If "Inside the Closet" demonstrated how formalist film techniques might be effectively marshaled to forge a visceral sense of terror on a low-budget, then Tales from the Darkside's "Slippage" reveals another side of the anthology series' creative equation.
As mortal human beings what many of us fear most is oblivion, our absence from existence itself. Religions have been created, in fact, simply to temper our fear of such oblivion. Instead of oblivion, we face an eternal and Utopian afterlife in a different, spiritual form, many religions inform us in a dedicated attempt to make the unimaginable and unacceptable palatable.
But "Slippage" dwells explicitly in that universal fear of "winking out," veritably gazing at the bogeyman of oblivion in the mirror.
Simply put, we don't want to be forgotten. We don't want to be invisible.
"Slippage" is consumed with the idea of self/identity, and the episode highlights numerous shots of Richard gazing into the mirror, considering his reflection. He draws sketches of himself as a baby, as an adult, and as an old man as well. All such compositions remind the viewer how important we hold our own image, our visage and sense of self. The message is, simply -- as scrawled out in a Yearbook quote from Rich's classmate -- "Remember thyself to thyself."