Holiday Horror Guide #3–Tales from the Darkside: “Seasons of Belief”

The third-season episode “Seasons of Belief” remains one of the highlights of the TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE series. Adapted and directed by Michael McDowell (of BEETLEJUICE fame), it features E.G. Marshall and Margaret Klenck as parents who entertain their children–one of them a pre-BLOSSOM Jenna von Oy–with a story of “The Grither,” a horrible creature from the North Pole; of course, mention the Grither’s name and he gets closer.

McDowell does an admirable job creating suspense as the tale unfolds, reeling in the audience’s belief along with the children’s as the Grither supposedly gets nearer and nearer. Being a TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE episode, the ending should come as no surprise (the real surprise is that the budget-conscious effects don’t actually destroy the established mood), but the real treat is von Oy’s closing line: “It wasn’t Santa Claus!” A line perfectly encapsulating DARKSIDE’s penchant of playful black humor.

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