Tales from the Darkside

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Albert Flores

Tales from the Darkside is a 1980's American anthology horror TV series created by George A. Romero. 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.

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Series

The moderate success of Creepshow led to initial inquiries about the possibilities of a Creepshow series. Because +more'>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. The new name reflected Creepshows 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" and "Sorry, Right Number" were amongst them. +more Works by Frederik Pohl, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, 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.

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.

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). +more Worldvision Enterprises later became the series' distributor, and the rights currently are held by Worldvision successor CBS Television Distribution.

Opening/closing sequence

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:

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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:

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Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
Pilot1October 29, 1983October 29, 1983
123September 30, 1984August 4, 1985
224September 29, 1985July 13, 1986
322September 28, 1986May 17, 1987
420September 27, 1987July 24, 1988

DVD releases

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 nameEp#Release dates
Region 1Region 2
The First Season24February 10, 2009November 21, 2011
The Second Season24October 27, 2009February 20, 2012
The Third Season22April 27, 2010May 7, 2012
The Final Season20 + 2 bonus episodesOctober 19, 2010August 6, 2012
The Complete Series90 + 2 bonus episodesOctober 19, 2010October 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

Young Artist Awards

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

Writers Guild of America, USA

YearAward
1988Anthology Episode/Single Program - John Harrison (as John Sutherland) - nominated

Planned reboot

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. +more 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".

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. +more 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. Joe Hill later confirmed that no network picked up the series.

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.

Comic series

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.

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.

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