Step once more into the Darkside. It is a world like our world, but not as brightly lit. Dolls take on human attributes, radios pick-up your neighbors, vampires write novels, and a milkman delivers more than just dairy. The Darkside is always there…enter at your own risk.
Tales from the Darkside—Season 3 aired from September 28, 1986 to May 17, 1987. The anthology series was syndicated but distributed by Tribune Broadcasting but has since been taken by CBS for current distribution.
Anthology horror is always fun. The joy of any anthology series is that if a viewer doesn’t like one episode, the next episode could be better (or it also could be worse). It is a potluck and potlucks can be fun. Tales from the Darkside was always particularly iffy…and this is true in this season as well.
The episodes are really hit and miss. Though Tales from the Darkside is more skewed to horror than something like The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Darkside also leans more toward comedy. It could easily be seen as a less gory Tales from the Crypt. I like episodes like “The Gleezenslacks” and “Seasons of Belief” with the Grither, but they could be even better.
The series also brought in a lot of writers and sources for their content. Writers like Robert Bloch (“Everyone Needs a Little Love”) are source material and John Cheever’s classic story “The Enormous Radio”. Things like “The Enormous Radio” raise real questions (things which are even more magnified with today’s voyeuristic society which includes reality TV)…but Tales from the Darkside doesn’t always feel like the most thorough place to examine them.
The series is always a who’s who of stars with actors sometimes at the start and sometimes at their fall. Newcomers Alison Sweeney, Jenna Von Oy, and Chad Allen mix with actors like Mabel King, E.G. Marshall, Robert Forster, Jerry Orbach, and Jeff Conaway. The acting isn’t necessarily good, but it is fun to see who shows up.
Visually, Tales from the Darkside was notoriously cheap. The series skirts showing the enemies which sometimes works but is sometimes frustrating (as in the case of the Grither). The show’s real weakness is how it aged. The show is often shot on video and in poor quality.
Tales from the Darkside is fast and fun. It isn’t the top notch entertainment that you might hope for, but it is entertaining. Even in this collection, you’ll find some episodes that you’ll like and others that you’ll hate; half the fun of Tales from the Darkside is determining which is which.
Tales from the Darkside—Season 3 Complete Episode Guide:
3.1 The Circus Airdate: 09/28/86
A writer sets out to debunk the claims of the horror of a local circus but learns the truth of the tales from the ringmaster (William Hickey).
3.2 I Can’t Help Saying Goodbye Airdate: 10/05/86
Karen (Alison Sweeney) seems to be able to predict death…and feels necessary to say goodbye. Is Karen predicting death or causing it?
3.3 The Bitterest Pill Airdate Airdate: 10/12/86
The Benders have won the lottery but find life is twice as hard. When an old friend named Tinker (Mark Blankfield) shows up with a magical pill, their fortune could change.
3.4 Florence Bravo Airdate: 10/19/86
David (David Hayward) and Emily (Lori Cardille) move into the home of murderess Florence Bravo (Lauren Klein) as Emily tries to recover from a breakdown and David tries to atone from having an affair. When Emily starts to hear Florence Bravo speaking to her, she wonders if she’s going crazy.
3.5 The Geezenslacks Airdate: 10/26/86
A girl’s uncle (Larry Pine) finds a dollhouse and gives it to his niece Audrey (Lana Hirsch), but something is wrong with the Geezenslacks who live in the dollhouse.
3.6 Black Widows Airdate: 11/02/86
Mildred Webster (Margaret O’Brien) and her daughter Audrey (Theresa Saldana) live in a small mobile home in California. While Audrey enjoys the outdoors and meeting people, Mildred only likes the dark quiet trailer…but a secret could destroy them both.
3.7 Heretic Airdate: 11/09/86
An art dealer (Bruce MacVittie) that fences stolen goods finds a rare painting of the Spanish Inquisition…and discovers that sometimes life imitates art!
