Your favorite non-Twilight Zone anthology episodes?

Anything. Night Gallery, the Sixth Sense, Tales From the Crypt, Alfred Hitchcock Presents…Goosebumps?

There was a Goosebumps ep my kid was watching and i wasn’t paying much attention til the end. There’s this monster/school mascot (?) in the gym performing at a pep rally… This kid in the stands…his friends were supposed to investigate the monster…so he calls them on their cel-phone. He can hear the phone ringing in the monsters belly, and we’re given a camera trick. The audience can see into the monsters belly where the kids are screaming annnnnd…

Roll credits. I was a bit taken back. That’s it? This is a kids show and they end on that??

Yeh, that’s pretty fucked up.

When I was a kid/teen, I loved Tales From the Darkside and Amazing Stories. For the life of me, I can’t think of any TftD episodes that stood out, but I know they exist. I loved the Spielberg directed episode of AS, where the turret gunner becomes trapped in the belly of a bomber whose landing gear is malfunctioning. He’s a talented illustrator, and draws the plane with big cartoon wheels in a moment of abject desperation… and sure enough…

Black Mirror. Just about anything from it is fucking amazing, but some of the real highlights include “Men Against Fire”, “15 million merits”, “Shut up and Dance”, and “White Bear”.

Yes, Black Mirror is absolutely stellar. I loved Nosedive, White Bear, White Christmas, Shut Up and Dance, and Entire History of You. Also, San Junipero, while it didn’t speak to me directly in its social commentary — other than the 80s nostalgia — was an uplifting episode in an otherwise dark anthology. You really can’t go wrong with any episode.

Demon With a Glass Hand from the original “The Outer Limits”

Family Dog from “Amazing Stories”. It was the only animated episode of that show and Brad Bird’s first time as a director. It was turned into a series (6 years later) that lasted 10 episodes, but I don’t remember it being any good. I just rewatched the original online and it’s still great.

I’m a fan of a couple different Japanese short horror series. Some of my favourite episodes of them:

I’m not sure which series this one was from, but I love it… Not because it’s scary, but…well…

It’s a retelling of the Phantom Hitchhiker story, only the driver is a cabbie. You know how it starts…a young woman flags down a ride, and asks to be brought home, only when the car arrives, she’s no longer in it. In this case, the cabbie talks to the girl’s parents. They tell him she does this every few days, and thank him profusely for helping their daughter, tell him that it’s good for them, too, and pay him well.

After the conversation, he drives off, thinking about his late mother, who’s grave he has yet to visit. ‘Maybe,’ he muses, ‘I should go visit her.’ The ghost girl pops up in the back seat. ‘I can take you to her!’ Cut to black.

It cracked me the hell up, it was just so random. Like ‘no, we can’t follow the original story, or have this end on a sweet note! Random scare!’

One from Shin Mimi Bokuro (translated at Tales of Terror from Tokyo):

A young woman is living with her (divorced? widowed?) father. He does this thing where he’ll come home, with his suit backwards, and claim he was accosted by a spirit called The Backwards Suit. His daughter finds this ridiculously cringy, but he keeps doing it. So, this goes on for a while, until the daughter finally stops humouring and tells him off.

She feels a little bad about hurting his feelings, but is at least glad the stupid jokes have stopped. Then, one night she takes a different route home… She walks in, and is greeted by her father, who points at her with a huge grin on his face. She looks down and…her clothes are on backwards. Between the dad’s grin and her ‘WTF’ reaction, it was hilarious.

And one that wasn’t funny…

From Yamishibai (Shadow Play), a…well…almost-animated series based on kamishibai (paper play).

A man takes shelter from the rain, while on his way home from work. While he’s waiting for it to pass, he spots a young couple, and gets nostalgic for when he had that. Then he notices a little girl fortune telling with flowers about whether the rain will stop. It won’t.

He approaches her and asks her what she’s doing there so late. She doesn’t say anything, and just comments that she hopes his wife will come for him. He deflects. She asks him what fortune he wants told, because her fortunes are always true, and he comments ‘shouldn’t you be going home’…which she takes as a fortune telling request. She won’t.

She asks for another fortune to tell. He doesn’t answer. She decides to read whether his wife will come for him. He tries to tell her that his wife won’t be coming for him. But she’s already started so, he goes along with it. She’s going to come.

The man starts to explain that his wife can’t come, when the girl points. The man looks. A woman is approaching. He stands, then goes to join her, declining the girl’s offer of another fortune. The girl looks, and then it hits her, and she begins fortune telling again.

‘You’re dead. You’re not dead. You’re dead. You’re not dead. You’re dead. … So long, Mister. You don’t need any more fortunes.’

It’s just so nice, and heartwarming. With a spooky edge, and a slightly shuddery one when you think about the fact that it doesn’t give any indication of why he was dead. Did he die because his wife came for him, or did his wife come for him because he was dead? If the former, did the girl’s prediction happen because the wife was coming, or did the wife come because of the prediction? In the end, it doesn’t matter…he was reunited with the wife he clearly dearly loved and missed terribly, which is nice, even if he had to die for it.

The Tales From The Crypt Episode “What’s Cookin”

Christopher Reeve plays the owner of a struggling restaurant until Judd Nelson comes in and gives him a new steak recipe. Also starring Meat Loaf as the steak.

Black Mirror is a given.

Lesser known:
“Guillotine” from Darkroom, a short-lived anthology series of the early 80s. Based on a Cornell (“Rear Window”) Woolrich story built on the idea that, if the executioner dies, the condemned man goes free. In this case, the condemned man figures out how to use that to his advantage – or so he thinks.

