Director: Jeffrey Wolf
Writer: Michael McDowell
Cast: Debbie Harry, Jane Manning, and Paul Sparer
Composer: Chris Stein
Air Date: 10/18/1987
Against the wishes of her mother (Jane Manning), a witch named Sybil (Debbie Harry) reveals an ominous plan while dying in bed. Notably, Sybil intends on capturing her soul and returning to life through supernatural means—with a terrible outcome.
Featuring magic spells, bloody wounds, and disembodied souls, “The Moth” contains all the ingredients for a classic Tales from the Darkside offering. Unfortunately, this episode fails to amalgamate its horror-themed tropes in a logical and coherent manner.
“The Moth” benefits from the chemistry of Debbie Harry (lead singer of Blondie) and Jane Manning, who, despite working with a strange and poorly written script, succeed in carrying the entire episode—all of which occurs in a single house consisting of only two members. Specifically, both Harry and Manning convey a convincing level of tension between Sybil—a promiscuous black witch in rebellion against her Christian upbringing—and her mother, a naïve mountain woman who relies on prayer, superstition, and dark magic spells when battling evil forces inside her home.
In spite of its compelling premise and atmospheric sequences, “The Moth” suffers from a confusing and nonsensical execution. For example, Sybil vacates her dying body by assuming the form of an insect, rises from the dead without explanation, and later takes control of another person—moments that may induce frequent head-scratching from all but the least critical of viewers.
“The Moth” deserves praise for its supernatural horror concept and strong performances from Harry and Manning. Nevertheless, this episode is marred by a slapdash narrative and a predictable twist ending.
Overall Quality: 4/10
If you enjoyed this post, please enter your email address in the subscription box to stay tuned for more updates.