Today was meant to be about Tales From the Darkside, the show, but reading through all the episode descriptions, none of them stood out in my mind. It got me thinking about The Twilight Zone, Monsters, The Outer Limits, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Amazing Stories, Tales from the Crypt and all of the other horror anthologies I watched growing up.
All of these were pretty ingenious little slices of television. You could have a stunt episode by bringing in Stephen King to write one or have an up and coming star be in an episode. Between such ratings grabs, you could just turn out ironic horror after ironic horror. The idea being, if one episode sucked, the next one might be great. Having something completely different each week kept us on our toes and provided tons of entertainment.
I remember some (like the episode of Twilight Zone with the giant rats and spider) would freak me out. Others would be oddly comedic. All left some vague impression on me. I remember one with Peter O'Toole dealing with a Banshee (Ray Bradbury Theater). I remember an Alfred Hitchcock presents where a woman murdered her husband with a leg of lamb and then tricked the police into eating all the evidence. Some were morality tales but most just ended with a dark twist of some kind.
Now anthology television has been replaced with anthology movies. Oddly, they seem to represent less of an investment and you can amass star power more easily. Still, I will always remember those days of my youth spent getting freaked out by the opening to Tales From the Darkside (which I didn't realize was essentially, Creepshow: the TV show).
Black Mirror has pretty good with the modern anthology (although it is sci-fi based). If anyone wants to bring back a real horror show, I will be happy to watch.
Any standouts in your mind?