List of Tales from the Darkside episodes

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This is an episode list for the 1980s anthology series Tales from the Darkside.

Series overview[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 23 September 30, 1984 August 4, 1985
2 24 September 29, 1985 July 13, 1986
3 22 September 28, 1986 May 17, 1987
4 20 September 27, 1987 July 24, 1988

Episodes[edit]

Pilot (1983)[edit]

Title Original air date
"Trick or Treat" October 29, 1983
A rich and spiteful old man named Gideon Hackles whose obsession for documenting and exploiting debts owed to him, annually offers trick-or-treaters the chance to search his house on Halloween night for their parents' IOUs, only to terrify them with animatronic "spirits". In the course of this night's events, Mr. Hackles finds himself terrified by real spirits... or in this case, demons.
Guest starring Barnard Hughes as Gideon Hackles, and Max Wright, written by George A. Romero.

Season 1 (1984–85)[edit]

No. Title Original air date
1 "The New Man" September 30, 1984
Alan Coombs, a bad-tempered recovering alcoholic, meets a young man named Jerry who claims to be his son. Coombs insists that he's never seen or met Jerry before, but Jerry says otherwise.
Based on a short story by Barbara Owens and adapted by Mark Durand.
2 "I'll Give You a Million" October 7, 1984
An offer to buy a friend's soul goes a bit too far, especially when the seller returns to finalize the deal.
Written by Mark Durand and David Spiel and guest-starring Keenan Wynn
3 "Pain Killer" October 14, 1984
A henpecked husband (Lou Jacobi) who suffers from excruciating backaches visits a doctor (Farley Granger) who prescribes a drastic cure.
4 "The Odds" October 21, 1984
A bookie who never turns down a bet meets the luckiest man he may ever know, who is determined to break the bookie at any cost. The bookie ends up wagering on the time of his death, and must outsmart a man who has never lost.
Written and directed by James Sadwith and guest-starring Danny Aiello.
5 "Mookie and Pookie" November 4, 1984
A teenage girl discovers that her recently deceased twin brother's spirit lives on in a computer, but no one will believe her. When she tries to fulfill her brother's last wish by inputting data into his computer, her parents begin to get worried.
Guest starring Justine Bateman and Tippi Hedren, written by Dan Kleinman.
6 "Slippage" November 11, 1984
A man discovers that he is literally slipping from existence.
Based on a short story by Michael Kube-McDowell, adapted by Mark Durand and guest-starring David Patrick Kelly.
7 "Inside the Closet" November 21, 1984
A young woman takes up board in an elderly man's house and insists that there is something lurking inside of the small, locked closet in her bedroom.
Directed by Tom Savini and guest-starring Fritz Weaver.
8 "The Word Processor of the Gods" November 25, 1984
A man discovers his new word processor, a gift from his deceased nephew, is more powerful than he could ever have imagined: everything he types into it becomes real.
Based on the short story by Stephen King and adapted by Michael McDowell.
9 "A Case of the Stubborns" December 2, 1984
Grandpa refuses to believe that he is dead.
Written by James Houghton, based on a short story by Robert Bloch and guest-starring Christian Slater as Jody, Brent Spiner as the Reverend and Eddie Bracken as Grandpa.
10 "Djinn, No Chaser" January 13, 1985
A comedic story in which a couple finds a lamp which turns out to hold a genie, who is extremely annoyed at being trapped for thousands of years. He punishes them with plagues and problems, but the wife offers a simple solution to his problem.
Based on a story by Harlan Ellison and adapted by Haskell Barkin and guest-starring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the genie.
11 "All a Clone by the Telephone" January 20, 1985
An answering machine with a will of its own helps out a TV writer and gradually begins to take over his life.
Written by Haskell Barkin and guest-starring Harry Anderson.
12 "In the Cards" January 27, 1985
A tarot reader who attracts business by giving out only good predictions finds herself stuck with a new deck of cards—one which makes terrible predictions come true.
Written and directed by Ted Gershuny
13 "Anniversary Dinner" February 3, 1985
An elderly couple take in a girl escaping from her boyfriend, just in time for their 25th anniversary dinner. Unfortunately, the couple plans on serving a very specific-and revolting-dish...
Story by D.J. Pass, adapted by James Houghton.
14 "Snip, Snip" February 10, 1985
Confident that he is about to win the lottery, a man studying the black arts quits his job, only to find out that he has lost to a woman.
Written by Howard Smith and Tom Allan. Guest starring Carol Kane.
15 "Answer Me" February 17, 1985
A ringing telephone with a life of its own bothers a woman in the room next door.
Written by Michael McDowell.
16 "The Tear Collector" February 24, 1985
A young woman who can't stop crying meets a man who collects tears.
Written by Geoffrey Loftus and John Drimmer and guest-starring Jessica Harper and Victor Garber.
17 "The Madness Room" May 5, 1985
A wife and her friend plot to scare a rich man to death in the cursed "Madness Room."
Written by Thomas Epperson and guest-starring Stuart Whitman.
18 "If the Shoes Fit..." May 12, 1985
Politician Bo Gumbs checks into a hotel to prepare for a speech. After he tells the hotel wait staff that politics is all showmanship, they help him prepare for his best show ever.
Co-Written by Armand Mastoianni and David Gerrold, directed by Mastroianni, starring Dick Shawn.
19 "Levitation" May 19, 1985
A teenager goads a once-famous magician into performing his greatest feat of levitation, with disastrous results.
Based on a short story by Joseph Payne Brennan and adapted by David Gerrold.
20 "It All Comes Out in the Wash" May 26, 1985
A laundromat offers to wash away the sins of its clients.
Written by Harvey Jacobs.
21 "Bigalow's Last Smoke" June 9, 1985
Mr. Bigalow wakes up in a replica of his apartment, overseen by an addiction counselor who will allow him to leave only if he quits smoking.
Written by Michael McDowell.
22 "Grandma's Last Wish" June 16, 1985
An elderly woman makes one request of her unsympathetic family, who want to put her in a nursing home against her will.
Written by Jule Selbo.
23 "The False Prophet" August 4, 1985
Cassie, a superstitious woman, travels by bus to Texas on the advice of a psychic machine. Before she reaches her destination, however, she comes across another machine that warns her against continuing on her way.
Written by Jule Selbo and guest-starring Ronee Blakley.

