The BEST Episodes of Tales from the Darkside

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Feb 13, 2020

Network: CBS

"Man lives in the sunlit world of what he believes to be reality. But... there is, unseen by most, an underworld, a place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit... a Darkside." This 30-minute horror/fantasy anthology series follows in the vein of The Twilight Zone. Each week presents another standalone story of horror fantasy, and/or science fiction. Some episodes are gruesome, a few are of a lighter comedic style. Like many such shows, Tales... adapted the work of famous genre authors of the period such as Harlan Ellison, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. Many episodes also featured veteran actors of the 40's and 50's that saw very little work in their later years. "The Darkside is always there waiting for us to enter; waiting to enter us. Until next time, try to enjoy the daylight."

Seasons of Belief

#1 - Seasons of Belief

Season 3 - Episode 11 - Aired Dec 29, 1986

On Christmas Eve, a couple decide to preoccupy their restless children by telling them a fable concerning a massive, winged creature called ""The Grither"". The children initially balk at the story, which describes the creature as a proud, hateful beast who becomes enraged when it hears its name being spoken aloud. Although it lives at the North Pole, its humongous ears allow it to hear its name being spoken from anywhere in the world, and the parents assure the children that The Grither is well on its way to their house to kill them. The children become progressively more frightened as the story continues, eventually to the point of utter hysteria. Finally, in an effort to calm their children, the parents reveal that the story is make believe. At that moment, the huge arms of The Grither smash through the windows of the house and break the necks of the parents as the children look on in horror.

star 9.00
8 votes
Writers: Michael McDowell
Monsters in My Room

#2 - Monsters in My Room

Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 22, 1985

A little boy, Timmy, tries to convince his skeptical parents that there is a horrible monster beneath his bed - they learn too late that he is telling the truth.

star 8.25
40 votes
Directors: James Sadwith
Writers: James Sadwith
The Geezenstacks

#3 - The Geezenstacks

Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 26, 1986

A little girl, Audrey, discovers she can control her family by manipulating her doll family, the Geezenstacks, within her dollhouse.

star 8.20
10 votes
Writers: Nancy Boyne
The Circus

#4 - The Circus

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 28, 1986

A skeptical journalist travels on assignment to a sideshow. Seated in a small theatre, he is greeted by a perverse caretaker/M.C. who promises (in seemingly generic fashion) to unearth strange, horrible, and presumably fake creatures. The journalist nevertheless feels disgusted when he sees a demonic vampire devour an actual lamb. He chastizes the caretaker for endorsing such horrific ""entertainment"". However, when fully realizing that these are actual CREATURES, the startled journalist attempts to flee the circus and unknowingly retreats into the arms of the vampire. The caretaker subsequently transforms him into a new exhibit, currently on display for the faithful flock of sideshow attendants who DELIGHT in being frightened.

star 7.90
10 votes
Writers: George A. Romero
Ursa Minor

#5 - Ursa Minor

Season 2 - Episode 10 - Aired Dec 1, 1985

When Joan finds a new teddy bear in her son's room no one seems to know where it came from. Then night after night huge claw marks are found on the walls and the sounds of something very large can be heard moving through the house. It seems that this little bear has a murderous life all its own...

star 7.69
39 votes
Directors: Ted Gershuny
Writers: John Sladek, Ted Gershuny
Inside the Closet

#6 - Inside the Closet

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 18, 1984

A student takes a room with an abrupt, somewhat rude anthropology professor. He instructs her never to open the small door in the back of her closet. Hearing strange noises, she eventually opens the door and finds the chamber beyond occupied by a small, hairless-monkey sort of a creature. It kills her and goes after the professor...only to reveal that it is his deformed daughter, which he lovingly dotes on.

star 7.62
64 votes
Directors: Tom Savini
Writers: Michael McDowell
Deliver Us from Goodness

#7 - Deliver Us from Goodness

Season 3 - Episode 10 - Aired Nov 30, 1986

Valeria is a saint - literally - and finds it more then she can bear. She seeks out a way to fall from Grace but is unable to do so no matter how hard she tries.

star 7.60
5 votes
Writers: Jule Selbo
Do Not Open This Box

#8 - Do Not Open This Box

Season 4 - Episode 15 - Aired May 15, 1988

An aged inventor and his wife come into possession of a box marked ""Do not open this box."" The wife opens it and finds it empty. The next day a man comes to claim the box and the lady makes up a story about losing the box. The man begins giving them nice things in exchange for eventually getting the box back. The couple begin living the sweet life thanks to the stranger but when they finally give the box back, the man tells them that it contained a human soul - since the box was opened the soul has escaped and now the man needs a replacement.

