The Fan-Favorite Horror Series That Beat Tales From The Crypt To The Punch

By Brian Myers | Published

Horror anthology shows are nothing new. The recent success of Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities on Netflix is the latest in a long line of series that bring stand-alone horror episodes to the masses. Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside, and Hammer House of Horror are just a few of the shows that span the decades and have given generations of audiences the chills. One such entry that is beginning to get attention again is the late 1980s show Monsters, a series that brought horror to late-night syndication.

Monsters Came Out Of Another Anthology

Monsters was the brainchild of Richard Rubenstein, a colleague of the late George Romero. The two filmmakers had worked previously on Romero’s epic zombie classic Dawn of the Dead (1978), with Romero at the helm as director and Rubenstein producing. In 1982, the duo collaborated on the film Creepshow, which led to the creation of a syndicated series named Tales from the Darkside that Romero created and Rubenstein executive produced.

Tales from the Darkside combined fantasy, science fiction, and horror. When the show ended its 90-episode run in 1988, Rubenstein wished to create an anthology show centered only on horror. From that dream, the Monsters series was born.

A Family Of Monsters Trying To Figure Out What To Watch

The opening sequence of the Monsters series is what gave the show its namesake. A suburban family (who are monsters) is winding down for the night and trying to decide what to watch on television. When Monsters appear on their screen, they decide they have a winner.

Designed To Let Make-Up Artists Go Wild

The spirit of the Monsters series was one that Rubenstein created to be true to supernatural beings and creatures rather than deviating and using human killers to deliver terror to audiences. He aimed to bring attention to what he believed were high-art makeup and visual effects used to make the monsters in the series realistic and scary, a point that he felt was overlooked by critics during the run of Tales from the Darkside.

Rubenstein was successful in this regard, as Monsters could conjure monstrous beings from some of the most seemingly harmless places. One episode features the robotic doll from a children’s show that begins to act like a real woman and kills out of jealousy. Another episode in the series follows a horror writer who obtains the makeup kit that belonged to a long-dead horror film actor, only to discover that it has evil qualities that transform users into horrible creatures.

Famous 80s Stars

Monsters ran for three seasons, for a total of 72 episodes. Along with a weekly tale of terror, the series gave audiences plenty of familiar faces from film and television in the form of guest stars. Tempestt Bledsoe (The Cosby Show), musician Meat Loaf (Fight Club), Jeff Conaway (Taxi, Wizards and Warriors), Darren McGavin (A Christmas Story), and Richard Moll (Night Court, House) are but a few entertainers that were showcased, some of whom played on-screen monsters.

Season 1 Is Streaming For Free


Episodes for the Monsters series were largely written for the screen out of the imagination of the writers, but some were based on older works by Robert Bloch, Robert Sheckley, and Stepen King. The show was as cheesy as it was scary, but is a great look at the era from which it was produced and remains one of the better horror anthology series. 

Sadly, the entirety of the Monsters series is not available for streaming. But the first season of this horror anthology can be viewed on Freevee, Tubi, and Roku.