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Tales from the Darkside
Science fiction
Comedy drama
Created byGeorge A. Romero
Narrated byPaul Sparer
Theme music composerDonald Rubinstein
Erica Lindsay
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes94 (2 unaired)[citation needed] (list of episodes)
Executive producersGeorge A. Romero
Richard P. Rubinstein
Jerry Golod
Running time21–22 minutes[citation needed]
Production companiesLaurel Entertainment
Jaygee Productions
Tribune Entertainment
Original release
ReleaseOctober 29, 1983 (1983-10-29) –
July 24, 1988 (1988-07-24)

Tales from the Darkside is an American anthology horror television series created by George A. Romero.[1] A pilot episode was first broadcast on October 29, 1983. The series was picked up for syndication, and the first season premiered on September 30, 1984. The show would run for a total of four seasons.

Each episode is a self-contained story, which often ends with a plot twist. The series spans various genres of speculative fiction, including science fiction and fantasy in addition to horror, and many episodes have darkly comic elements.


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The movie Creepshow was released in 1982. It was based on the EC horror comic books of the 1950s, such as Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror. In light of the film’s moderate success, its producer, Laurel Entertainment, decided to explore the potential for a television series based on the feature. However, Warner Bros. had the rights to some elements of Creepshow. Laurel chose to move forward with a series that omitted aspects of movie that were owned by Warner Bros. The result was Tales from the Darkside, which explored the same themes as Creepshow, but discarded the framing device and other elements that were based directly on the comics.[2]

Some episodes were adapted from the works of well-known authors, or written by the authors themselves. Stories or teleplays by Frederik Pohl, Harlan Ellison,[1] Clive Barker,[1] Michael Bishop, Robert Bloch, John Cheever, Michael McDowell, and Fredric Brown were used over the course of the series. Two episodes, "Word Processor of the Gods"[3] and "Sorry, Right Number",[4] were based on short stories by Stephen King. The latter was adapted for television by King himself.

Opening and closing sequences

In the vein of previous anthology series The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, each episode opens with a montage and an unseen narrator. Several bucolic scenes are shown, morphing to a black-and-white negative image as the series title appears.

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.

The closing credits are displayed against the final, negative image of the opening.

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

The narration is performed by Paul Sparer, and was written by Romero. The opening and closing themes are performed by Donald Rubinstein, who co-wrote the music with Erica Lindsay.


Main article: List of Tales from the Darkside episodes

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


In its initial run, LBS Communications distributed Tales from the Darkside in barter syndication. Distribution rights later passed to Worldvision Enterprises after Aaron Spelling Productions acquired Worldvision Enterprises and Laurel Productions in 1989 and are currently held by CBS Media Ventures.

Home video

The series was released on VHS with the episodes' original music. Later DVD releases altered or omitted some of this music.

Paramount Home Entertainment, through CBS Home Entertainment (sister company to Spelling Television, the successor to Laurel), released the series on DVD, beginning on February 10, 2009. The company rereleased the complete series on Region 1 DVD in 2018. Revelation Films released the entire series in Region 2.

Title Episodes 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 22 (2 unaired) October 19, 2010 August 6, 2012
The Complete Series 92 (2 unaired) October 19, 2010 October 28, 2013

An audio commentary by Executive Producer George A. Romero on the pilot episode, "Trick or Treat", as well as two unaired eplsodes, "Akhbar's Daughter" and "Attic Suite", are cited on the cover of the DVD.

Awards and nominations

Young Artist Awards

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

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

Subsequent series and movie

Tales from the Darkside executive producer Richard P. Rubinstein and his company Laurel would go on to make the horror anthology series Monsters, which premiered in 1988 and ran for three seasons,[5] as well as Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, which was released theatrically in 1990.[6] A sequel to the film was announced, but never made.[7]

In November 2013, it was reported that Joe Hill, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci were developing a reboot of the series for The CW, with CBS Television Studios.[8] In 2014, Hill said that he would serve as creative director, and guide the show. Added Hill, "Darkside is a loose reboot ... 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 ... 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?'"

In February 2014, The CW gave the reboot a pilot order. Shooting began on March 19 and wrapped on April 4. The CW did not pick up the series, however. It then was offered to other networks unsuccessfully.[9][10][11]

In other media

The book Tales from the Darkside: Volume One, published in 1988, consisted of stories and episode novelizations.

Scripts written by Hill for the proposed reboot were adapted into a four-issue comic book series published in June 2016, followed by a collection of scripts in book form in October 2016. Both the comics and the book were released by IDW Publishing.[12][13]

See also


  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. ^ "Laurel Productions presents TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE THE MOVIE 2". Variety. October 15, 1990. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  8. ^ Hibberd, James (November 12, 2013). "'Tales from the Darkside' reboot from Joe Hill in development at The CW". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
  9. ^ "Pilot Season: The CW passes on 'Tales From the Darkside' remake". May 7, 2015. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 8, 2015). "'Tales From the Darkside' Pilot Garners Interest From Cable, Digital". Deadline.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Truitt, Brian (February 19, 2016). "Exclusive: Joe Hill's 'Darkside' moves from TV to comics". USA Today. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  13. ^ 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.