Tales from the Darkside—Season 4

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Some fun stories like Hush, No Strings, The Yattering and Jack, Family Reunion

Lots of so-so episodes, not scary enough

tales from the darkside opening title card music

There is a Darkside!

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!!!

Tales from the Darkside—Season 4 was the final season of Tales from the Darkside.  It ran for twenty episodes from September 9, 1987 to July 24, 1988 in syndication by CBS.  It was produced by director George Romero and adapted various stories from predominantly science fiction and horror writers.

Tales from the Darkside was always a bit second rate.  There was The Twilight Zone which was old, but excellent.  Night Gallery which was newer but still good…and there was Tales from the Darkside.  As a kid, I was not going to turn away any horror on TV, but Tales from the Darkside always seemed to disappoint more than impress.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 2 mary mary manikin margaret whitton

Manikins…always creepy. Mummies…not so much

This season contained stories from Robert Bloch (“Beetles”), Clive Barker (“The Yattering and Jack”), Stephen King (“Sorry, Right Number”), and actor/writer Bob Balaban (“Do Not Open This Box”) and appearances by people like Deborah “Blondie” Harry, Divine, and tons of character actors like Vic Tayback.

The talent behind Tales from the Darkside was pretty strong for 1980s and I can say I was always completely creeped out by the opening of Tales from the Darkside (it still gives me a little chill hearing the music).  The show seems to take the ideas to edge of horror but not commit to crossing over.  It plays as humor (which is acceptable), but it is so goofy at points that it crosses over to straight B-Comedy.  Something like Tales from the Crypt also was very humorous, but that series managed to capture the tone more.  The series was initially planned to be a series version of Creepshow but Romero was not able to get the naming rights.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 16 family reunion demon face

Hi! Want to play?

To me mummies just aren’t scary (or interesting) so stories like “Beetles” and “The Grave Robbers” aren’t very fun or funny, and episodes where people trade their souls feel too prevalent.  The weird “Barter” episode goes for an “I Love Lucy” theme for no apparent reason and it seems very random.  I prefer the more Twilight Zone/Night Gallery style stories like “Mary, Mary” or “The Yattering and Jack”.  My favorite in this collection is “Hush” with the noise eater on the loose, but “Family Reunion” is also a fun monster one.

Tales from the Darkside is a quick watch with about 20 minute episodes.  Also included (on the DVD collection of the season) are two episodes from an unproduced series “Akhbar’s Daughter” which wasn’t very good and “Attic Suite” which was entertaining.  Check out Tales from the Darkside…I just wish they were scarier.

Tales from the Darkside—Season 4 Complete Episode Guide:

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 1 beetles mummy


4.1       Beetles Airdate:  09/27/87

A part time archaeologist named Arthur Hartley (Rod McCary) gets his big score when he uncovers a mummy’s tomb.  When an Egyptian named Hammid Bey (Hammid Bey) warns him of the curse, he thinks it is all a trick to get his riches.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 2 mary mary manikin

“Mary, Mary”

4.2       Mary, Mary Airdate:  10/04/87

Mary Jones (Margaret Whitton) doesn’t like to leave her home.  She spends the day making pictures with his manikin.  When her next door neighbor David (A.C. Weary) shows an interest in her, does he want Mary or the manikin?

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 3 the spirit photographer frank hamilton

“The Spirit Photographer”

4.3       The Spirit Photographer Airdate:  10/11/87

A ghost research named Algernon Colesbury (Frank Hamilton) purchases a haunted house in the hopes of capturing evidence of a ghost on camera.  When he discovers the machine he created to do it is killing him, he hopes he gets the evidence before it is too late.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 4 the moth deborah harry blondie

“The Moth”

4.4       The Moth Airdate:  10/18/87

Sybil (Deborah Harry) practices dark magic.  When she is mortally wounded she forces her mother (Jane Manning) capture her soul for her.  Deciding her daughter is an abomination, the mother must find a way to stop her daughter from returning to life at dawn.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 5 no strings puppet

“No Strings”

4.5       No Strings Airdate:  10/25/87

A gangster named Eddie Minelli (T.J. Castronovo) kills his rival Don Paulie (Derek Loughran) and takes his girlfriend Tiffany (Cameron Milzer) as his own.  When he demands a puppet show from a master puppeteer Aldo (Barry Dennen), the puppeteer finds it is a horrific request.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 6 the grave robber mummy arnold stang

“The Grave Robber”

4.6       The Grave Robber Airdate:  11/01/87

A couple of grave robbers (Polly Draper, Daren Kelly) become trapped in a crypt with a mummy named Tapok (Arnold Stang) and discover they have to gamble with a mummy to get out of the tomb.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 7 the yattering and jack phil fondacaro antony carbone

“The Yattering and Jack”

4.7       The Yattering and Jack Airdate:  11/08/87

A demon called the Yattering (Phil Fondacaro) tries to get the soul of a salesman named Jack (Antony Carbone).  When Jack’s daughter Amanda (Danielle Brisebois) comes for Christmas, the Yattering must step up his efforts or he could lose Jack’s soul forever.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 8 seymourlama ambassador chia fung divine


4.8       Seymourlama Airdate:  11/15/87

Ellen (Kathleen Doyle) and Henry (David Gale) learn their son Seymour (J.D. Roth) has been chosen as the new lama of Lo Pu and now Seymour is getting used to his powers given by the Ambassador Chia Fung (Divine).

