Director: Frank De Palma
Writer: Edithe Swensen
Cast: Renee Taylor, Louis Quinn, JoAnn Willette, Brett Marx, Ron Sloan, Jared Rushton, and Paul Sparer
Composers: Ken Lauber and Hilary Bercovici
Air Date: 11/16/1986
Unable to positively influence her son Marc (Brett Marx) and daughter Madlene (JoAnn Willette), Pearl King (Renee Taylor) acquires a serpent’s tooth for granting any wish that she desires. Complications arise when Pearl, careless of her new power, unintentionally inflicts a great deal of harm on her children.
“A Serpent’s Tooth” contains a worthwhile lesson for Tales from the Darkside fans to consider. That being said, this episode suffers from idiotic plot twists, annoying performances, and tonal inconsistencies.
Dealing with a pair of rebellious and disrespectful children, the character of Pearl may evoke sympathy from real-life parents. (Nevertheless, there are times when the incessant nagging of Pearl—supposedly a loving and dedicated mother—will likely prevent the audience from relating to her character.)
“A Serpent’s Tooth” is marred by comedic devices of a cringe-inducing nature. In one scene, for example, Pearl accidentally transforms Barry (Ron Sloane)—Madlene’s uncouth boyfriend—into a slice of date-nut bread. Instead of having his humanity restored by Pearl, however, Barry is placed into a refrigerator by a weeping Madlene—a bizarre and juvenile attempt at humor.
Also worth criticizing are the shouting matches between Pearl and her daughter, which, though intended to reinforce the family conflict at the heart of this episode, often border on the obnoxious.
Indicating that young people should respect their elders and that parents should allow their children enough space to grow as individuals, “A Serpent’s Tooth” offers a laudable twist on the premise of “The Monkey’s Paw.”
Combining supernatural tropes with a commendable message, “A Serpent’s Tooth” will likely appeal to Tales from the Darkside enthusiasts with a quirky sense of humor. Casual sci-fi/horror buffs, in contrast, may wish to avoid this episode for its unlikable characters and predictable conclusion.
Overall Quality: 3/10
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