Sunday, June 17, 2007

Tales from the Darkside – Strange Love – review – TV episode


Directed by: Ted Gershuny

First aired: 1986

Contains spoilers

Tales from the Darkside was an eighties horror anthology series. This episode, from season 2, was, of course, a vampire episode.

The episode starts with a man, Edmund Alcott (Harsh Nayyar) smoking as his wife, Marie (Marcia Cross), dances on a balcony. We hear a thud and a crack. Harsh Nayyar as edmundEdmund visits a doctor, Philip Carrol (Patrick Kilpatrick), and tells him that his wife has broken her leg. Philip suggests a hospital but Edmund tells him that his wife is old and set in her ways and will not go to a hospital – insisting he visits the house.

Marcia Cross as MariePhilip’s confusion begins when he realises that Marie is not old at all (or at least doesn’t appear that way). His confusion increases when he can feel no pulse. He is convinced she is dead, and for several hours given how cold her skin is. Then she awakens. He says that she has torn the cartilage and he must straighten her leg. As he does so she gasps in pain and reveals fangs to the camera.

Philip chainedPhilip still thinks she should go to a hospital but Edmund insists that he remain and look after here. When he refuses Edmund grasps his hand, using his great strength to bring Philip to his knees. He then reveals that they are both vampires. Philip finds himself chained and held prisoner, force to care for Marie.

As the episode progresses we discover that Edmund is a cruel and vain creature. Rather than use the door he prefers to vanish into thin air. He steps on Philip’s chain for fun and thinks Marie vulgar when she expresses no desire to feed on human blood, preferring to feed on cat or rat.

Philip turnedIt becomes clear that Marie develops feelings for Philip – though Edmund treats him like a slave or, as he says, a pet. After two weeks Marie is healed and Edmund intends to kill Philip – after giving him a last meal. We have already observed that Philip cannot defeat Edmund physically as a human, but if Marie were to turn him… Well it is fairly obvious were this is going and there are no real surprises or twists.

The vampires have several powers that are mentioned but, other than vanishing and making lights come on and off we see nothing of them. Eye mojo is mentioned, though Marie says it is not hypnosis but sheer power… this isn’t explained further.

staked in the sunVampires are staked to kill, although it seems that it is sunlight that finally finished the staked Edmund off. Other traditional lore aspects are not mentioned.

Acting wise main mention should go to Marcia Cross who is in turns fascinating and seductive. The writing is fair enough, for what there is, but the episode is so short that there is laughing over Edmund's bodylittle time to generate feelings (either positive or negative) for the characters. Probably the most developed characterisation is the negative aspects of Edmund, so that the viewer might dislike him, but to be honest he is played in much to much of a Lugosi stereotype to really concentrate on what a cad he is.

It’s not a bad way to while away a few minutes but, in the grand scheme of vampire genre material, it adds nothing much. Not bad, but no cigar, I’m afraid. 3 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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