Season 2 (1985–86)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Original air date
24 1 "The Impressionist" September 29, 1985
The government brings in a failing comedian to try to communicate with an alien.
Based on the short story "Impersonations" by M. Coleman Easton, adapted by Haskell Barkin and guest-starring Chuck McCann.
25 2 "Lifebomb" October 6, 1985
An unhealthy corporate executive is offered a life-saving medical device with a price.
Written by Michael P. Kube-McDowell, based on his own short story of the same name. Guest-starring Bill Macy.
26 3 "Ring Around the Redhead" October 13, 1985
A man sentenced to Death Row for a murder tells his story of a redhead... from another dimension.
Based on the short story by John D. MacDonald, adapted by Ted Gershuny. Guest-starring Penelope Ann Miller.
27 4 "Parlour Floor Front" October 20, 1985
A young couple learns that their tenant is a voodoo practitioner. The wife sees the tenant as a danger and attempts to drive him out of the building, blaming him for various mishaps.
Written by Carole Lucia Satrina. Guest-starring Adolph Caesar.
28 5 "Halloween Candy" October 27, 1985
A misanthropic old man torments trick-or-treating children and is visited by a terrifying goblin demanding candy.
Written by Michael McDowell, directed by Tom Savini. Guest-starring Roy Poole.
29 6 "The Satanic Piano" November 3, 1985

A musician in a creative slump buys a revolutionary machine that reads the thoughts of a person and transforms it into music. However, the piano comes with a very high price, one which the musician may not be willing to pay.
Story by Carl Richard Jacobi, adapted by John Harrison.

