Tales from the Darkside Episode 72: The Spirit Photographer

General Information

Director: Bill Travis

Writers: Mark Patrick Carducci and Brian Thomas Jones

Cast: Frank Hamilton, Richard Clarke, Terres Unsoeld, and Paul Sparer

Composer: Charlie Morrow

Air Date: 10/11/1987

 

Overview

Hoping to compel his skeptic friend, Harry Bainbridge (Richard Clarke), to accept the reality of paranormal phenomena, Algernon Colesbury (Frank Hamilton) builds a Tales from the Darkside The Spirit Photographydevice for photographing ghosts with impeccable clarity. While conducting experiments in a haunted house, however, Algernon discovers a terrible drawback of his otherwise nifty invention.

“The Spirit Photographer” is marred by dated special effects and occasionally weak performances. Nevertheless, this episode benefits from a poignant twist ending, a quirky main character, and a clever supernatural premise.

 

Pros

Tales from the Darkside The Spirit PhotographerDespite operating on a shoestring budget, “The Spirit Photographer” maintains a chilling atmosphere due to its effective use of horror tropes. Especially ominous are the occult images, spooky sounds, and ghostly occurrences that haunt the protagonist during his attempt to prove, beyond a “shadow” of a doubt, the existence of paranormal activity.

 

Cons

“The Spirit Photographer” will likely evoke criticism, even among the most forgiving of horror fans, for its Z-grade production values. Notably, a simple transparency effect creates the appearance of a female ghost, who, due to a lack of convincing cameraTales from the Darkside The Spirit Photographer trickery, fails to embody the shadowy vagueness that many would associate with a spectral figure.

Also poor-quality is the acting of Terres Unsoeld, who may induce unintended laughter with her excessive moaning, bodily contortions, and orgasmic facial expressions—all of which serve to oversell the tormented nature of the phantom Lenore.

 

Analysis

Tales from the Darkside The Spirit PhotographerThough a generic ghost tale when considered at face value, “The Spirit Photographer” should be commended for its thoughtful examination of the following themes: the pros and cons of pursuing a hobby to the point of obsession, the intellectual snobbery of many self-proclaimed skeptics, and the potential dangers of tampering with unknown forces.

 

Concluding Comments

“The Spirit Photographer” is a creepy installment of Tales from the Darkside. Specifically worth praising is the original concept for this episode, which will appeal to fans of the horror/paranormal genre.

 

Overall Quality: 7/10

 

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