star 7.60
10 votes
Directors: Jodie Foster
Writers: Franco Amurri
Halloween Candy

#9 - Halloween Candy

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 27, 1985

A mean old man harboring an intense hatred for the celebration of Halloween is left alone by his son to hand out candy to the neighborhood children. The old man initially ignores the trick-or-treaters, but later cruelly fills their bags with a mixture of syrup and cleaning fluid. Satisfied, the old man retreats to his armchair to watch television, when a goblin-like creature pays him a visit. The creature relentlessly asks the old man for candy and he eventually shuts himself inside the house to avoid it. He suddenly realizes that he is unable to make phone calls as the goblin continues to stalk him from outside the house. Finally deciding to confront the creature, the old man walks out to the porch, only to discover that the goblin has vanished. He goes back into the house and looks out the window one last time. As he closes the curtain, he is confronted face-to-face by the creature inside the house, who again asks him for candy. Shocked and frightened, he falls to the floor and passe

star 7.53
74 votes
Directors: Tom Savini
Writers: Michael McDowell
A Case of the Stubborns

#10 - A Case of the Stubborns

Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired Dec 2, 1984

In the backwoods, a family patriarch dies...only to come back, unaware that he's dead. The townspeople are up in arms, but the old man is too stubborn to admit he's dead, despite his rigor mortis, lack of appetite, and bad smell. His grandson Jody eventually goes to an old voodoo woman for a solution. Rather than magic, she provides him with a simple solution: pepper. Jody puts it in his grandpa's handkerchief. When the old man sneezes, his nose falls off, which finally convinces him to go lie down and give up life for good.

star 7.46
61 votes
Directors: Jerry Smith
Writers: James Houghton, Robert Bloch
A New Lease On Life

#11 - A New Lease On Life

Season 2 - Episode 15 - Aired Jan 26, 1986

A man is overjoyed to find a nice apartment with all the modern conveniences at an incredibly cheap price. The eccentric landlady asks nothing more than for the man to provide her with plenty of garbage for the disposal unit. The man is puzzled when the walls ooze blood after he attempts to hang a picture with a nail and hammer. He is further disturbed when the floor shakes as he hears an ominous roar bellow throughout the building complex. He soon realizes that the building itself is a living entity that survives on the trash created by the tenants. Angered by the situation, the man fills a garbage bag full of household cleaners with the intent of poisoning the entity. He throws the bag into the disposal unit and the creature begins to roar. Suddenly, the landlady confronts the man with her two sons and they throw the man into the disposal, providing the beast with a full course meal.

star 7.43
35 votes
Directors: John Strysik
Writers: Adam Jacobs, Harvey Jacobs, Michael McDowell
The Odds

#12 - The Odds

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 21, 1984

Tommy Vale, a barroom bookie finds himself in a curious predicament: a man comes in who can't lose. As the story unravels, he finds out that his opponent is Lacey, a man who went broke gambling with Vale in the past. Now Lacey is back from the dead, with tips from the other side, and is unbeatable. In a final ghoulish wager, Lacey bets that Vale will die at a particular time, and he's never been wrong. But the clock chimes and Vale is still alive. Lacey is forced to depart, and Vale reveals that he set the clock ahead five minutes, then dies right on time.

star 7.41
85 votes
Directors: James Sadwith
Writers: Carole Lucia Satrina, James Sadwith
The Last Car

#13 - The Last Car

Season 2 - Episode 19 - Aired Feb 23, 1986

Stacey is on her way home from college and rides the last car on a train. She is soon perplexed by the bizarre behavior of her fellow passengers, including a woman who knows her name despite the fact they've never met. Stacey soon discovers that she, and everyone else, are dead and on a one-way trip from which there is no escape.

star 7.38
13 votes
Directors: John Strysik
Writers: Michael McDowell
The Casavin Curse

#14 - The Casavin Curse

Season 2 - Episode 24 - Aired Jul 13, 1986

A family finds themselves cursed because of their great grandfather killing his wife, and the curse won't die until they all die too and there is no one else to carry on his name.

star 7.38
8 votes
Directors: Frank DePalma
Writers: Edithe Swensen
The Devil's Advocate

#15 - The Devil's Advocate

Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 10, 1985

A hate-style radio host, Mandrake, spews out venom at anyone who calls in. He soon discovers, however, after receiving calls across all of time that he is dead but that the ""Boss,"" has kept him on since he discourages souls and make them more prone to the ""Boss'"" influence. Mandrake is unable to leave his broadcast booth and finds himself transforming into a demon as he has to continue broadcasting forever, and ever.