3.8 A Serpent’s Tooth Airdate: 11/16/86
Pearl King (Renee Taylor) wishes her children will listen to her. When she’s given a serpent’s tooth which grants her wishes, Pearl finds she might get her wish.
3.9 Baker’s Dozen Airdate: 11/23/86
Henry Hogan (Larry Manetti) has big dreams and the cookies of Ruby Cuzzins (Mabel King) could be the key. Henry finds trouble when he learns voodoo is a key ingredient to the cookies.
3.10 Deliver Us from Goodness Airdate: 11/30/86
Julian Cantrell (Steve Vinovich) is running for mayor, but he might have a problem. His wife Valeria (Kaiulani Lee) appears to be a saint…and she doesn’t want to be.
3.11 Seasons of Belief Airdate: 12/29/86
It’s Christmas Eve and non-believers Jimbo (Sky Berdahl) and his sister Stefa (Jenna von Oy) demand a story from their father (E.G. Marshall) and their mother (Margaret Klenck). When they learn the story about the Grither, they find the Grither doesn’t like to be talked about.
3.12 Miss May Dusa Airdate: 01/18/87
A woman (Sofia Landon Geier) with no memory is found by a jazz sax player named Jimmy James (Gary Majchrazak). As she recalls her name might be May Dusa, the woman realizes that remembering her past might be more horrible than forgetting it.
3.13 The Milkman Cometh Airdate: 01/25/87
Garry Cooley (Robert Forster) hates his job and feels like he’s falling behind. Garry and his wife Ruth (Shannon Wilcox) learn from their son Sandy (Chad Allen) that the milkman has been bringing gifts to the neighborhood. Garry is about to find out that what the milk man brings doesn’t come without a price.
3.14 My Ghostwriter—The Vampire Airdate: 02/01/87
Peter Prentice (Jeff Conaway) is a hack horror writer. When he is approached by a real vampire named Count Jeffrey Draco (Roy Dotrice), Count Draco could be Peter’s ticket to the big leagues.
3.15 My Own Place Airdate: 02/08/87
Sandy Darhaus (Perry Lang) gets a deal on a New York City apartment…but finds with is comes with an unexpected roommate in Ram (Harsh Nayyar).
3.16 Red Leader Airdate: 02/15/87
Alex Hayes (Joe E. Tata) is a big player with no scruples. When his dead partner Jake Caine (Carmine Caridi) returns from Hell, Alex learns that he could have “success” in Hell.
3.17 Everybody Needs a Little Love Airdate: 02/22/87
Roberts (Jerry Orbach) is a single drunk after a bitter divorce. When his friend Curtis (Richard Portnow) begins to see another woman, he finds that Estelle is a mannequin…but she might just be alive.
3.18 Auld Acquaintance Airdate: 03/01/87
Two witches have a pact involving a talisman and a trade-off. When Mary Hobbs (Sally Gracie) decides she wants her shot at the talisman sooner, Elizabeth Eaton (Linda Thorson) finds she’ll might have to fight her for it.
3.19 The Social Climber Airdate: 03/08/87
Rob (Robert Romanus) wants it all. Rob discovers that the shoes made by shoemaker Anthony (Albert Hague) seem to have magical powers, Rob might risk it all to have it all.
3.20 The Swap Airdate: 05/03/87
Rich and lecherous Bubba (Charles Ludlam) keeps his trophy wife Anna Belle (Maria Manuche) enslaved with his money. When Anna Belle’s lover Claude (James Wicek) and Anna Belle decide to murder Bubba, Bubba’s voodoo could come back and haunt them.
3.21 Let the Games Begin Airdate: 05/10/87
It is the big class reunion weekend for Harry Carson (Earl Hindman)…but he’s dead in his hotel room. Now, an angel (David Groh) and a devil (Jane Summerhays) are in battle for his immortal soul.
3.22 The Enormous Radio Airdate: 05/17/87
Irene (Christine Estabrook) and her husband Jim (John Rothman) have just picked up a new radio. Irene discovers that the radio picks up their neighbors private lives…proving to be more entertaining than the shows.
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