September 23: Tales from the Darkside: The Tear Collector. Rating: 1/5. Comment: The only way I could get Joshua Fornelli to agree to start the Frightfest early was to promise we would watch only Tales from the Darkside episodes for this last week of September (they are about a half an hour and bring a sense of nostalgia with them for the ‘good old days’). That being said, the good old days are old, and time has moved on and what was once the height of dramatic thrills has now become unacceptable, sexist, and stalker-y. What I’m saying is the past should stay there. This episode begins with a woman describing her clear-cut, textbook symptoms of what modern medicine would diagnose as clinical depression. (“I have never been happy. I just cry for no reason and can’t stop.”) Her useless, self-absorbed roommate tells her to just cheer up, put on some makeup (“They say if you look good, you feel good, so paint on a happy face.”), and try to find a man. When our main character refuses, the roommate throws up her hands and tells her she’ll never get a date that way, which, probably, is the least of poor Prudence’s worries. So Pru goes outside and is immediately empathetic to a homeless raving lunatic (or alcoholic — it’s not clear) digging in the trash can. He sees her pitying him and accosts her, and then, unsurprisingly, assaults her physically and verbally. He follows her down the street while she screams and cries for him to leave her alone, while no one else intervenes (ah, the good old days). Suddenly, a man who had far too much Botox injected into his unmovable forehead steps directly into her path. He gives her his card and tells her how beautiful her tears are (and who says chivalry is dead?), requesting she visit him, alone, no questions asked. He backs away from her gracefully, never once looking behind him as he glides to an impressively expensive-looking town car. The drunk hobo, sensing another man marking his territory and claiming her for his own, stalks off, leaving our mentally unstable heroine further traumatized and confused by the disappearance of her knight in shining armor. She decides she should — nay, must! — visit that unlined savior at his apartment, alone and defenseless. He tells her he is there to wrench her from her despair by collecting her tears in a glass vase (shaped like a swan, though the allusion escapes me). Eventually, for no understandable reason, she falls in love with Dr. Strangelove, and when he ultimately rejects her inexplicably, it shatters her and sends her reeling into a life of crime; she steals her jar of tears — which he had literally paid her money to get — and, in the process, breaks a bunch of other tiny whine-bottles. I had hoped her punishment for theft and vandalism would be harsh and swift. It was not. I won’t spoil the end for you. Okay, I will, because I genuinely don’t feel anyone should watch this horror again. She meets another dude and then hangs out with him. I’d like to inject a little humor into this review but I just…can’t.