In the 1980s, horror anthology TV shows were making a comeback. Self-contained scary tales were very popular in the 1950s and 1960s, including such shows as The Outer Limits, Thriller, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and, of course, The Twilight Zone. After the success of horror anthology films like Creepshow, horror anthologies started to become popular again, especially on the small screen.
A reboot of The Twilight Zone premiered, as well as Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Freddy Krueger hosted his own anthology program, and Night Of The Living Dead director, George A. Romero, created the classic anthology series, Tales From The Darkside. Tales From The Darkside is fondly remembered and one of the quintessential horror TV shows to ever air in the 20th century. Here are 10 episodes that still scare us to this day.
10 The Old Soft Shoe (Season 2, Episode 18)
A traveling salesman makes a stop at a motel for the evening. Little does he know the room is haunted. He is harassed by a ghost named Glenda, who seems to mistake him for a man who cheated on her.
The tone of the episode is very strange. It cannot decide whether or not it is funny or disturbing, and instead of it hurting the episode, it actually makes the episode even more interesting, with a satisfying ending.
9 Family Reunion (Season 4, Episode 16)
A mother claims that her husband kidnapped their very own son. The father thinks he made the right decision since his son has a strange illness, and only the father thinks he can find a cure.
It all leads to an epic conclusion when the mother reclaims her son. The episode is enjoyable from beginning to end, but the final few minutes of the episode are what make it memorable.
8 Sorry, Right Number (Season 4, Episode 9)
If Stephen King is listed as the writer for a Tales From The Darkside episode, you know it is going to be good. King delivers a memorable tale about a woman receiving a mysterious phone call and her attempts to help the person crying on the other end of the line.
It is a very suspenseful episode, with fantastic performances by the guest stars. Like The Twilight Zone, this series tries to deliver some interesting twist endings, and this episode has one of the best.
7 Answer Me (Season 1, Episode 15)
An actress in a New York City apartment is annoyed by the sound of a telephone ringing in the apartment next door to her. She struggles to get some rest and decides to do something about the noise herself.
This is a nice, suspenseful episode that takes place in this woman’s apartment nearly the whole time. It is practically a one-woman show, and the guest star does a terrific job carrying the episode from beginning to end.
6 Seasons Of Belief (Season 3, Episode 11)
This Christmas favorite involves a father telling his two children a “made up” scary story on Christmas Eve about a monster known as The Grither. The Christmas atmosphere really helps this episode along and makes it a must-watch Christmas-themed horror episode to watch during the holiday season.
The episode has some terrific guest stars, and even though the ending is quite predictable, it is still incredibly fun to watch it unfold.
5 Ursa Minor (Season 2, Episode 10)
Two parents give their daughter a stuffed teddy bear for her birthday, but the mother begins hearing strange noises in the house and the teddy bear seems to be at fault for the strange occurrences.
The episode is a fun suspenseful mystery, with a great tale similar to other stories involving creepy children’s toys. The episode’s pacing is perfect, and even though the ending is pretty abrupt, the final few shots are some of the most memorable on the show.
4 The Last Car (Season 2, Episode 19)
On her way home for Thanksgiving, a college student boards a strange train. She begins feeling uncomfortable as strange, ominous events take place in the last car.
This episode is all about the atmosphere and intensity. The look of the last car and the performances of the guest stars make this episode an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride. As the main character starts to feel chills up her spine, the audience does, too.
3 Anniversary Dinner (Season 1, Episode 13)
A couple prepares to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They reminisce as they talk about how much they miss the children before a young, teenaged hiker appears at their home. She loves the couple and decides to stay with them.
The episode slowly builds before it leads to a conclusion that is arguably one of the very best in the series. The ending is what makes this episode stand out, but the pacing and suspense it takes to get there work as well.
2 I Can’t Help Saying Goodbye (Season 3, Episode 2)
Karen is a shy young girl living with her mom, sister, and her sister’s fiancee. But whenever she suspiciously says goodbye to someone and touches their face, the person dies soon after. Is Karen predicting these deaths, or is she the one causing them?
This just may be one of the most suspenseful episodes in the series. The guest stars are terrific, especially Days Of Our Lives star, Alison Sweeney, as Karen.
1 Inside The Closet (Season 1, Episode 7)
A grad student rents a room in the enormous house of a professor of veterinary medicine. She constantly hears something scurrying around in the closet, but she cannot seem to find what it is. It all leads to an epic conclusion, with some fantastic makeup effects.
Tom Savini directed this episode, and he is perhaps best known for his effects in various famous horror movies, such as Dawn Of The Dead, Friday The 13th, and Creepshow. He does a terrific job, and Fritz Weaver gives a terrific performance as the professor. This episode is possibly the most well-known in the series, and it is certainly one of the scariest.
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