Guest-starring Michael Warren and Lisa Bonet.
30 7 "The Devil's Advocate" November 10, 1985
The rude host of a late-night radio show, "The Devil's Advocate," discovers that he woke up in an alternative version of his studio, unable to get out of it, gradually deforming his body and also getting calls that are decades old.
Written by George A. Romero and guest-starring Jerry Stiller.
31 8 "Distant Signals" November 17, 1985
A director is approached by a mysterious investor who asks him to complete a previous short-run and unpopular detective series called "Max Paradise", which was canceled 20 years ago before the final episodes were shown. The investor and his mysterious backers will pay any price to see the series finished, complete with bringing the original actor out of retirement. After the filming is complete, it is discovered that the investor is an alien from a planet that gets TV signals from Earth 20 years after they air. Max Paradise was popular there so he came to Earth to finish the show.
Story by Andrew Weiner, adapted by Ted Gershuny and guest-starring Darren McGavin. The plot was adapted somewhat in the Futurama episode When Aliens Attack where aliens invade Earth and demand a cancelled Ally McBeal-like show (Single Female Lawyer) which is popular on their planet conclude its various unresolved storylines.
32 9 "The Trouble with Mary Jane" November 24, 1985

A family offers $50,000 to whoever can rid young Mary Jane of the demons possessing her. Guest starring - Phyllis Diller and Lawrence Tierney
Written by Edithe Swensen.


(Note: The young actress, Tanya Fenmore, who played Mary Jane, was nominated for a Young Artist Award in 1987, for her performance in this episode.)
33 10 "Ursa Minor" December 1, 1985
A little girl blames her new teddy bear for various pranks in her parents' house. They do not believe her-until giant claw marks on the walls and lumbering sounds at night convince them. The mother destroys the teddy, but forgets one of the most basic rules of the wild-harm the child, and you must meet the mother...
Written and directed by Ted Gershuny, based on a story by John Sladek.
34 11 "Effect and Cause" December 8, 1985
A woman learns she can change the world around her at random, but soon loses control of events.
Written by Michael P. Kube-McDowell.
35 12 "Monsters in My Room" December 22, 1985
A little boy who fears an octopus, a living buzz saw, and a demon are in his room finds they are all too real.
Written and directed by James Sadwith and guest-starring Seth Green.
36 13 "Comet Watch" January 2, 1986
A man and his henpecking wife gets unexpected guests when Sir Edmond Halley and a young lady from the long-ago past on the night Halley's Comet appears.
Written by Harvey Jacobs and Jule Selbo. Guest-starring Fritz Weaver and Anthony Heald.
37 14 "Dream Girl" January 19, 1986
A theatrical director finds herself acting out the dreams of a meek stagehand along with her co-workers.
Written and directed by Timna Ramon, based on a short story by Barbara Paul.
38 15 "A New Lease on Life" January 26, 1986
A man gets the modern, fully equipped apartment of his dreams in exchange for providing his new landlady with lots of garbage.
Written by Harvey Jacobs and Michael McDowell. Guest-starring Marie Windsor.
39 16 "Printer's Devil" February 2, 1986
A writer learns that his new agent can make his novels succeed, and all he needs is a small sacrifice involving animals.
Written and directed by John Harrison, based on a story by Ron Goulart and guest-starring Larry Manetti.
40 17 "The Shrine" February 9, 1986
A woman competes against a little girl for the affection and attention of her own mother.
Written by Jule Selbo from a story by Pamela Sargent and guest-starring Lorna Luft.
41 18 "The Old Soft Shoe" February 16, 1986
A salesman hits on an attractive woman at a motel and is subsequently pursued by another angry, jealous woman.
Written by Art Monterastelli and guest-starring Paul Dooley.
42 19 "The Last Car" February 23, 1986

A young woman on her way home from college rides the last car of a train and discovers bizarre passengers.
Written by Michael McDowell.

