Tales from the Darkside Episode 53: Black Widows

General Information

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 RobertTales from the Darkside Black Widows (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.



Tales from the Darkside Black WidowsUpon 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. Tales from the Darkside Black WidowsSpecifically, 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.





Concluding Comments

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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