Friday, 7 May 2021

Tales from the Dark side: A Case of the Stubborns


How have I only just found out about this show? Obviously I've been spending too much time in graveyards and crypts! Like all anthology series the episodes are a mixed bag but this one is pure gold. 

We all know someone who is so pig-headed that they always know best and won't listen to anyone else. And before you say it ImI not one of them! Rarely though, does this extend to not believing that you're dead and just carrying on. The reason this is such a success is that the premise is so wrong it's brilliant, and it draws on images of headless chickens. It is so wrong to say that someone is so stubborn (with undertones of intelligence on a par with a chicken) that they don't know they're dead.

The premise leads to wonderful scenarios that are also rather uncomfortable. It is so inappropriate humour to say that someone is dead but doesn't know it, but.... that is exactly what the daughter says. Hearing the words, you're dead but won't lie down, actually said to someone gives a frisson of being glad we don't have to say it to our own parents. Conversely of course we all wish we could be so stubborn that we won't die! I love the way he visibly decomposes and the efforts of both the doctor and minister don't work!

I literally have no criticism. I do wonder about the accents the people have and would suspect that the accent, which to me sound so overdone that they are stereotypical, are meant to indicate that these are unimaginative country people. Of course overdoing the accent can also be a way to make it unreal and stop the difficult premise being too real. I would be interested to hear views.

An unqualified recommendation from me.

2 comments:

Mike Doran said...

Chicago Calling (Hello again!):

I'll make an educated guess that you're working from a second-hand DVD of Tales From The Darkside, and that you might not know all that much about its history.
Darkside is a sort of collateral descendant of George Romero's movie Creepshow, which had been a box-office hit in the USA a few years before.
Creepshow had attracted notice for getting some major acting names to play in its semi-gory horror stories (you didn't normally see people like Hal Holbrook, Fritz Weaver, E.G. Marshall, and some others doing this kind of stuff, even if they did have Stephen King's name attached).
Anyway, Creepshow was a hit, and Romero was approached to try a TV anthology with a similar bent - hence Tales From The Darkside.
As you may have noticed, Darkside was low-budget in the extreme: no SFX to speak of, but Romero was able to attract some pretty potent TV, movie, and even theatrical names to act in the roles, for their own fun.
The episode you're writing about here, "A Case Of The Stubborns", had as its lead Eddie Bracken, a comedy legend in Hollywood for The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek, Hail The Conquering Hero, and many others over the years.
When this one first aired in Chicago, my father, a movie buff from way back, was a bit startled to see Bracken in a very low budget TV show - and even more startled to see him in that makeup job as the show progressed ...

Tales From The Darkside ran for four seasons in US syndication (90 episodes); after it ended, Romero started up a similar show called Monsters!, which ran for three seasons more (78 episodes); not bad for this period.

You could perhaps tell me if either of these shows ran in GB at any time (from what you've written, I'm guessing not), but if you've got the Darkside DVDs, you've got some surprises in store ...
Happy Hunting!

John said...

Ah, thank you for the background, Mike. I love your dad's reaction to this!
I thought you had an unusual insight into my spending habits but of course you're right - I am watching on DVD. ImI not aware of the show ever broadcasting on terrestrial TV here, and I hadn't heard about it until I came across a mention online. That said the discs are region 2 so I suspect it has been shown on satellite here (and got enough following to get a region 2 release).