I have the perfect segue from talking about THE BABADOOK to getting ready for the holidays. It’s an episode of TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE’s third season called “Seasons of Belief” even though it would make much more sense to call it “The Grither.” It’s Christmas Eve and a little brother and sister (Hey, it’s Glim-Glim’s best friend JENNA “Six” VON OY again!) are acting up, being bratty and generally disparaging Santa Clause. In order to cool the kid’s jets and perhaps teach them some humility, the kid’s notably long in the tooth father (CREEPSHOW vet and SUPERMAN 2 president, the always awesome E.G. MARSHALL) and his much younger wife (I’m just sayin’) tell the moppets a terrifying tale of an artic beast called ”The Grither.” The kids are warned that the monster’s name must not be said aloud or else he’ll come a’ calling. You know where this is going don’t you?
As the parents relay more and more fantastic details and even improvise a Grither theme song, the creature seems to grow more and more corporal as if they are conjuring him into reality. In fact, this lil’ 20 minute episode is not unlike a mini-version of the great SCREAMS OF A WINTER NIGHT. I believe the hostile wind from that treasure of a movie even makes an appearance! Nope, there’s not much innovation going on here, but MARSHALL is so much fun to watch, the requisite shock ending is out of this world and the last line is the funniest thing I ever heard.
“The Grither” is the lone directorial effort of the late MICHAEL McDOWELL who authored the classic BEETLEJUICE, another tale of a ghoulish entity whose name should never be spoken and if it doesn’t get you in the holiday mood, quite frankly, I don’t know what will.