star 7.18
11 votes
Directors: Richard Gornick
Writers: George A. Romero
The Old Soft Shoe

#16 - The Old Soft Shoe

Season 2 - Episode 18 - Aired Feb 16, 1986

Salesman Chester checks into a motel and makes an off-hand pass at a woman. She rejects him, but soon another, jealous woman shows up to haunt him.

star 7.15
13 votes
Writers: Art Monterastelli
Baker's Dozen

#17 - Baker's Dozen

Season 3 - Episode 9 - Aired Nov 23, 1986

Ruby Cuzzins, a New Orleans baker, sells ""magic"" cookies and gives unscrupulous Henry adman a sample of her wares. Convinced, Henry tries to get her to go into business with him but gets his comeuppance when she refuses.

star 7.09
11 votes
Directors: John Sutherland
Writers: George A. Romero
In the Cards

#18 - In the Cards

Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired Jan 27, 1985

A fake fortuneteller, Caterina, soon finds that every fortune she tells comes true...but she can only predict gruesome and horrific ends for her customers. She soon discovers that another cursed fortuneteller slipped her a cursed pack of cards, and Caterina can only get rid of them by giving them to another fake. She does so by slipping into another fortuneteller's parlor, asking for a fortune, and slipping her the cursed deck. Unfortunately the first fortune the new cursee reads is of Caterina's death...which rapidly comes true.

star 7.02
50 votes
Directors: Ted Gershuny
Writers: Carole Lucia Satrina, Ted Gershuny
The Spirit Photographer

#19 - The Spirit Photographer

Season 4 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 11, 1987

Despite the discouragement of his friend, a middle-aged photographer, Algernon, tries to captures spirits on film.

star 6.92
12 votes
Directors: Bill Travis
Writers: Brian Thomas Jones, Mark Patrick Carducci
The Cutty Black Sow

#20 - The Cutty Black Sow

Season 4 - Episode 14 - Aired May 8, 1988

On her deathbed, Jamie's great grandmother tells him the tale of a Celtic demon, the Cutty Black Sow, that comes to claim the soul of anyone dying that night, and Jamie vows to protect her soul from the beast.

star 6.88
8 votes
Writers: Michael McDowell
Miss May Dusa

#21 - Miss May Dusa

Season 3 - Episode 12 - Aired Jan 18, 1987

A robber accidentally brings a mannequin to life - its gaze turns him into a statue. The now-living mannequin flees into the night, unaware of her powers or the harm she can bring.

star 6.83
6 votes
Writers: Richard Blackburn

#22 - Heretic

Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 9, 1986

A rich art collector buys a stolen painting from a thief. The painting portrays a man before the Spanish Inquisition. The collector, Harte, is soon visited by a mysterious man who begs him to repent of his sins and give up the wrongfully-gained picture. Harte ignores the warnings and finds himself sucked into the painting where he is to be tortured as a sinner and heretic. He recants to the Inquisitor, who lets him go. Once out of the painting, Harte refuses to give it up, and receives a personal visit from the Inquisitor in the real world. The thief returns to take the picture, and Harte is nowhere to be this world.

star 6.82
11 votes
Directors: Jerry Smith
Writers: Edithe Swensen
The Trouble with Mary Jane

#23 - The Trouble with Mary Jane

Season 2 - Episode 9 - Aired Nov 24, 1985

Two occultists are offered $50,000 if they can rid a girl of the multiple demons possessing her, but they soon find themselves in over their heads.

star 6.80
15 votes
Directors: T.J. Castronova
Writers: Edithe Swensen

#24 - Levitation

Season 1 - Episode 19 - Aired May 19, 1985

A teenager enraptured with magicians goes to a flee-bitten circus to seek out one of the greater: Kharma. However, Kharma now does cheap magic for the crowds, and none of the great illusions the teenager believes him capable of. When Kharma refuses to do them, the kid heckles him until Kharma relents and uses the boy as a subject for his greatest feat of levitation. However, Kharma dies of a heart attack, and the boy simply keeps on levitating...up into the sky and out of sight.

star 6.79
43 votes
Directors: John Harrison
Writers: David Gerrold, Joseph Payne Brennan

#25 - Beetles

Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 27, 1987

An Egyptologist working on a sarcophagus ignores a curse and meets a horrific fate.

star 6.79
19 votes
Writers: Robert Bloch