(Note: The young boy, Scooter Stevens, was nominated for a Young Artist Award in 1987, for his performance in this episode.)
43 20 "A Choice of Dreams" May 4, 1986
A mob boss with a terminal illness is offered the chance to experience his dreams after death.
Written by James Houghton from a story by Edward F. Shaver. Guest-starring Abe Vigoda.
44 21 "Strange Love" May 11, 1986
A doctor makes a late-night house call to fix a woman's leg and discovers that his patient and her husband are vampires.
Written by Edithe Swensen and guest-starring Marcia Cross.
45 22 "The Unhappy Medium" May 18, 1986
A recently deceased preacher leaves a video-taped will which tells his family that he will send them a sign.
Written by Edithe Swensen. Guest-starring Connie Stevens.
46 23 "Fear of Floating" May 23, 1986
A man who levitates whenever he lies tries to enlist in the Army, while hotly pursued by a young pregnant girl and her angry father.
Written by Donald Wollner from a story by Scott Edelman and guest-starring Yeardley Smith and Howard Sherman.
47 24 "The Casavin Curse" July 13, 1986
A family learns that their great-grandfather murdered his wife, resulting in a curse upon the family line.
Written by Edith Swensen.

Season 3 (1986–87)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Original air date
48 1 "The Circus" September 28, 1986
An investigative journalist who enjoys debunking tales of the strange and bizarre investigates a circus that offers monsters on display.
Written by George A. Romero and guest-starring William Hickey.
49 2 "I Can't Help Saying Goodbye" October 5, 1986
Libby and her fiancé Max notice that people keep dying after Libby's little sister Karen says goodbye to them; apparently, she can sense the impending death. In anger, they tell her not to say good-bye to anyone ever again.
Written by Jule Selbo, guest-starring Alison Sweeney and Brian Benben.
50 3 "The Bitterest Pill" October 12, 1986
The uncle of a mistreated boy develops a miraculous pill which increases brain power and memory, and comes to the boy's parents for financing; the boy takes the prototype and finally gets power over his parents.
Based on the short story "The Richest Man in Levittown" by Frederik Pohl, adapted by Michael P. Kube-McDowell.
51 4 "Florence Bravo" October 19, 1986
A couple moves into an old house in which a woman murdered her cheating husband. The spirit of the woman has been seeking company to ease her loneliness, so she decides to recreate the events by having the female realiter feel weak, forcing the husband to take her home. Pressured by the ghost, the wife overhears her husband talking to the woman the next day, mistaking their conversation as one about cheating on her; in reality, he decided the house is giving the wife's imagination too much to work with. When he tries explaining things to her, she is now fully under the ghost's sway and kills him in exactly the same spot as the ghost's husband.
Written by Edithe Swensen.
52 5 "The Geezenstacks" October 26, 1986
A little girl is given a dollhouse by her uncle, who tells her that he found it when the previous owners suddenly abandoned their home, leaving only the dollhouse behind. The girl's father soon notices that whatever happens to the new dolls happens to their family. The ending displays a unique variation on the Droste effect.
Based on the short story by Frederic Brown and adapted by Nancy Doyne.
53 6 "Black Widows" November 2, 1986
On her wedding night, a young woman discovers the reason for her mother's mysterious reclusiveness and a dark family secret.