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 9 sorry right number deborah harmon

“Sorry, Right Number”

4.9       Sorry, Right Number Airdate:  11/22/87

Katie Weiderman (Deborah Harmon) gets a call for help on the phone that she is sure comes from one of her children.  As she and her husband Bill (Arthur Taxier) search for the answer could it be something more?

tales form the darkside season 4 episode 10 payment overdue maura swanson

“Payment Overdue”

4.10     Payment Overdue Airdate:  02/14/88

An aggressive claims agent named Jeanette Simpson (Maura Swanson) is haunted by telephone calls from deceased woman and visited by a man named Michael (Lewis Arlt) who has come to make her payment.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 11 love hungry talking food

“Love Hungry”

4.11     Love Hungry Airdate:  02/21/88

A woman named Betsy Cowland (Sharon Madden) is desperate to lose weight.  When a new weight loss program shows her what food is thinking and saying, it could be Betsy’s chance.  When a former schoolmate named Elmo (Larry Gelman) comes to take out Betsy, her new diet could be a curse.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 12 the deal devil bradley whitford allen garfield

“The Deal”

4.12     The Deal Airdate:  02/28/88

A budding writer named Tom Dash (Bradley Whitford) learns his landlord Donald (Allen Garfield) is the Devil and might be able to give him the opportunity at success that he wants.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 13 the apprentice haviland morris witch

“The Apprentice”

4.13     The Apprentice Airdate:  05/01/88

Sarah McBride (Haviland Morris) applies for a job and learns she’s going to be working at the home of Magistrate Thomas Branford (Wayne Tippit) and his daughter Jane (Katherine Elizabeth Neuman) who live and act like Puritans in 1692.  Sarah might discover that the act might be more than she thought.


tales from the darkside season 4 episode 14 the cutty black sow monster

“The Cutty Black Sow”

4.14     The Cutty Black Sow Airdate:  05/08/88

A boy named Jamie (Huckleberry Fox) is warned by his dying grandmother of the Cutty Black Sow.  Now he’s out to protect himself from the creature on Halloween.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 15 do not open this box eileen heckart william lemassena

“Do Not Open This Box”

4.15     Do Not Open This Box Airdate:  05/15/88

Rose Pennywell (Eileen Heckart) is a nagging wife to her husband Charles (William LeMassena).  When she forces open a box which says “Don’t Open This Box” she starts a chain of events that seems like a potential blessing when a postman (Richard B. Shull) arrives to seems to agree to whatever she asks for.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 16 family reunion werewolf mom

“Family Reunion”

4.16     Family Reunion Airdate:  05/22/88

Robert Perry (Stephen McHattie) keeps his son Bobby (Daniel Terrence Kelly) from his wife Janice Perry (Patricia Tallman).  When Janice goes to a social worker for Bobby, Bobby’s unique “disease” keeps Robert from allowing Bobby to return to his mother who might have a secret also.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 17 going native kim griest

“Going Native”

4.17     Going Native Airdate:  06/19/88

An alien (Kim Griest) sent to examine Earthlings finds herself envying them and wishing it could emulate them.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 18 hush eric jason niles lanning sound stealer


4.18     Hush Airdate:  07/10/88

A boy named Buddy (Eric Jason) creates a noise eater that steals the noise from whatever it touches.  When the noise eater eats its control, Buddy and his babysitter Jennifer (Nile Lanning) find themselves trapped with the machine.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 19 barter klaatzu jack carter jill jaress michael santiago


4.19     Barter Airdate:  07/17/88

Ruthie (Jill Jaress) meets a travelling salesman named Klaatzu (Jack Carter) who in exchange for ammonia gives Ruthie a machine to silence her son Little Nicky (Miguel Alamo).  When Little Nicky gets frozen, it is up to Nicky (Michael Santiago) and Ruthie to get Klaatzu to free him.

tales from the darkside season 4 episode 20 buster malone trog tippy ryan vic tayback

“Buster Malone”

4.20     Basher Malone Airdate:  07/24/88

Good-guy wrestler Basher Malone (Steve Strong) and his mother Ma Malone (Marie Denn) are challenged by evil Tippy Ryan (Vic Tayback) to battle an inter-dimensional wrestler called Trog.

Related Links:

Tales from the Darkside—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Tales from the Darkside—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Tales from the Darkside—Season 3 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Tales from the Darkside:  The Movie (1990)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

One Comment on "Tales from the Darkside—Season 4"

  1. Dave August 15, 2016 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    What kind of telephone is that in “Sorry, Right Number”?

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