Tales from the Darkside Episode 4: The Odds

Technical Specs

Director: James Sadwith

Writer: James Sadwith

Cast: Danny Aiello, Tom Noonan, Robert Weil, Anthony Bishop, William Magerman, Mario Todisco, Michael Quill, Dave Johnson, and Paul Sparer

Composer: Tom Noonan

Air Date: 10/21/1984

 

Overview

tales-from-the-darkside-the-oddsBill Lacey (Tom Noonan) predicts that Tommy Vale (Danny Aiello), a former rival, will die of natural causes before 8:00 a.m. the following day. Never one to refuse a bet, Tommy accepts Lacey’s offer.

For building and sustaining an ominous, unpredictable scenario from a shoestring budget, “The Odds” should be commended. Especially worth praising is the twist ending featured in this episode, the clever execution of which will appeal to horror buffs with an appreciation for irony.

 

Pros

Having been filmed in a misty, smoke-tinted bar, “The Odds” establishes a tense atmosphere despite the limited surroundings in which it takes place. Whenever Lacey and Tommy await the outcome of a bet, a great deal of attention is likewise placed tales-from-the-darkside-the-oddsupon objects of a simple and everyday nature (e.g. wall clocks and table top radios)—a technique that generates and maintains an air of suspense during critical moments, thereby compensating for obvious budgetary limitations. It should also be noted that any intriguing qualities are further accentuated by the opposing reactions of Tommy—a profusely sweating man whose visage resembles that of a stereotypical mob boss—and Lacey, a confident but weasel-like adversary.

 

Cons

Several dated elements (e.g. a strong emphasis on early electronic calculators) are present.

 

Analysis

tales-from-the-darkside-the-oddsBy highlighting realistic human conflict (i.e. unresolved grudges carried over from a past life) in conjunction with subject matter of a paranormal variety, “The Odds” will no doubt satisfy horror enthusiasts who prefer insightful commentary on the human condition over the campy, juvenile themes for which Tales from the Darkside is known.

 

Concluding Comments

A haunting episode, “The Odds” benefits from the complementary performances of Danny Aiello and Tom Noonan. Tales from the Darkside fans would therefore be wise to view this unique, disturbing, and brilliantly performed installment in season one’s lineup of entries.

 

Overall Quality: 9/10

 

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