Monsters (1988–1990)

TV Series  |   |  Horror
7.5
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A horror anthology about a family of monsters watching a different horror story every week on their TV. Each tale is separate, often cautionary with occasional dark humor and irony and features various deadly creatures.

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Title: Monsters (1988–1990)

Monsters (1988–1990) on IMDb 7.5/10

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3   2   1  
1991   1990   1989   1988  
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Cast

Series cast summary:
John Bolger ...
 Charles Poole (2 episodes, 1988-1990)
Pamela Dean Kelly ...
 Bird / ... (2 episodes, 1988-1990)
...
 Holly / ... (2 episodes, 1988-1990)
...
 The Beast (2 episodes, 1990)
Robert Weil ...
 Neighbor (2 episodes, 1989-1991)
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Storyline

A horror anthology about a family of monsters watching a different horror story every week on their TV. Each tale is separate, often cautionary with occasional dark humor and irony and features various deadly creatures.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Horror

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Release Date:

22 October 1988 (USA)  »

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(52 episodes)

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1.33 : 1
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Connections

Referenced in Monsters, Inc. (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

The key to appreciating this show is recognizing the limitations of the form
20 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The good thing about the backlash against this series, as exhibited by the sum of the negative comments here, is that it will lower the expectations of those coming to it for the first time to the point that they will actually enjoy it, thinking, "Hey, this isn't so bad!"

And indeed it wasn't. My favorite episode is the one with Barbara Billingsly, about a soul reaper haunting a particular old folks home. This episode skirted the terrain we know now from Bubba Hotep long before that film, and the book on which it is based, ever saw daylight.

But Fritz Weaver and his abomination in the jar, an episode that sort of combines Alien and Bradbury's short story The Jar, make for unforgettable viewing. And Soupy Sales starred in a wicked twist on the old farmer's daughter jokes that is also highly memorable television. There's some cool stop motion giant arachnid action in the tale of the young couple who check into a musty old hotel on their honeymoon night. And so on. Yeah, I could stand to see any episode I ever saw of it again. It was a series that, at very least, had its moments. You have to give it that.

The problem with Monsters is one shared by nearly every dramatic anthology series: how to generate a serious story you can really care about in 18 to 24 minutes (TV's "half hour", once you take away time for the commercial breaks that are the only reason TV exists). Twilight Zone rose above this territorial limitation far better than any other such series ever has and likely ever will. But even the early Alfred Hitchcock Presents suffered the limitations of the form more than one would expect: too cut and dried, an all-exposition approach that allows no building of atmosphere, major points spoken rather than seen, film over before you can get into it. You know the drill.

I have to say Monsters is no worse, and probably never quite as bad in this specific way, as Hitch's first several seasons. Monsters at least managed to infuse some Grand Guignol spirit into its 20 minutes. The shows makers seem to have decided that it was in creepy, well-built atmosphere, and not plot punchlines, that they would make their show resonate in the memory of the audience. And having decided on that route, they became very good at it.

So give it a try. I am seeing episodes on DVD for sale through various venues online for the first time in the last few months. After over a decade of spotting the same couple of VHS tapes of this series at older video rental stores, and wondering if it would ever be available in fuller form, this development delights me. It was a decent series that deserves to be remembered and mentioned in any discussion of TV horror.


14 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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