Since the early days of television audiences have been spoiled with a plethora of horror shows. With the Halloween season upon us, let’s check out some horror shows you should watch while you carve pumpkins or enjoy some candy. From ghosts, ghouls, zombies and cannibals, this list has a little bit of everything.
2013-2015 Created by Bryan Fuller
A bit more of an artistic entry than others on this list, this interpretation of the Thomas Harris created world and characters is great. Viscerally disturbing, horrifying and psychological, Hannibal pushed network television to the limits. Beginning as more of a traditional police procedural, and then evolving into a sort of cat and mouse chase, this series follows psychiatrist and all around savant Hannibal Lecter as he assists Will Graham and the FBI in solving disturbing murders. As the truth of Hannibal’s cannibalistic habits come to knowledge, the actions of the characters of the show becomes wholly unpredictable. A shame the show ended after only three seasons. Writer of the novels, Thomas Harris, is notoriusly difficult to contact; however, in an interview with TimeOut, series creator Bryan Fuller said that Harris thoroughly enjoyed the series.
Hannibal is streaming on Peacock.
Tales from the Crypt
1989-1996 Created by Steven Dodd and William Gaines
One of HBO’s most iconic programs, Tales from the Crypt is an anthology series wherein each episode contains a unique story, akin to The Twilight Zone. Hosted by the Cryptkeeper, each episode features a frightening, though often humorous and campy story. Highlights from the series would be The Man Who Was Death, What’s Cookin’, and Death of a Salesman, just to name a few. As an HBO series that began in the 1980’s, Tales from the Crypt is especially notable as it featured very graphic imagery and language seldom seen or heard on TV (cable or network) during the show’s inception. Stars have included Brad Pitt, Joe Pesci, Tim Curry, Iggy Pop, Martin Sheen, and Tom Hanks along with a huge list of other A-Listers.
Sadly, due to licensing issues, Tales from the Crypt is not available on HBO streaming service Max. Luckily for us, the entire series is available to watch on Youtube.
American Horror Story: Asylum
Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk
By far the most varied season of the anthology series, this tells the story of the inhabitants of Briarcliff Manor, a fictional asylum in Massachusetts that holds a variety of terrifying characters. An evil Nazi scientist, a demonic nun, and an Ed Geene inspired serial killer are just a few of the evils lurking within the walls of Briarcliff. Featuring a stacked cast, a great overarching story, and sublime set design, this is among the best seasons of the show, and is an easily bingeable season of television for viewers this Halloween.
American Horror Story: Asylum is streaming on Hulu.
The Haunting of Hill House
2018 Created by Mike Flanagan
Following the death of their little sister, three estranged siblings and their father must reconcile to discover the secret of Hill House, a haunted manor that the family was fixing up over 30 years ago. The scares in this series are both in your face and also hidden. It’s a fun game trying to find the hidden ghosts in the background of shots on the mansion grounds, but it also makes one’s skin crawl when you’re able to spot one. Featuring touching themes of grief and addiction, this series is just as likely to make you tear up as it is to make you jump out of your seat.
The Haunting of Hill House is streaming on Netflix.
Ash vs Evil Dead
2015-2018 Created by Sam Raimi
Ash Williams is back 30 years after the events of Army of Darkness and is still taking on the Deadites. Armed with his iconic shotgun and chainsaw, Ash is joined by friends Ray and Dana as he attempts to finally stop the Deadites once and for all. A gorey, humorous, over the top ride laden with fan service, this critically acclaimed show didn’t quite match the glowing reviews with a large enough audience; as a result it was canceled after only three seasons. Though star Bruce Campbell has said he’s done playing Ash Williams, recent statements have shown him to be willing to once again pick up the shotgun; still, be sure to watch this series to see what may be the last of Ash Williams’ screen time just to be safe.
Ash vs Evil Dead is streaming on Hulu.
2005-2020 Created by McGee
The longest running series on this list, Supernatural follows the story of Sam and Dean Winchester, brothers that spend their time hunting ghosts, demons and monsters all across the country. Funny, spooky and action packed, the series’ 15 years on air offers plenty to satisfy audiences, though I would say that the first couple of seasons are the most appropriate for the Halloween festivities, as the show is a sort of police procedural with monsters instead of criminals. Though it later follows a more focused story, there are stand alone episodes, for example a Scooby Doo special where the brothers join the Mystery Inc. gang to help solve a case (and yes, it’s animated), that showcase the series’ creativity.
Supernatural is streaming on Netflix.
2021 Created by Mike Flanagan
Another Mike Flanagan Netflix creation, while this series may start a bit quietly, the slow burn is worth the chilling atmosphere and epic finale. Set in the small fictional Massachusetts island town of Crockett Island, this isolated community is slowly revealed to be in the clutches of an ancient monstrosity. I won’t spoil the reveal of the identity of the creature, but it is an amazing and beautiful original story clearly crafted with love. Exploring themes of identity, aging, acceptance, faith and forgiveness, this series is as heartwarming as it is terrifying, and is easily one of the best horror shows created.
Midnight Mass is streaming on Netflix.
The Twilight Zone
The Haunting of Bly Manor
Prepare for a Frightening Month
Now that you have a slew of choices, from Hannibal Lecter’s oven to Ash Williams’ chainsaw, for what TV you’re going to watch this Halloween, don’t put down your remote just yet. For movie scares, check out our guide for How to Watch the Conjuring Universe in Order.
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