Welcome back to my “Tales from the Darkside” Marathon! People have been fascinated by ghosts for centuries. One of the most common trends now are depicting people who like to hunt for ghosts and try to capture them on film. Today’s tale is about a man who snaps ghostly photos. This is “The Spirit Photographer.”
Algernon Colesbury is a photographer who’s just moved into what is apparently a famous haunted townhouse. However, he prefers to photograph dead people rather than live ones. But his friend, a reporter named Harry, doesn’t believe in ghosts and is skeptical of Algernon’s work as a whole. To prove him and the other skeptics wrong, Algernon plans to use a fine-tuned machine to capture the world’s first clear ghostly photograph. Will he get the photographic proof he seeks, or will the townhouse’s apparition, Lenore, not take kindly to having her picture taken?
This episode was alright, but it had some missteps. As you can imagine, the plot is pretty straightforward. Algernon tells Harry about his spirit machine, prepares to find the ghost, snaps her picture, and then the twist ending occurs. The atmosphere during his preparation stage was done pretty well and it sets up some foreshadowing for later. The dialogue at first was a bit fast-paced even for me, mostly because the introductory conversation between Algernon and Harry was full of exposition. It was one of the clunkier parts of the episode for me, but once the dialogue’s pacing slowed down to match the atmosphere, it was a bit better.
As characters, both Harry and Algernon were acted well enough. Harry is your typical cynic when it comes to ghosts, but he does show genuine concern for Algernon’s obsession and their conversations did seem to depict them as old friends. Algernon was shown to be resourceful, even resorting to a Ouija board to contact and get information from the spirit of a man thought to have been possessed by Lenore. He does also come off a bit obsessed and you could easily side with him and Harry. The only problem I had with any character was with Lenore herself. Once she showed up, she was overly dramatic even for a ghost. It got worse when she started to speak, but luckily she doesn’t overstay her welcome.
As for the twist ending, it was good but also a little confusing. It’s hard to explain without going into spoilers, but the way a character is visually presented during the twist didn’t make sense to me. I couldn’t tell if they were meant to be a hallucination, a spirit, or something else entirely. Despite that, I did like Algernon’s reaction and it was a good way to wrap up his story.
I think “The Spirit Photographer” was a decent ghost story. Its characters were likable, the story was easy to follow, and the foreshadowing during the middle portion was a nice touch to add to the atmosphere. While I wasn’t into Lenore’s portrayal and had some issues with the beginning and ending, this episode had its charms.