People make their own misfortunes…
In the pilot episode of Tales from the Darkside, we meet Gideon Hackles, a landlord that pokes fun at the poor folks. However, a strange guest arrives at his doorstep and the tables are turned on Gideon one Halloween night….
Gideon is one stingy man. Heck, the guy charges four cents for coffee in his home. Not only is he stingy, he is mean. Two combinations that surely can make anyone despite an individual that possesses these characteristics.
On Halloween night, Gideon is having an early meeting with his Accountants. He reveals that he has a stack of I.O.U’s and keeps all of his cash in his house because he doesn’t trust banks or anyone for that matter. In a rather feeble attempt, he tries to frighten the gentlemen and cackles in delight at the frightened look on the mens’ faces.
The Kimble’s have incurred debt with the landlord and Gideon invites their young son Billy to come trick and treating at his house. If he finds his Father’s IOU, all of the family debt clears. Soon after the Kimble’s leave, Victor Muldoon storms into Gideon’s shop amassing even more debt. He tells Gideon that his son will find the IOU’s tonight and he will be cleared of all debt.
Victor looks weary and overworked, I imagine all these men in the town work for pennies on the dollar. All while Gideon cackles his way into riches, collecting on the misfortunes of others.
Gideon has constructed a mass of fake monsters and other frightening props, because his main goal is not for these children to find the IOU’s, but to scare them shitless. His first victim is poor Bessie. Bessie enters the home while her Mother watches wearily from the outside. Various mannequins and an owl lunge at Bessie and the poor girl flees the house in fear. All while Mr. Hackles smiles in pure delight.
Victor’s son Timmy enters the house next. Clearly the young boy has been forced by his Father to find the IOU’s. Timmy almost leaves the house in fright, but convinces himself to give it another go and finds the IOU’s. Just as he is about to grab them, Gideon unleashes a face of a huge Monster and Timothy also leaves the house in terror.
A few other children arrive, each one terrified as the next as they are unsuccessful in finding the IOU’s. It seems as if Gordon has once again won the morbid war he has created.
But then Gideon starts to experience strange events of his own. The stuffed bear seems to growl at him, time starts turning rapidly and a candle flickers on it’s own. Then there is a knock at the door.
A morbid looking witch stands at his doorstep continually cackling “Trick or Treat.” The witch’s costume is quite arguably fits the bill of what a witch would look like. Gideon seems taken back; this is certainly no kid. The witch rises above him and flies into his house. Then she starts creating all sorts of Hell.
In an interesting turn of events, Gideon finds a room in his home that is indeed Hell and there he is locked in all of eternity.
Billy Kimble finally arrives aptly dressed as the Devil. Unlike the other parents, Timothy’s parents have discouraged him to go to Gideon’s house and find their IOU’s, however Little TImmy is hell bent on getting his parents out of debt. The Witch answers the door and showers him with the IOU’s along with cash that Gideon had kept safely in his home.
As Timothy races back home with his newfound treasure, he passes by the tombstone of Gordon Hackles.
The haunting laugh and the appearance of the witch is what makes this episode so unique. It is a metaphor really, she has become somewhat of a Robin Hood, but has turned the tables on a terrible man who’s sole purpose in life is preying on the poor. Keep in mind that the budget of the episode was $200,000, not leaving much to the props, however the Witch definitely took the cake in this one.
Stay tuned for the next episode where I touch on The Geezenstacks!
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