Directors: William Hale, Jeannot Szwarc, and Jerrold Freedman
Writers: Alvin Sapinsley, Jack Laird, Malcolm Marmorstein, and Gerald Sanford
Cast: James Farentino, Michele Lee, Jonathan Harris, Jeanette Nolan, Adam West, Arte Johnson, Eldon Quick, Charles Seel, Alma Platt, Arnold Turner, and Jack Laird
Composer: John Lewis
Gallery Painter: Tom Wright
Air Date: 9/29/1971
Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay
A man of logic and science, Professor Craig Lowell (James Farentino) rejects the advice of occult expert Nicholas Porteus (Jonathan Harris). Before long, however, Craig suspects that Ada (Jeanette Nolan)—an elderly relative of his wife Joanna (Michele Lee)—is a powerful and malevolent witch.
Horror enthusiasts will enjoy this segment, which benefits from topnotch acting, supernatural tropes, and ambiguous implications in the final scene. Especially compelling is the struggle that occurs between Aunt Ada—an evil witch with more than a few tricks up her sleeve—and Craig Lowell, a hardened skeptic forced to confront the existence of occult power.
Having previously portrayed an old witch in “Jess-Belle” from The Twilight Zone, Jeanette Nolan embodies the subtle creepiness that one would expect of a seasoned occult practitioner—much in contrast to the trio of hags featured in “Witches’ Feast,” which suffers from the campy antics of its three main characters. Specifically, Aunt Ada goes about her business by laughing at inappropriate times, watching over Craig from spooky angles, and offering potions to “help” Joanna with her insomnia—actions that would drive any sane house member to the brink of desperation and insanity.
“Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay” is marred by dated sound and visual effects, which serve to showcase the supernatural abilities of its title character.
Following the journey of a humbled skeptic, “Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay” indicates that adherence to logic, science, and rational thinking should not necessary preclude belief in, or at least the consideration of, paranormal activity as an influencing factor upon real-world phenomena.
“Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay” is a suspenseful and engaging Night Gallery segment. Worth praising in particular is the character of Ada, who plays the part of a frail, innocent old woman in order to gain sympathy from her intended victims.
Overall Quality: 9/10
With Apologies to Mr. Hyde
With the help of a deranged laboratory assistant, Dr. Jekyll (Jack Laird) ingests a magic potion and subsequently transforms into the evil Mr. Hyde. While in his altered state, Hyde reprimands his accomplice for making a mistake when mixing the formula—with a humorous outcome.
“With Apologies to Mr. Hyde” is a cute and silly parody of a famous gothic horror tale. Unfortunately, this offering will evoke criticism for its cheesy acting, awful twist ending, and lack of a scary or memorable monster.
Showcasing a mad scientist, a spooky laboratory, and a hunchbacked assistant modeled after Ygor/Fritz of the Universal Monster series, “With Apologies to Mr. Hyde” pays tribute to the classic creature features of the 1930s—similar to “Junior,” “A Matter of Semantics,” and “Phantom of What Opera?” from earlier in season two.
Despite containing all the ingredients (no pun intended) for a Jekyll/Hyde spoof, this segment is marred by a cringe-inducing punchline—not unlike the majority of blackout sketches featured among Night Gallery’s lineup of episodes.
Also worth condemning is the performance of Adam West, who, though less wooden than Jack Laird in the hunchback role, struggles to embody the physical torment essential to any Jekyll/Hyde transformation—a problem made additionally obvious by cheap make-up effects and low-quality production values.
A two-minute filler piece, “With Apologies to Mr. Hyde” should be avoided for its absence of horror/comedic value. In addition, the acting of Laird (series producer) and West (the 1960s Batman) fails to enhance or expand upon the one-note premise for this segment.
Overall Quality: 2/10
The Flip-Side of Satan
Working the late shift at a remote radio station, a sleazy disc jockey named J.J. Wilson (Arte Johnson) is forced to play a series of chilling, otherworldly tunes for his audience of listeners. As the night progresses, J.J. begins to grasp the horrifying reality of his situation—with a gruesome finale.
This segment will appeal to Night Gallery fans for its supernatural horror concept, which benefits from a subtle and slow-burn execution. Likewise, viewers may commend Arte Johnson for his slimy portrayal of J.J. Wilson—a hateful character who receives his comeuppance in a satisfying manner.
Similar to the Tales from the Darkside episode entitled “The Devil’s Advocate” (another story of a disc jockey who faces punishment for his wicked behavior), “The Flip-Side of Satan” succeeds in building a hellish, claustrophobic atmosphere inside the operating room of a radio station. Specifically ominous are the demonic sound effects, creepy organ music, and incantations to summon Lucifer and his disciples—all of which serve to foreshadow the impending doom of J.J., who, being unobservant and thoroughly self-absorbed, makes no connection between immoral life choices and his current predicament.
Due to his grating personality, insufferable voice, and groan-inducing humor, the character of J.J. fails to exhibit the captivating, charismatic qualities that one would associate with an accomplished radio host.
“The Flip-Side of Satan” is a dark and amusing Night Gallery segment. Series enthusiasts will therefore enjoy this offering, which combines spooky tension with the character antics of Arte Johnson.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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