People don’t think of The New Twilight Zone from 1985, which had little to do with the original except its name, and adapting one or two episodes. They often took successful published stories – sometimes classics – and adapted them and was filled with great episodes like, “Wordplay,” “Paladin of the Lost Hour,” “Wong’s Lost and Found Emporium,” “I of Newton,” “The Misfortune Cookie,” “To See the Invisible Man,” “Gramma” (adapted by Harlan Ellison from a story by Stephen King), “Button, Button” (made into a movie a few years ago), “The Cold Equations,” and the absolutely stunning “Nightcrawlers.” I don’t think anything anthology series has been as consistently good as this until Dark Mirror.

Of course, the original Outer Limits was also great. My favorites included “The Sixth Finger,” “The Zanti Misfits,” “Controlled Experiment,” and “Specimen: Unknown,” and “The Premonition.”

I came in to post Demon with a Glass Hand, and so second it. IMHO the best science fiction episode on TV ever, hands down*. I also nominate Harlan Ellison’s other Outer Limits script, Soldier, which undoubtedly the basis of his claim against Terminator.

I thought “Family Dog” was cute, but I wouldn’t put it at the top of my list.
Also, I suggest Eyes from the pilot for Night Gallery, written by Rod Serling, directed by a very young Steven Spielberg, and starring Joan Crawford. There’s a stack of talent all in one place.
And I have to call out the episode Yellow from Tales from the Crypt. It starred Kirk Douglas and involved a court-martial in WWI, so it couldn’t help but recal his classic role in Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis, and also featured Lance Henrickson, Dan Aykroyd (!) and Kirk Douglas’ other son, Eric Douglas (playing the son of Kirk’s character, appropriately enough). Written by four guys I never heard of, but it packs a dramatic punch and fits the sort of dark twist that TotC and TZ had in common.


I can’t remember which series this is from. I just remember loving it because I totally didn’t see the ending coming:

A struggling artist is attacked in a dark alley by a demon/gargoyle looking creature. Just as the creature is about to bite his head off, he pleads with him: “Please let me go!” The demon agrees to let the man go, but the man had to promise he would never tell a single person about his encounter with the demon.

After the encounter, he meets the love of his life, they get married, have kids, his art career is doing wonderfully…

Thing is though, the man feels terrible guilt because he never told his wife about the encounter he had with the demon so many years ago. So he finally breaks down and tells her.


She then morphs into the demon that attacked him years ago. (Bonus: The kids morph into demons too. Which I thought was hilarious.)

This is from Tales from the Darkside, the movie.

Skittles Candy, of all things, put out an anthology this year, and I thought this video was pretty good. Video I missed the intro and googled a description of the video because I thought it was advertising a promising new horror show.

That one’s from Tales from the Darkside: The Movie.

While on the subject of Darkside, the best episode ever was “Inside the Closet”. A young woman rents a room from a man. The room has a tiny door in it, which is locked. Sometimes, though, it opens on its own…

I remember that one. It starred Fritz Weaver. Very good one.

The Tales from the Darkside episode I like best is the first one I ever saw. I caught it after the opening, before I ever heard of “Tales from the Darkside”. ll I knew was that it was a superbly written and acted drama, and felt like a good episode of the old Twilight Zone, but it was brand new. Probably because it came on me so unexpectedly, I really liked it.

It was The Odds, starring Danny Aiello as a bookie and Tom Noonan as “Bill Lacey” – actually, the Devil. It was a very well-done Deal With The Devil story, written and directed by James Steven Sadwith from a story by Carole Lucia Satrina. I still don’t know anything about the author and director.

One of my favorites is “Late Date” from Thriller (the 1960-62 anthology series hosted by Boris Karloff). A man murders his cheating wife, and his loyal brother helps out by offering to dispose of the body. This turns out to be much more difficult than he expected.

This was also adapted as a pretty good Thriller episode.

The third segment of Trilogy of Terror, starring Karen Black and that doll.

Is Tales From the Crypt not streaming anywhere? Damn…i know some are on Youtube but…quality…

Thanksgiving (starring Kyra Sedgwick and David Carradine) from Amazing Stories. (Can’t seem to be able to link to the individual episode, but it is there.)

the second twilight zone had a story where a lonely shy spinster type who read way to many romance novels finds a stray cat who becomes her only friend she makes a wish of some sort and every night the cat becomes this French Casanova who sweeps her off her feet but hes still a cat so he starts looking for new female owner breaking her heart

well she convinces him to give her one last go … but she has a plan… when hes a cat the next day it shows her taking him in to the vet (she might have slipped something in his food )

… and shes having a conversation with the vet tech about how he needs this done ot calm him down and keep him at home … mean while hes having a screaming hissing total fit in the cage the vet tech looks in the cage and says "oh don’t worry this wont hurt its just a couple of snips " and says to the lady " neutering these days is so routine I do about 15 or so on a busy day … and she leaves with a smile between I’m sorry and revenge

The Zenti Misfits and It Came Out of the Woodwork from The Outer Limits. The Zenti Misfits particularly got me when I was a kid. There was another one with a creature that lived in the sand of Mars and ate the astronauts that landed. That was memorable. (except for the episode title)

The Man From the South in almost any incarnation. I think it has been done a number of times.

One word: earwigs!

And The New Twilight Zone (1986) was an awesome show. I don’t know why it gets dissed, but the percentage of good stories is way higher than the classic TZ. Her Pilgrim Sould is my all time favorite, but there are tons of good ones.

My favorite episode from the 1986 TZ was Shatterday. Bruce Willis starring in a Harlan Ellison story. And directed by Wes Craven, of all people.