Darkroom (1981 series)

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Promotional image for Darkroom (1981 series)...


"Enter a new dimension of chilling suspense... enter The Darkroom!" An anthology horror/thriller TV series in much the same spirit as Twilight Zone; each week features new stories, writers, directors, and cast. The series ran for 7 episodes (16 stories) from 1981 to 1982, plus the unrelated Nightmares (1983 film) containing episodes of a similarly-themed failed anthology series that were hyped as "too intense for television" ("Four of your worst nightmares come true!")


  • Release Date: 1981-1983
  • Country/Language: US, English
  • Genres/Technical: Horror, Suspense, Crime, Fantasy, Anthology
  • Runtime: (generally formatted for a 1-hour commercial television slot)
  • Starring: (various), hosted by James Cobern
  • Director: (various), Joseph Sargent (film)
  • Writer: (various, including Robert Bloch), Christopher Crowe and Jeffrey Bloom (film)
  • Producer/Production Co: ABC, Universal Television; Universal Pictures, Christopher Crowe and Andrew Mirisch (film)
  • View Trailer: (link), (Nightmares)
  • IMDb page: (Darkroom), (Nightmares)
  • Wikipedia page: (link)


MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: (not rated) (equivalent of a TV-PG for Violence and mild Adult Content)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • S____ (One Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian; has almost no direct connection to Lovecraft's work)

This anthology horror series really didn't last long enough to do much that might be considered "Lovecraftian". The Episode 5 story "The Partnership" features a man who makes a sinister bargain with a standard-issue Tentacle Monster, followed by an Episode 5 story "Catnip" featuring a confrontation by a witch's familiar and a thug.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.


Review Links:

  • Review (Darkroom) by Tim at Cinemania.co.nz (link)
  • Review (Nightmares) by Scott Ashlin at 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting (3/5 Stars) (link) - "Although I can’t call Nightmares even a minor classic in good conscience, it has plenty to offer any fan of oddball 80’s horror movies."
  • Review (Nightmares) by David Bax at Battleship Pretension (link)- "Overall, though, Nightmares is worth a watch. The good ones are good, all four are pretty short and the worst one is at the end..."
  • Review (Nightmares) by Unkle Lancifer at Kindertrauma (link) - "More a fun diversion than a full horror meal..."
  • Review (Nightmares) by Richard Winters at Scopophilia Movies of the 60's, 70s, 80s (2/10) (link) - "The stories are flatly photographed with dull looking sets that have no cinematic quality to them and no business being on the big screen."


Episodes that may be of interest to fans of "Lovecraftian" film:

  • "Episode 5, The Partnership" (Episode 1x5) - An old man's eerie partnership allows him to live well in a crumbling town.
  • Nightmares - an urban legend about a serial killer in your car; a video gamer meets the Bishop of Battle at an arcade; priest Lance Henrickson has a spiritual battle with a demonic pickup truck; a family is tormented by a giant rat....


Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • Introduction: "You're in a house. Maybe your own. Maybe one you’ve never seen before. You feel it. Something evil. You run, but there’s no escape, nowhere to turn. You feel something beckoning you, drawing you into the darkness, to the terror that awaits you in the Darkroom!"
  • The horror host would be a sombre James Cobern working alone in a photographer's darkroom, developing and describing photographs related to the episode at hand.
  • It has been a long-held belief that the four segments of the film Nightmares were initially conceived and shot for ABC's thriller anthology series Darkroom, but were deemed "too intense for television". However, on the audio commentary on the 2015 Blu-ray release, executive producer Andrew Mirisch clarifies that the film actually began life as a pilot for an unnamed, unrelated, unsold, and not especially intense anthology series for NBC, before becoming a theatrical feature for Universal Pictures.

Associated Mythos Elements

Keeper Notes