously.
    Director Bob Balaban uses tight shots and point-of-view angles to immerse the audience in the story in a very real, pedestrian way. Green and red light are subtle, recurring themes that suggest the greed that consumes Hackle and the anguish to which it inevitably leads.
    Interestingly, this is the only episode that features the series' opening theme as part of its score. Although this theme is now embedded in the heads of fans, it still has the power to create unease in the viewer when used in the right context. Although truly frightening, the actual "monsters" may not be quite as terrifying as the "Halloween Candy" goblin; but, in terms of overall quality, "Trick or Treat" is a cut above.
  • An adequate start for a fine series.

    The series begins with a spooker about a creepy Scrooge like miser who holds IOUs from everyone in his small town. On Halloween night, the guy lets all the local kids search his house for the IOU slips, while he tries to scare them out the front door using tricks and noises.

    The special effects and the music make for a somewhat frightening show. George Romero directs and is a co-writer and being the king of low budget horror, he pulls it off nicely. The acting and stories improve later in the series, but this is at least a decent beginning.
  • A money-hungry man get's his just desserts when years of teasing people has finally taken its toll. A good episode, but not the best

    The story written by George A. Romero reminds me a little bit of “A Christmas Carol”. You have a man who is so into money that the entire town owes him in debts. Needless to say, he gets what’s coming to him in the end. For a pilot episode, this was a good starter, but it just wasn’t that scary. The episode was creepy almost the entire time and felt like it was building up to something only to fizzle out to a disappointing ending, but it does fit the Halloween spirit since the episode is about Halloween and it was shown on the holiday. Overall, a good episode, but episodes further in the series prove to be much better.
  • A mean miser gets what's coming to him on Halloween.

    This is the true \"first episode\" of TFtD, even though the series didn\'t begin airing regularly until almost a year later. Although it suffers a little from poor pacing (particularly in it\'s second half), it establishes the tone of the show well and ranks amongst the best episodes. Good make-up and set design, and a good performance from the guy who plays the villain- he relishes being as mean as possible. A \'feel-good\' episode, much in the tradition of the old 50\'s horror comics, where the nasty bad guy gets what\'s coming to him, and then some. Halloween should always be like this.