Main cast: Barnard Hughes (Gideon Hackles), IM Hobson (Mr Bindle), Max Wright (Mr Bundle), Joe Ponazecki (Atticus Kimble), Knowl Johnson (Billy Kimble), Brenda Currin (Sarah Kimble), Eddie Jones (Victor Muldoon), Patrick Wilcox (Timothy Muldoon), Eevin Hartsough (Bessie), Nancy Ellen Sutherland (Bessie’s Mother), Frances Chaney (The Witch), and Ed French (The Devil)
Director: Bob Balaban
Gideon Hackles is a miser who wallows in petty cruelty. He keeps all his money in a sack at home because he doesn’t trust anyone, and he only offers loans to the people in town because he loves having power over them. Each Halloween, he organizes a game of sorts. Kids are invited to enter his home and locate their parents’ IOU. When they do that, their parents’ loan is completely absolved. As you can imagine, many parents force their kids to play this game. So far, no tyke has succeeded, because Gideon has his house rigged with frightening automatons and various contraptions to terrify these kids. As you can guess, he loves scaring kids senseless as much as he loves money.
In Trick or Treat, he gets his comeuppance finally, but not before half the episode is wasted on filler scenes like Barnard Hughes chewing and gnawing scenery with cartoon villain antics and kids being scared in repetitive scenes. When the comeuppance arrives, it is in the form of supernatural characters with some of the most grating, annoying, fake laughs and cackles ever. I can still hear the painful cackles as I write this review, and I’m this close to becoming an alcoholic to dull the pain.
There is also the bewildering message of how you’re victim should you be unable to pay back a loan. How does that kind of logic translate to real life? Mind you, I agree that banks are on principles that reek of asshole in general, but automatically equating a loan provider as evil incarnate because you can’t pay back a loan is something that comes out of script writer George A Romero’s socialism-reeking rear end orifice.
This cartoon-like episode seems to be written to cater to very young kids, although those kids may be barred by their parents from watching this show, who knows. Dragged out and padded with annoying filler scenes, featuring over the top, scenery-chomping histrionic acting, this episode kicks off the Tales from the Darkside series in utter ignominy. On the bright side, I guess the only way from this point is up… Right?