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Series / Monsters

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A horror anthology show in a similar vein to Tales from the Darkside, it shared the same producer (Richard P. Rubenstein), and in some ways succeeded the show (which had ended the same year in which Monsters began). It differed in some respects nonetheless. While Tales sometimes dabbled in stories of science fiction and fantasy, this series was more strictly horror. As the name implies, each episode of Monsters (with very few exceptions) featured a different monster, from the animatronic puppet of a fictional children's television program to mutated, weapon-wielding lab rats.

Similar to Tales, however, the stories in Monsters were rarely very straightforward action plots and often contained some ironic twist in which a character's conceit or Greed would do him in, often with gruesome results. Adding to this was a sense of comedy often lost on horror productions, which might in some instances lighten the audience's mood (often deceptively) but in many cases added to the overall eeriness of the production.


The Title Sequence of the show is a cheesy-yet-perversely surreal take on a Sitcom intro, which begins with a seemingly innocuous family discussing what to watch on television. They are revealed to be hideous humanoid creatures with Extra Eyes and elongated, deformed faces who snack on candied insects, yet they are all live and dress in a typical Eighties suburban setting.

The show was also known to have had celebrity guests before they became famous, including Steve Buscemi, Lili Taylor, Matt LeBlanc, David Spade, Gina Gershon and Richard Belzer.

Not to be confused with the manga and anime series Monster, the 2003 film Monster, or the 2010 film Monsters.



