The Best Episodes of Tales from the Darkside
Last Updated: Nov 20, 2018
"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.
#4 - Deliver Us from Goodness
Season 3 - Episode 10
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.
#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 - 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.
#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 - 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.
#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 - No Strings
Season 4 - Episode 5
A mobster who has finally defeated his old rival hires a reluctant puppeteer to string up his rival and make it dance for him. The mobster is unaware that puppet and puppeteer both have agendas of their own...
#14 - Heretic
Season 3 - Episode 7
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 found...in this world.
#15 - 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.
#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...
#19 - 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.
#23 - All a Clone by the Telephone
Season 1 - Episode 11
Leon, a hapless TV writer, buys an answering machine that has a mind of its own - it initially helps him out by providing him with new material, but Leon soon finds that it's taking over his life.
#25 - 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.