Christmas 2013: A Tale From the Darkside to Terrify and Delight!

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Well, ladies and nerds: I’m calling it for 2013 and taking a much needed break from writing to observe the holidays for the rest of December. And by “observe” I really mean suffering through yet another trip back to my hometown. I can’t wait to spend the next week or so avoiding going outside unless I absolutely have to so I don’t run into the hundreds of people I have no desire to see. On the plus side, I’ll be staying with close friends and they have an awesome fireplace to cozy up next to. Oh, and there’s a Long John Silvers near the house. I’ve got it bad for those little hush puppies. I’ll probably pop in on Christmas day and post an image or something, but until then consider this post my official “Happy Holidays” to the lot of you.

Time to yap about some scary stuff.

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By now you should all be well aware of how much I love Tales From the Darkside so I’ll keep the intro brief and just get right to it. THIS IS THE CHRISTMAS EPISODE. The fact that Darkside even has a Christmas episode is awesome in and of itself but even better, it just so happens to be one of the creepiest entries in the entire series. “Seasons of Belief” was one that I caught when I was pretty young and it definitely did some kind of damage to my little brain. The kind that I still can’t seem to get enough of.

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Our scenario for this tale is simple and to be honest, the whole 20 minutes of the runtime is fairly stretched out. But the ending is the star of the show here, so stick with it. One Christmas Eve a married couple (with an intense age difference) are hanging around the house with their two bratty kids. After dinner the young brother and sister are talking trash on Santa Claus and opening presents early so their parents decide to scare the shit out of them with a terrifying story about “The Grither.”

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The Grither is a monster that lives in a cave in the North Pole. Apparently, this ancient beast has massive ears and hates to hear anyone speak his name. So the longer the story goes on and the more his name is spoken, the closer he comes to visiting the house. The only way to keep him from entering is by finishing the tale and this is where the tension of the episode comes in. Lots of interruptions like the phone ringing and a fairly well done red herring keep these kids good and scared.

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It’s a really well done episode and highly reminiscent of something out of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The acting is above average for this show and again, that ending. Once the credits roll over that final shocking shot…well, it needs to be seen to be believed.

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So do yourself a favor and throw 20 minutes at it and have a look for yourself! Here, I’ll make it easy for you:

Merry Christmas!

Ray Gabriel

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