Written by Michael McDowell and guest-starring Theresa Saldana.
54 7 "Heretic" November 9, 1986
A thief sells a stolen painting from the Spanish Inquisition to a wealthy art collector, who soon regrets his purchase when he discovers the world within the painting.
Written by Edithe Swensen.
55 8 "A Serpent's Tooth" November 16, 1986
A controlling mother's warnings and threats begin to come true when she receives the title item.
Written by Edithe Swensen and guest-starring Renee Taylor.
56 9 "Baker's Dozen" November 23, 1986
A voodoo witch opens a bakery, sells magic cookies and partners up with an unscrupulous advertising agent.
Written by George A. Romero and guest-starring Mabel King.
57 10 "Deliver Us From Goodness" November 30, 1986
A saintly woman tires of her goodness and seeks a fall from grace.
Story by Suzette Haden Elgin, written by Jule Selbo.
58 11 "Seasons of Belief" December 29, 1986
Two rowdy kids who don't believe in Santa Claus demand a story during Christmas, and their mean parents decide to tell them a different kind of Christmas story, a horrific tale of the monstrous "Grither."
Written and directed by Michael McDowell, story by Michael Bishop and guest-starring E.G. Marshall and Jenna Von Oy.
59 12 "Miss May Dusa" January 18, 1987
A woman who has no memory of her past befriends a saxophone player and slowly uncovers the truth behind the deaths she's accidentally caused everywhere she's been.
Written and directed by Richard Blackburn.
60 13 "The Milkman Cometh" January 25, 1987
A milkman (whom no one has ever actually seen) grants wishes to people if they leave him a note with their discarded bottles.
Written by Donald Wollner, based on the short story "Temperature Days on Hawthorne Street" by Charles L. Grant. Guest-starring Robert Forster and Chad Allen.
61 14 "My Ghostwriter - The Vampire" February 1, 1987
A horror writer discovers a real vampire in the coffin he bought for inspiration, and makes a deal with him to provide material for his novels.
Story by Scott Edelman, adapted by Peter O'Keefe.
62 15 "My Own Place" February 8, 1987
A yuppie gets his first apartment—with an unexpected roommate.
Written and directed by Ted Gershuny, co-written by and guest-starring Perry Lang.
63 16 "Red Leader" February 15, 1987
A wealthy and unscrupulous businessman strikes a deal with the Devil.
Written by Edithe Swensen.
64 17 "Everybody Needs a Little Love" February 22, 1987
A divorced and lonely man talks to and dotes over a mannequin he calls estelkle, while his friend begins to get concerned about his mental stability.
Based on the short story by Robert Bloch, adapted and directed by John Harrison (as John Sutherland), and guest-starring Jerry Orbach.
65 18 "Auld Acquaintances" March 1, 1987
Two ancient witches fight over an amulet yet again.
Written by Edithe Swensen.
66 19 "The Social Climber" March 8, 1987
A young shoemaker's assistant finds that he can actually live other people's lives by walking in their shoes.
Written by Ellen Sandhaus.
67 20 "The Swap" May 3, 1987
A woman decides to murder her wealthy husband for his money but her plans go horribly awry.
Written by Dick Benner.
68 21 "Let the Games Begin" May 10, 1987
An angel and a devil fight over a dead man's soul.
Written by Peter O'Keefe.
69 22 "The Enormous Radio" May 17, 1987
A couple purchases a new radio which transmits their neighbor's private discussions.
Written by Guy Gallo, story by John Cheever, and guest-starring Christine Estabrook.

