The BEST Episodes of Tales from the Darkside
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Oct 18, 2019
"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."
#1 - Seasons of Belief
Season 3 - Episode 11
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.
#3 - The Circus
Season 3 - Episode 1
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.
#5 - Do Not Open This Box
Season 4 - Episode 15
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.
#6 - Halloween Candy
Season 2 - Episode 5
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
#7 - The Casavin Curse
Season 2 - Episode 24
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.
#8 - Anniversary Dinner
Season 1 - Episode 13
A young girl fleeing her boyfriend finds herself in a small country home with a genial older couple. They take pity on her and invite her in, and even invite her to their special anniversary dinner. After getting her set up in the hot tub with plenty of wine, they start pouring vegetables in. As she passes out, the girl realizes exactly how the couple will be having her for dinner.
#9 - A Case of the Stubborns
Season 1 - Episode 9
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.
#10 - The Devil's Advocate
Season 2 - Episode 7
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.
#11 - The Odds
Season 1 - Episode 4
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.
#12 - The Last Car
Season 2 - Episode 19
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.
#13 - The Old Soft Shoe
Season 2 - Episode 18
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.
#14 - In the Cards
Season 1 - Episode 12
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.
#15 - Baker's Dozen
Season 3 - Episode 9
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.
#16 - Ursa Minor
Season 2 - Episode 10
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...
#17 - Pain Killer
Season 1 - Episode 3
Harvey goes to Dr. Roebuck with back pains and Roebuck prescribes a miraculous cure. It's not until later that Harvey finds the price he must pay...
#18 - The Spirit Photographer
Season 4 - Episode 3
Despite the discouragement of his friend, a middle-aged photographer, Algernon, tries to captures spirits on film.
#19 - The Cutty Black Sow
Season 4 - Episode 14
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.
#20 - Monsters in My Room
Season 2 - Episode 12
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.
#21 - Miss May Dusa
Season 3 - Episode 12
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.
#23 - The Impressionist
Season 2 - Episode 1
An impressionist, "Mr. Personalities," is brought in by the government to try to help them communicate with an alien. Mr. Personalities is at first stumped but finally makes "contact." The alien departs and Mr. Personalities is depressed...until the alien returns for him.
#24 - I'll Give You a Million
Season 1 - Episode 2
Two old, rich men like to wager among themselves on trivial matters for huge amounts. One of them, Williams, offers his friend a million dollars for his immortal soul. Blaine accepts but discovers that he is dying of cancer - frightened, he tries to buy his soul back. Williams holds out for more money, until it's too late - Blaine dies. Soulless, he comes back for his soul, shocking Williams into a heart attack...and the Devil comes to claim his due from both of them.
#25 - Distant Signals
Season 2 - Episode 8
A famous director is surprised when he is approached by a mysterious investor who wants him to finish up a ""Fugitive""-like series that he had done twenty years ago that was cancelled before the final episodes were shown. ""Mr. Smith"" wants the director to put together the old cast and finish it out, for his ""foreign viewers"". The star, Van Conway, is a drunk but Mr. Smith mysteriously manages to sober him up. They finish up the series, where the viewers find out that the amnesiac lead character was being hunted by his jealous brother. Mr. Smith, satisfied at the symmetry, departs. It's left to Conway to explain what he believes is the truth: Smith is from a planet twenty light-years away. The aliens, which were part of a dual-planet system, became enraptured by the show and so sent their emissary to Earth to finish it so they could see the conclusion.