Tales from the Darkside

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Tales from the Darkside
Science fiction
Comedy drama
Created byGeorge A. Romero
Narrated byPaul Sparer
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes89 (+ 1 pilot and 4 Unreleased episodes) (list of episodes)
Executive producersGeorge A. Romero
Richard P. Rubinstein
Jerry Golod
Running time21-22 min. (with out/ commercials)
Production companiesLaurel Entertainment
Jaygee Productions
Tribune Entertainment
DistributorLBS Communications
CBS Television Distribution
Original networkSyndicated
Original release
  • Pilot:
    October 29, 1983 (1983-10-29)
  • Official:
    September 30, 1984 (1984-09-30) - July 24, 1988 (1988-07-24)

Tales from the Darkside is an American anthology horror TV series created by George A. Romero.[1] Debuting in October 1983 with a pilot episode and then being picked up for syndication in September 1984, the show ran for 4 seasons through July 1988. Each episode, aired originally by Tribune Broadcasting late at night, was an individual short story that often ended with a plot twist. The series' episodes spanned the genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy, and some episodes featured elements of black comedy or more lighthearted themes. Since October 2012, reruns of the series have aired in the UK on Horror Channel.


The moderate success of Creepshow led to initial inquiries about the possibilities of a Creepshow series. Because Warner Bros. owned certain aspects of Creepshow, Laurel Entertainment, which produced the film, opted to take their potential series into a similar, yet separate, direction, including changing the name to Tales from the Darkside.[2] The new name reflected Creepshow's focus, that of a live-action EC-based horror comic book of the 1950s like Tales from the Crypt or The Vault of Horror, though the series did not use the comic book stylistic look or framing device as Creepshow had.

Some episodes of the series were written by or adapted from the works of famous authors. Stephen King's short stories "Word Processor of the Gods"[3] and "Sorry, Right Number"[4] were amongst them. Works by Frederik Pohl, Harlan Ellison,[1] Clive Barker,[1] Michael Bishop, Robert Bloch, John Cheever, Michael McDowell and Fredric Brown were also featured. A number of stories and episode novelizations were published in the book Tales from the Darkside: Volume One in 1988. After wrapping, Tales from the Darkside was succeeded by Monsters in 1988, a similarly-styled syndicated weekly horror anthology also produced by Laurel and longtime Romero associate Richard P. Rubinstein.[5]

The series was followed by Tales from the Darkside: The Movie in 1990, which starred Deborah Harry, Christian Slater, William Hickey, Steve Buscemi, and Julianne Moore.[6]

The series was originally syndicated weekly by Tribune Broadcasting, with most stations airing it after midnight. After ending production, it was picked up by LBS Communications for barter-based syndication (with the exception of the episode The Apprentice, and a few reruns of earlier episodes which were distributed by Lorimar-Telepictures). Worldvision Enterprises later became the series' distributor, and the rights currently are held by Worldvision successor CBS Television Distribution.

Opening/closing sequence[edit]

The opening/closing theme to the series was performed by Donald Rubinstein, who co-wrote the theme with Erica Lindsay. George Romero wrote the voice-over narration.

As in the case of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, the series begins each episode with a montage of images  in this case, several shots of a forest and countryside that fade to a black-and-white negative image as the title appears, accompanied by Paul Sparer's foreboding voice-over:

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 dark side.

The closing credits are displayed against the same negative image from the end of the opening and accompanied by a second voice-over, likewise provided by Sparer:

The dark side is always there, waiting for us to enter — waiting to enter us. Until next time, try to enjoy the daylight.


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
Pilot 1 October 29, 1983 October 29, 1983
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

DVD releases[edit]

Paramount Home Entertainment through CBS Home Entertainment (sister company to Spelling Television, the successor to Laurel Entertainment) released the first season of Tales from the Darkside on DVD on February 10, 2009, complete with audio commentary by producer George Romero on the episode "Trick or Treat". The company also released all four seasons of Tales from the Darkside on DVD in Region 1 in 2018.

In Region 2, Revelation Films has released all four seasons on DVD in the UK.

DVD name Ep# Release dates
Region 1 Region 2
The First Season 24 February 10, 2009 November 21, 2011
The Second Season 24 October 27, 2009 February 20, 2012
The Third Season 22 April 27, 2010 May 7, 2012
The Final Season 20 + 2 bonus episodes October 19, 2010 August 6, 2012
The Complete Series 90 + 2 bonus episodes October 19, 2010 October 28, 2013

The DVD release contains an altered soundtrack without the original music score. Episodes released on VHS during the 1980s do contain the original music score throughout.

