Ok it’s ON!! Halloween time viewing is in FULL effect here at U-Dork so naturally we’ve gotta get our groove on with some often forgotten gems of Halloween that are an absolute essential watch- Especially if you’re a big fan of eighties horror! One of my favorite shows of that era, the brilliant horror anthology TV series Tales from the Darkside!
This 4 season series contains 3 of my all time favorite Halloween horror stories & they’re so well done that if you put all of them together in a film anthology with a wrap-around plot line it’d make for probably one the best Halloween themed movies of the 1980s! So find these streaming this year or go do yourself a favor and buy the whole collection on dvd. Make sure though to bookmark these 3 this year and watch them all in a row.
First up ‘The Cutty Black Sow’ from Season 4 (1988).
This is easily gotta be one of the most terrifying episodes of of the series & also one of the strangest titles to boot. During Halloween a family is hit with the tragic death of a beloved grandmother. Just before she passes though she relays a cryptic warning to one of the children to beware of ‘the cutty black sow’ on All Hallows Eve, an evil demonic creature that seeks harm to the family and steal souls. This episode is filled with the sense of dread as a thick impending doom oozes through Halloween night air & the children wonder if their great grandmother’s warning is indeed one to be taken seriously. A creepy taut Halloween gem with a horrifying ending!
Second is ‘Halloween Candy’ from Season 2, (1985)
Again one of the best episodes of the series hands down and directed by make up wizard/horror icon Tom Savini! This tale features a grumpy old man who absolutely loathes the Halloween season and more-so those pesky trick or treaters. However this Halloween he gets WAY more than he bargained for when an evil troll comes to his door asking for Halloween candy! This little monster is an absolute delight to behold, It’s clear that Savini has his FX work cut out for him as it’s one of the coolest little troll/goblin like creatures to hit the big or small screen. It’s also an incredibly creepy Halloween themed slice of horror, with a bit of a moral lesson at it’s core. It’s best not to be an asshole on All Hallows Eve especially if you live alone on a dark street & a weird trick-or-treater shows up in the dead of night. Filled with tense atmosphere and crafted by an icon, it’s no wonder this episode is a such TREAT!
Lastly is the very 1st episode of the entire series ‘Trick-or-Treat’ (1984) and in my opinion probably the best of the entire series altogether.
Co-written by George Romero and directed by well known actor Bob Balaban who also directed the 1989 cult horror film ‘Parents’, they give us a truly wicked Halloween adventure! A greedy old scrooge like miser basically runs a small town where everyone seems to be suffering and in debt to him. Every Halloween he opens the doors to his house of horrors where he geefully sits at a control booth, triggering terrifying sounds, traps & puppeteering animatronic creatures rigged to scare small children. This isn’t done to entertain the kids, it’s however a challenge to the smalltown children to search for the debts of their parents. If they find them, their families are forgiven of their monetary burdens. The old codger takes way too much sadistic pleasure in terrorizing the kids which makes this episode truly grim and unforgettable. He loves Halloween but for all the wrong reasons. Luckily in a turn of events he himself is faced with true terror and all bets are off this Halloween! Filled with incredible iconic horror imagery, thrills, heart and some amazing practical effects work this is the absolute standout must see episode of the series! It would also be the perfect finale for a Halloween horror anthology-This year don’t sleep on these episodes they’re essential viewing every damn year for one of the greatest holidays of all time!!
So if you’re like me you’re most likely quite sad that the Halloween season has finally ended. Now we head quickly towards Thanksgiving and very rarely do we see much in the way of kick ass Thanksgiving themed viewing that us huge Halloween horror fans can get behind! Don’t fret though because I’m on the case to solve this crisis! In this first installment I’ve got three recommendations that will make your Thanksgiving nice and weird and slightly creepy as well. Check these out to switch things up this year…
Amazing Stories (1986) ‘Thanksgiving’:
This is hands down one of my favorite shows from the 1980s. Steven Spielberg brought the star power and the budget to craft some of the coolest TV episodes of all time. This episode, takes place right around Thanksgiving, hence the title and features David Carradine and Kyra Sedgwick in a strange little tale that takes place in the barren, lonely desert. It involves a bizarre hole in the ground where it appears, far below, lives a strange race of beings who they accidentally begin communicating with. Carrdine though let’s his greedy tendencies get the best of him when he realizes these beings offer treasure for random items they lower below the surface on a rope to them. An intriguing and creepy episode that is a true delight to watch around the Thanksgiving season!
Tales From the Darkside (1986) ‘The Last Car’:
‘Tales from the Darkside’ is probably the best horror themed TV show of all time in my opinion. Luckily they produced an episode in Season 2 called ‘The Last Car’ that features a young woman on her way home from college to meet family for Thanksgiving late one night. One of the standout episodes of the second season this one oozes with dread as she rides rides a the last creepy train car into the night and meets all sorts of bizarre characters along the way. The true question though is will she make it back for that sumptuous turkey dinner? Slip this creepy atmospheric horror tale into rotation this year for the whole family!
The Incredible Hulk (1979) ‘Homecoming’:
Why not brighten things up a bit with an awesome episode of ‘The Incredible Hulk’ series from the late seventies? I just can’t get enough of the big green guy and had to add this this one to the festivities. Lou Ferrigno remains my favorite on screen Hulk and Bill Bixby my favorite Banner, who’d have thought huh? This episode we see Banner head back home for Thanksgiving to a small town where he ends up on a mission to save his family farm. Of course we know that there’s someone who’s gonna be fuckin’ with Banner. We’ll of course get to see the Green Goliath once again kick some ass on the holiday, you just can’t go wrong mixing The Incredible Hulk with Thanksgiving!!
Let me guess, the answer to that question above is you’ve never been there? Well I recently caught up with this short lived little show the other night and it was a whole lot of dumb fun! The show originally aired in 1991 and was canceled in 1992. It’s a pretty fun little show that follows two pre-teen boys as they try to solve the supernatural mysteries that occur in the small Indiana town of Eerie.
What I didn’t realize is that the show’s creative consultant was none other than Joe Dante, who actually directs a handful of the 19 existing episodes. If you’re looking for a fun forgotten throwback tv show check this out- the opening here will give you a good idea of what you may have “missed out” on!