Director: Richard Glass
Writer: Michael McDowell
Cast: Huckleberry Fox, Paula Trueman, Mary Alison Griffin, Timothy Landfield, Sharon Ullrick, and Paul Sparer
Composer: Johnathan Elias
Air Date: 5/8/1988
Before dying on Halloween, an elderly woman (Paula Trueman) gives a dire warning to her great grandson Jamie (Huckleberry Fox). Notably, Jamie learns that he must locate five stones, one for each member of his family, and place them in a circle of fire to guard against the Cutty Black Sow—a monster of Scottish folklore.
“The Cutty Black Sow” is a worthy installment of Tales from the Darkside. Specifically, this episode should be commended for its haunting atmosphere, creepy twist ending, and topnotch acting from the young Huckleberry Fox.
Actress Paula Trueman—seen previously in “Monsters in My Room” from season two—should evoke praise for her ominous portrayal of the great grandmother. While lying on her deathbed, for example, Trueman’s character rambles incessantly about the Cutty Black Sow and its relation to All Hallows’ Eve—an aspect that adds credibility to a monster that originates from an old Scottish legend.
Featuring the sharp, crackling whine of bagpipe music from beginning to end, “The Cutty Black Sow” deserves criticism for its annoying, repetitious, and unoriginal score—even by the standards of a typical Tales from the Darkside episode.
This offering is also marred by the last-minute showing of the Cutty Black Sow, who resembles a giant pig monster with beady yellow eyes—a somewhat fake-looking and uninspired creature, at least when compared to the great grandmother’s description earlier in the story.
Forgoing the campy humor of most episodes in favor of pure supernatural horror, “The Cutty Black Sow” builds a harrowing, suspenseful narrative around an obscure legend—a factor that compels the viewer to sympathize with Jamie, who, as an impressionable child, takes seriously the concept of saving his grandmother’s soul from a demonic creature.
Using exposition to heighten the power of suggestion, “The Cutty Black Sow” maintains an air of subtlety throughout. Horror enthusiasts may therefore enjoy this episode, which suffers only from an irritating soundtrack and an anticlimactic finale.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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