Director: Karl Epstein
Writer: Michael McDowell
Cast: Margaret O’Brien, Theresa Saldana, Paul Eiding, Joe D’Angerio, Howard Dayton, and Paul Sparer
Composer: Ken Lauber
Air Date: 11/2/1986
Despite the reluctance of her mother Mildred (Margaret O’Brien), trailer park resident Audrey Webster (Theresa Saldana) decides to marry a man named Robert (Joe D’Angerio). On her wedding night, Audrey discovers a terrifying secret about the women in her family.
Tales from the Darkside viewers may enjoy this episode for its dark humor and violent situations. Casual horror fans should nevertheless avoid “Black Widows,” which suffers from poorly developed characters and cringe-worthy production values.
Upon transforming into a giant spider for the first time, Audrey exits her bedroom with the pale, hollowed-out corpse of a human victim—a disturbing sequence that, though rather primitive by modern-day standards, will appeal to those who enjoy practical effects of a gory and macabre nature.
Hampered by budgetary and technical limitations, this offering fails to present a terrifying—let alone remotely convincing—human/spider hybrid creature. Specifically, in addition to remaining off-screen most of the time, the black widow monster reveals a pair of fake-looking appendages while attacking a door-to-door salesman—a Z-grade special effect that further detracts from the realism of this episode.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
Also problematic is the inconsistent characterization of Audrey—initially a sweet, naïve young woman who exhibits no remorse after killing and eating her new husband.
This Tales from the Darkside entry makes underwhelming use of a clever, interesting concept for a black comedy piece. Margaret O’Brien and Theresa Saldana do, however, deserve praise for adding chemistry to the mother-daughter pair featured in this episode.
Overall Quality: 3/10
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