Season 4 (1987–88)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Original air date
70 1 "Beetles" September 27, 1987
An Egyptologist ignores a sarcophagus's warnings and unearths a curse.
Written by Robert Bloch and based on his short story and guest-starring Arnold Stang.
71 2 "Mary, Mary" October 4, 1987
An isolated woman who fears the world turns to her dolls and mannequins for friendship.
Written by Jule Selbo.
72 3 "The Spirit Photographer" October 11, 1987
A photographer decides to take photographs of ghosts.
Written by Mark Patrick Carducci and Brian Thomas Jones.
73 4 "The Moth" October 18, 1987
A dying woman is convinced that after death her soul will be trapped in a moth.
Written by Michael McDowell, Guest starring Debbie Harry.
74 5 "No Strings" October 25, 1987
A cruel mob boss (T.J. Castronova, who also executive-produced the series) forces a ventriloquist (Barry Dennen) to string up the corpse of his defeated rival as a puppet. A one-man show is held... with results that none involved had counted on.
Written and directed by David Odell (author of The Dark Crystal, in which Dennen lent his voice to the Skeksis Chamberlain).
75 6 "The Grave Robber" November 1, 1987
A pair of unscrupulous archaeologists unearth an Egyptian tomb of a prince and awaken the mummy Tapok (Arnold Stang), luring them into a game of strip poker to compete for their lives.
Written by Harvey Jacobs and Donald Wollner. Guest-starring Arnold Stang
76 7 "The Yattering and Jack" November 8, 1987
A minor demon named The Yattering (played by a moustachio-ed midget wearing a studded dogcollar and horns) is sent by Beelzebub to corrupt a man named Jack, but according to the rules, if the Yattering touches Jack, the demon then falls under the man's control. Complicating matters, the man refuses to believe the demon exists, though his daughter is with him when various poltergeist phenomena caused by the demon take place, including a Christmas turkey which flaps around and lands on the tip of the Xmas tree. The Yattering touches Jack by mistake and becomes the man's servant; the man says that his mother was a witch, which is why Hell wanted him damned so badly. Like Barker's original story, this is played for laughs.
Adapted for television by Clive Barker from his short story of the same name.
77 8 "Seymourlama" November 15, 1987
A nerdy and spoiled young boy is proclaimed the religious leader of a nation, but his parents want to know what the catch is. Written by Harvey Jacobs and Donald Wollner. Guest-starring David Gale and Divine.
78 9 "Sorry, Right Number" November 22, 1987
A woman receives a bizarre and frightening phone call and figures out its meaning too late.
Written by Stephen King.
79 10 "Payment Overdue" February 14, 1988
A heartless debt collection agent is harassed by a delinquent client from beyond the grave.
Written by Dick Benner.
80 11 "Love Hungry" February 21, 1988
An overweight woman goes to drastic measures to lose weight, but finds herself even more attached to her food than ever before.
Based on the short story "Food for Thought" by Roberts Gannaway. Written and directed by John Strysik, co-written by Jule Selbo.
81 12 "The Deal" February 28, 1988
A screenwriter makes a deal with Satan.
Written by Granville Burgess and Allen Coulter. Guest-starring Bradley Whitford.
82 13 "The Apprentice" May 1, 1988
A woman goes to work for a museum and transported to the past and forced to work as a near-slave.
Written by Ellen Sandhaus.
83 14 "The Cutty Black Sow" May 8, 1988
On Halloween, a boy is warned by his dying great-grandmother about the Cutty Black Sow, a Celtic demon that steals the souls of those who die on All Hallow's Eve, and tries to prevent it from getting hers.
Based on a story by Thomas F. Monteleone, adapted by Michael McDowell and guest-starring Paula Trueman.
84 15 "Do Not Open This Box" May 15, 1988
Charlie is a sweet-natured but unsuccessful inventor. His wife Ruth (an acid-tongued opportunist who sorely regrets her choice of spouse, and who is openly jealous of their well-to-do neighbor) takes advantage of a deliveryman's generosity, after the latter expresses his need for a mistakenly delivered item with the title warning inscribed on it. When it becomes evident that Ruth has no intention of returning the box, our deliveryman reveals his true identity. It doesn't help that Ruth has already opened the apparently empty box...or that the box in fact contained something which, literally, money cannot buy.
Written by Franco Amurri and directed by Jodie Foster and guest-starring Eileen Heckart.
85 16 "The Family Reunion" May 22, 1988
A man guards his sick son closely and has sole custody, while the boy's worried mother desperately wants to be reunited with her child.
Written by Edithe Swensen, directed by Tom Savini, and guest-starring Patricia Tallman.
86 17 "Going Native" June 19, 1988
An alien visitor studies human nature as a photographer.
Written and directed by Ted Gershuny (who, the following year, collaborated with Tommy Lee Wallace on the script for Drew Barrymore's movie Far From Home)
87 18 "Hush" July 10, 1988
A child innocently builds a device that eats sound in order to make his mother happy, but soon loses control of the creepy machine (which silences things by sucking out their energy and killing them).
Based on a story by Zenna Henderson, adapted by John Harrison (under the name John Sutherland).
88 19 "Barter" July 17, 1988
A parody of I Love Lucy, an alien comes to a family's door asking for ammonia and hilarity ensues.
Written by Jule Selbo
89 20 "Basher Malone" July 24, 1988
A religious wrestler and his mother contend against a crooked fight manager, played by Vic Tayback, who holds ties to a devilish opponent.
Written by Peter O'Keefe.

See also[edit]