  • Adaptation Expansion: "The Moving Finger" ends by actually showing the creature attack the cop. The original short story ends with the cop about to stumble across the creature by lifting the toilet lid.
  • An Aesop: A few stories contain these.
  • Aside Glance:
    • A completely out of the blue one that doubles as blatant Breaking the Fourth Wall; right before the first act break in "Mannikins of Horror", after yelling at his (alive) clay figures to shut up and stop interrupting his work, Dr. Collin (for no real reason) turns and stares dead-eyed into the camera. Cue commercial.
      Dr. Collin: (to his figures) Quiet! There will be no talking! Is that understood? (turns toward the viewer)
    • The last shot of "My Zombie Lover" is of Brad turning to the camera, wide-eyed and seconds away from screaming, as he realizes he's about to become zombie chow.
  • Asshole Victim: Quite a few. A nice example would have to be Timothy Danforth from the episode "Cellmates." An arrogant, selfish, Spoiled Brat Rich Bastard who insists that his father will pull strings to get him out of a Mexican jail after he kills a child with his expensive sports car in a hit-and-run affair. Oh... not on this show...
  • The Bad Guy Wins: While it's confusing to tell, "Holly's House" ends with the implication that "Holly" was reborn as Katherine's child.
  • Body Horror: "The Farmer's Daughter".
  • Bottle Episode: For budgetary reasons, almost every episode took place in only one or two rooms.
  • Creepy Family: "One Wolf's Family".
    • Also the family in the openning in every episode.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?: The Plot Twist of "Glim Glim": after Carl and the teacher kill Glim Glim, they run into the next room... where Amy has plugged in a Christmas tree that Glim Glim made. It's Christmas Eve. And the paper Glim Glim was trying to show them had "Merry Christmas" on it.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: "My Zombie Lover." Kid being a bratty little wiseass? Go ahead and feed him to a zombie.
  • Downer Ending:
    • "Glim-Glim"'s ending can best be summed up like this: Daddy killed your friend and doomed mankind in the process, Merry Christmas!
    • "Holly's House": Katherine winds up in a psych ward, and her child is implied to be Holly reborn.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: More or less literally done with "Where's the Rest of Me?". Over the course of the episode, Adam regains his lost body parts, ending by taking his heart back from Willard.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: "Waiting Game" starts off with this when a nuclear bomb goes off. And somehow creates vampires.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: "The Hole", an episode set during The Vietnam War, had zombie-infested Vietcong tunnels with a heavily-implied side of Gaia's Vengeance.
  • Fallen Angel: "Hostile Takeover" features a Fallen Angel who calls himself "Obeah" and looks more like a conventional demon than an angel after falling into Hell.
    Obeah: (disguised as the janitor) I had a pretty bad fall. Maybe you've read about it... in The Bible? That's what they call it. A Fall. I'd say I was pushed!
  • Fantastic Racism: "One Wolf's Family", a comedy written by Paul Dini, dealt with a family of werewolves, where the father is enraged to learn that his daughter is going to marry a werehyena. By contrast, their nosy neighbor makes veiled insults to the fact the family is rather ethnic.
  • Fate Worse than Death: "Half as Old as Time" involved an old man visiting his archaeologist daughter who shows him the a ritual ground of a old snake god. An Indian shaman tempts the man into killing his daughter as a sacrifice to the god to regain his youth. But he fails to mention till the last moment, that the man now "lives like the god lives" which said god is a statue. The man promptly starts slowing down as a result till he can hardly move at all.
  • Giant Spider: The antagonist of "A Bond of Silk".
  • Go Mad from the Isolation:
    • "Habitat": A woman named Jamie Neal volunteers to be locked in a room for nine months in exchange for a large sum of money. At first, she boasts that she can easily handle it and she'll use the money to be independent for the rest of her life. After about two months, she starts losing it and begging to be let out, saying she now misses being with people.
    • "The Waiting Game": After a nuclear war, soldiers wait in bunkers for the radiation to go down, but eventually, they start going crazy and committing suicide by going outside.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In "Stressed Environment", scientists work on increasing the intelligence of rats. They find out it worked when the rats become smart enough to break out of confinement and start killing them by using tools and taking advantage of the environment.
  • Ironic Echo: In "Hostile Takeover" Obeah uses the Villain Protagonist's own words when describing what he's going to do to a competitor's assets (taking them apart piece by piece and selling them off) to describe what he's going to do to the protagonist.
  • "Jeopardy!" Intelligence Test: The hero in the adaptation of Stephen King's "The Moving Finger" does this with a generic quiz show.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: A lot of the stories usually involve greedy people who usually get whats coming to them.
  • Late to the Realization: It takes Brad so long at the end of "My Zombie Lover" to realize he's about to be fed to the zombies that the episode ends right as he's about to scream in horror to the camera.
  • Nightmare Retardant: In-Universe, the climax of "Taps" sees Suzy being attacked by Gary's leg. At first she's terrified... but then realizes that it's a leg. And then said leg manages to knock her out, attach itself to her, and force her to dance forever.
  • Occult Detective: Manley Wade Wellman's John Thunstone appeared in "Rouse Him Not", the first and, to date, only adaptation of the character.
  • One-Word Title: Well, obviously. There's also the episodes "Taps", "Rerun", "Jar", "Reaper", "Habitat", "Refugee", "Cellmates", "Outpost", "Malcolm", and "Leavings".
  • Or Was It a Dream?: The climax of "Bug House" sees May give birth to a giant bug and die soon after, and Peter turn out to be part bug... and then Ellen wakes up. Still pregnant. And something writhing inside her.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Tales from the Darkside, which has the same producer, though as mentioned before, there were some differences from the previous series.
  • Sympathetic Magic: In "Hostile Takeover", the rather slimy Corrupt Corporate Executive Villain Protagonist uses voodoo magic to get a leg up on his business rivals.
  • Tally Marks on the Prison Wall: In "Habitat", Jamie Neal agrees to be locked up for nine months and makes tally marks with lipstick. On day 64, she becomes depressed when she realizes that since she has no way of accurately telling time (the room has no clocks and no windows so she can't see the sun), and she just made a new mark whenever she wakes up, she can't actually be sure her tally is accurate.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • In "A Bond of Silk", honeymooning husband Nash is convinced that he is stuck inside some kind of giant silk hammock, when it is clear he is stuck in a giant spider web and that the honeymoon suite he and his wife are in was too good to be true. His wife Portia, by contrast, was smart enough to have reservations, and smart enough not to jump on the web. It's hard to fault her for not being able to do something too soon when she tries to convince Nash that there was something wrong and he's too stupid to listen. In fact, he pitifully and desperately tries to convince himself that the whole thing is a prank being pulled by his friends before the spider that made the web showed up.
    • Take your pick as to who's to blame for Adam's rampage in "Where's The Rest of Me?": Willard (for leaving that beaker of his formula by Adam's vat) or Joe (for knocking said beaker into said vat while getting frisky with Regina).


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