Friday, August 4, 2017

Tales from the Darkside: Baker's Dozen

The fourth and final episode scripted by series creator George Romero, "Baker's Dozen" concerns voodoo gingerbread cookies.

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I'm giving you a moment to process that.

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Ready? OK. Based on a story by Scott Edelman and directed by John Harrison (credited for some reason as John Sutherland), "Baker's Dozen" treats its goofy idea seriously and makes it fairly enjoyable. It's got an unscrupulous advertising man (are there any other kind of advertising men?) and a cackling, cooking witch who concocts sweet treats that pack a magical punch, and the episode builds to their appropriately karmic comeuppances.

That basic plot has been done dozens of times, but the cookie gimmick livens it up. I don't know of any other story that uses gingerbread men as voodoo dolls or in which said magical cookies are used by a greedy advertiser looking to climb the ladder to fame and fortune.

Either you buy the premise or you don't. "Baker's Dozens" isn't scary, but it's deliciously nasty.

One thing puzzles me. SPOILER Ms. Cuzzins, the witch, is undone when her father, whom she forced to work in her kitchen and turned into a rat, eats a voodoo cookies he had been saving. Her father gave away the cookies in the first place to try to beat her. I don't know why he didn't just eat the cookie in the first place.

Now we know what Romero did with that leftover voodoo magic when he took it out of his recipe for zombies.

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