Tales From the Darkside 224: Casavin Curse

Okay, never let it be said that Tales from the Dark Side doesn't know how to open an episode with a creepy image.

Lying on the rumpled, bloodstained sheets was a bottle of champagne, so we know that whatever this this traumatized woman went through started as a celebration, and quickly turned horrible. But just how horrible? Check this out:

Yep, it's a dead boyfriend leaning on a table next to a number of open pillbottles. Is the woman heavily medicated, or did they like to party a little too much? I'm like thirty seconds in, there's been no dialogue, and we've already learned a lot. Can a simple crazy person really do that kind of damage? Just primo filmmaking, guys.

Gina, that's the bloody woman's name, is woken by her maid knocking on the locked door to her bedroom. It seems that Mister Casavin will be home soon and Tyler, the dead guy, should be out of there by then. Is Gina cheating on her husband? I'm going to assume yes. Hearing Gina's screams, the maid unlocks the door and lets herself in. Gina announces that this is happened before, and that she's cursed - she needs to be locked away!

The show then cuts to the arrival of the authorities, who are skeptical about Gina's claims that she killed Tyler. He was manually strangled and then brutally chopped up after death, and she simply isn't physically capable of the acts she's supposed to have committed. A handsome young doctor, a psychiatrist, in fact, arrives to help sort the situation out. He thinks that Gina's suffering from paranoid delusions brought on by a combination of the drugs she takes to sleep and seeing her boyfriend brutally murdered. Gina wants to be locked away somewhere, but the implausibility of her having committed the crime, Nicholas, her cousin (not husband!) is something of a big wheel around town, ensures that she is let off the hook. Yes, they're super rich, and laws don't apply to them.

Nicholas, Gina's cousin, arrives home and quickly stops are talking about the "family curse" that was responsible for Tyler's death. It's a confusing mess as far as the police are concerned - the maid didn't hear anything because her room is in another wing of the house, and Nicholas can't do the killer because he only just arrived back in town – although he wasn't fond of his cousins close relationship with Tyler… Seems suspicious, although Gina says that was just an attempt to keep her from falling in love and creating another tragedy. It's up to Doctor Webster, heroic psychiatrist, to sort this one out!

Webster declares his intention to help Gina remember what happened, but Nicholas wants him to stay out of their family's affairs. Naturally, he doesn't, and in the next scene the maid is helping Gina prepare for her doctor's arrival. They're having a session at an obscure corner of the estate, hoping to keep Nicholas from finding out about it. The maid, for her part, encourages Gina to see the doctor, thinking it's unhealthy for her to only associate with her cousin. Speaking of, Nicholas arrives in the room moments later. He doesn't like hearing that Webster has been coming by the house and consoling Gina after the tragedy. He's especially concerned about her telling Webster the details of the family curse. He'd prefer the story be told in a certain way… A way that involves one of those bizarre static balls, for absolutely no reason. I wish I were kidding:

It seems the one of their ancestors murdered his gypsy wife so he could marry someone else and she put a curse on the family: that they would destroy anyone they loved. Gina has now lost two lovers, and Nicholas explains that he's kept her on drugs to make her aloof and passionless, so it won't happen again. The Casavins can't have conventional relationships, it seems. And based on this image–

That means the Nicholas is in love with his cousin. The two of them are the last of the consultants, although whether this winnowing down has been caused by murder or inbreeding, we're not told. So, is this curse just a story Nicholas uses to keep the object of his affections under his thumb? Then having the various men killed to help sell the story? Possible, but I have very different theory, based on the fact that the maid is listening to this whole conversation.

I think the maid, despite her pale blondeness, is a descendent of the Gypsy clan, and the curse is that they've been following this family around murdering the objects of their affection! How's that for a twist? Now that I've locked my guess in, let's see the way it really plays out.

My theory is backed up by the maid's words to Webster after Gina goes to her cousin's party. She encourages the two of them to be together and hints that she may know something about the night Tyler was murdered… Then she goes into Gina's bedroom and opens a crest on the wall revealing a hidden knife!

That was not a thorough investigation by the police, was it? More to the point, though, between the maid knowing where this knife was, and it being demonstrated that she has keys to get in and out of the room without anyone knowing, which makes her an excellent prime suspect!

The maid meets Webster that night, letting them know that Nicholas owed Tyler money and that he threatened Tyler's life if he continued seeing Gina. Webster convinces her to go to the police, although I'm sure that's all part of the maid's nefarious master plan.

Then it's time for creepy scene between the cousins where he proposes marriage, reasoning that since they don't love each other, it could be a successful union the doesn't destroy either of them. Which would be a great theory, if he wasn't obviously in love with his cousin. The police burst in and drag Nicholas away, leaving Gina Nicholas alone. Webster explains his theory of the crime, with Nicholas using the curse to control Gina, and she finds it a plausible explanation. Which means it's time for them to get it on.

Oh, this is going to go well. Especially after the maid enters with wine for their romantic evening. She announces that it's designed to calm their nerves, but I think we both know the real plan is to drug them both into unconsciousness so that the maid can do her murdering in peace!

As a brief love scene, which is followed by OHMYGOD

Okay. I was wrong. Really, really, wrong. There's a curse, she's evil, and that was scary as hell.

Nicholas arrives home from police custody just in time to get killed by Gina, who is in turn stabbed to death by Webster, in tragic self-defense.


Except for the maid walking in to cackle that all went according to her evil plan. She was, in fact, a gypsy. She wasn't doing any murdering, just helping push people into situations where they would cause the curse to come into effect. Also, she's the great-granddaughter of the dead gypsy woman, making her a Casavin as well, I think. So really this is just a disagreement between two sides of the same family.

It's been a rough season, Tales from the Dark Side, but I'll admit it: this was a good episode to go out on.

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