The last disc of The Final Season contains as a special feature two bonus episodes made by the show's production company which were unused in the original series, "Akhbar's Daughter" and "Attic Suite".

Awards and nominations[edit]

Young Artist Awards[edit]

Year Award
1987 Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor, Guest Starring in a Television, Comedy or Drama Series – Scooter Stevens – nominated
1987 Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress, Guest Starring in a Television, Comedy or Drama Series – Tanya Fenmore – nominated

Writers Guild of America, USA[edit]

Year Award
1988 Anthology Episode/Single Program – John Harrison (as John Sutherland) – nominated

Planned reboot[edit]

In November 2013, Joe Hill, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci were developing a reboot of Tales from the Darkside with CBS Television Studios for The CW.

At Comic Con 2014 Joe Hill said that he would serve as the creative director and to guide the course of the show. When asked about the project, Hill said: "Darkside is a loose reboot of Tales From The Darkside. It tells stories about different characters. It also tells an ongoing story. I love the original Tales From The Darkside, The Outer Limits, and The Twilight Zone, but I think in a post X-Files world there's really no room for a straight anthology show. There has to be more. I like stories that work like puzzle boxes, every episode is turning another facet. We have something a little like that in Darkside that I am pretty excited about where you are watching it and every episode is a different story but three or four episodes in, you're going, 'Wait a minute, these parts actually all go together don't they?' I think that's kind of exciting and I think the viewers will like that too".[7]

The following year in February, The CW gave a pilot order and has been added on their 2015-16 schedule. Filming for the pilot episode of Darkside started on March 19, wrapping up on April 4. Joe Hill revealed on his Tumblr account that he has written more episodes of the first season than just the pilot episode.

The CW ultimately passed on the reboot series of Tales from the Darkside in May, but it was reported to be of interest to cable networks Syfy, MTV, VH1 and possibly Hulu.[8][9] Joe Hill later confirmed that no network picked up the series.[10]

The first three scripts (the would-be episodes "The Window Opens", "The Sleepwalker", and "Black Box") all penned by Joe Hill, were published in a hardcover edition of the book by IDW Publishing in November 2016.[11]

Comic series[edit]

Horror author Joe Hill wrote four issue comic series also titled Tales From The Darkside in 2016, using the written scripts for abandoned television series reboot.[12]

The first issue, "The Sleepwalker", was released in June followed by two back-to-back issues of "The Black Box" (which builds the mythology) and by the fourth issue, "The Window Opens". All four issues were later collected in the hardcover edition of the book published by IDW Publishing in November the same year.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Sagar, Jessica (June 4, 2021). "24 Shows Like Black Mirror to Get You Your Fix of Absurdity". Parade. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  2. ^ Vasquez Jr, Felix (October 14, 2020). ""Tales from the Darkside" Brought the Anthology Frights of "Creepshow" to the Small Screen [TV Terrors]". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  3. ^ Kennedy, Michael (August 30, 2020). "Every Stephen King & George Romero Collaboration". Screen Rant. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  4. ^ Craig, Christian (May 18, 2021). "Tales From The Darkside: 10 Episodes That Are Still Scary Today". Screen Rant. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  5. ^ Hanauer, Joan (April 8, 1989). "'Monsters' of the Week". UPI. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  6. ^ Wilmington, Michael (May 7, 1990). "Movie Review: 'Darkside' a Clever Cut Above Horror Fare". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  7. ^ Hibberd, James (November 12, 2013). "'Tales from the Darkside' reboot from Joe Hill in development at The CW". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
  8. ^ "Pilot Season: The CW passes on 'Tales From the Darkside' remake". CarterMatt.com. May 7, 2015. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 8, 2015). "'Tales From the Darkside' Pilot Garners Interest From Cable, Digital". Deadline.
  10. ^ Hill, Joe (August 2015). "blog-cody-williams asked: Hi Joe! I'm a big fan. I just wanted to ask when the seventh book of LOCKE & KEY (the one that will collect a series of one shots) will be out? Also, what is the current status of the TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE TV pilot?". Tumblr. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  11. ^ Moore, Debi (May 14, 2016). "Joe Hill's Collected Tales from the Darkside Reboot Scripts Being Released in October". Dread Central. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  12. ^ Truitt, Brian (February 19, 2016). "Exclusive: Joe Hill's 'Darkside' moves from TV to comics". USA Today. Retrieved June 7, 2021.

External links[edit]