Tales from the Dark Side episode 1: “The New Man”

Frank De Palma directed eight episodes of Tales from the Dark Side and one of its spiritual sibling Monsters. For a series that had some major directors — I mean, George Romero is right there — it was a brave move to pick his episode to start the show with.

The script is from Mark Durand, a writer for The Week In Baseball, from a short story by Barbara Owens.

This episode gets dark. Vic Tayback is a reformed alcoholic turned hard working real estate salesperson, someone who turns down a celebratory drink from his boss to make sure he keeps on the straight and narrow. Then, his son Jerry shows up to see his dad. The only problem is that he doesn’t have a son.

Actually, he has two, with Petey at home with his wife Sharon. His angry dismissal of this reality he doesn’t understand upsets his wife, who is sure he’s back drinking. But what is Jerry? A demon? A sympton of his alcoholism? An actor hired so that his wife can get out of their marriage? Probably the first one, as when the protagonist is replaced with another office drone, his son Jerry arrives at the end of the Friday workday.

That’s a bleak story to start with but welcome to Tales from the Dark Side. They didn’t call it Cute Animals Dance All Day Long you know.

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