Tales from the Darkside Episode 41: The Old Soft Shoe

General Information

Director: Richard Friedman

Writer: Art Monterastelli

Cast: Paul Dooley, John Fiedler, Kathy McLain, Dorothy Parke, Patrick Farrelly, and Paul Sparer

Composer: None (Stock Music)

Air Date: 2/16/1986

 

Overview

Lingerie salesman Chester “Soft Shoes” Caruso (Paul Dooley) rents a hotel room from Arthur (John Fiedler), a stern but oddball manager. Upon settling downtales-from-the-darkside-the-old-soft-shoe for the evening, Chester is met by the advances of an alluring, volatile, and enigmatic woman named Glenda (Dorothy Parke), who seems to vanish and reappear at will.

Similar to The Shining, “The Old Soft Shoe” employs the haunted hotel trope for scares. That being said, any potential contained in said trope is marred by the unfocused (albeit vaguely coherent) direction taken by this episode.

 

Pros

tales-from-the-darkside-the-old-soft-shoeThough hardly appropriate for a supernatural horror story, the comedic performance of John Fiedler will appeal to fans of quirky and eccentric humor. For example, Arthur’s belt machine antics provide an amusing, if thoroughly unexpected, contrast to the attempted murder of Chester, which occurs in the prior scene.

 

Cons

The presence of Carol—an arrogant, condescending hotel patron—serves little if any purpose; that is, except to allow for a not-so-subtle tribute to the original Psycho (i.e. Chester peers through atales-from-the-darkside-the-old-soft-shoe peephole connected to an adjacent room, wherein Carol can be seen slipping into a bathrobe—an obvious nod to the parallel sequence featuring Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh).

Also problematic, Arthur responds with unwavering skepticism upon learning of Chester’s bizarre experience in cottage seven—an unrealistic reaction considering that many years earlier, Arthur’s own father was murdered in the same hotel room rented by Chester.

 

Analysis

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Concluding Comments

“The Old Soft Shoe” is an occasionally ominous Tales from the Darkside episode. However, an incongruous, almost tongue-in-cheek tone works to undermine any horror elements at the core of this offering.

 

Overall Quality: 4/10

 

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