It’s that time of the year again. It’s time for costumes, gore, fear and of course, candy. Halloween isn’t too far away, which means it’s time to get scared. TV horror has always been a popular genre. Going all the way back to the early days of television. Some shows are able to strike fear and cause intense panic in their audience. At the same time, they’re able to develop characters and plot. Some shows lean towards more of a science fiction type of horror, while recent shows have been an all out bloodbath. Especially during the early part of the fall television schedule. The start of the new season usually is around the scariest, most terrifying time of the year, Halloween. Luckily, it’s followed up by the sweetest and warmest time of the year. Here is a look at 10 of the scariest television shows of all time.
10) Hannibal April 4, 2013 – Present
Hannibal follows F.B.I. agent Will Graham, who begins to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, after the stress of a case begins to weigh on him. Graham is unaware that Dr. Lecter is a deranged serial killer as well. The series is based on the novel, The Red Dragon and airs on NBC. Hannibal Lecter is a very well known character appearing in several movies, most notably The Silence of The Lambs. The series has been critically acclaimed and the cast has received widespread praise.
9) Masters of Horror October 28, 2005 – February 2, 2007
Masters of Horror was a horror anthology series that aired on Showtime. The series was created by Mark Garris and was born out of a series of dinners he organized. The dinners were attended by the biggest and most influential filmmakers in horror. Each episode was a self contained story and had some of the biggest names in horror directing. The directors included John Landis, Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter and more. Despite doing very well, the series was not renewed for a third season. Mark Garris had a similar series that aired on NBC, Fear Itself.
8) Buffy The Vampire Slayer March 10, 1997 – May 20, 2003
Buffy The Vampire Slayer revolved around Buffy Summers, Sarah Michelle Gellar, who is a vampire slayer. She would battle against vampires and other evil demons, aided by her best friends. The series is considered to be one of the best shows. The show was created by Joss Whedon and aired on the WB Network. The show was often praised for its acting, directing and its writing. The series is highly influential and was notable for being one of the first shows to have a strong female lead. The show was massively successful and was both a critical and commercial success. The success of the series led to an equally as terrifying spin-off, Angel.
7) Tales From The Crypt June 10, 1989 – July 19, 1996
Tales From The Crypt was a horror anthology series that aired on HBO. It was very well received by critics and remains popular amongst its fans. The series had a lot of creative freedom because it aired on a premium channel. The show was able to have graphic violence, gore, nudity and profanity, at a time when it was not common on TV. The series was based on the EC Comics from the 50’s.
6) Alfred Hitchcock Presents October 2, 1955 – May 10, 1965
Alfred Hitchcock Presents was an anthology series that aired on CBS and then on NBC. The series was created and hosted by one of the greatest directors of all time, Alfred Hitchcock. By the time of the show, Hitchcock had been directing for three decades. He was known for the many great mysteries and thrillers he directed. However, many consider the 1960 iconic horror classic, Psycho, to be one of his best films. The groundbreaking and influential series would feature science fiction, thrillers, drama and horror. The series was a tremendous success and won an Emmy for its third season. The series is considered by many TV critics as one of the greatest shows of all time.
5) The X-Files September 10, 1993 – May 19, 2002
The X-Files was the longest running science fiction show in the U.S. The groundbreaking and immensely popular series was created by Chris Carter. The show aired on the FOX network. The series followed two F.B.I. Agents, the believer Fox Mulder, David Duchovny and the skeptic Dana Scully, Gillian Anderson, as they investigated cases involving the paranormal. The series had an over arching storyline but also had stand alone episodes, known as monsters of the week. At first, the series was considered a cult hit but soon turned into a cultural phenomenon. The series won multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Awards.
4) Are You Afraid Of The Dark? October 31, 1990 – April 20, 1996
Are You Afraid Of The Dark? was a horror anthology series that aired in Canada on YTV and United States on NICKELODEON. The series revolved around a group of friends, The Midnight Society, that would meet in the woods and tell scary stories. The horrifying and terrifying story itself would then be shown to the audience. A different story would be told each week. The series was immensely popular and was both a critical and commercial success.
3) The Walking Dead October 31, 2010 – Present
Zombies all over the world cringe when they hear, AMC’s The Walking Dead. The plot follows a group of survivors living in a post-apocalyptic world full of flesh-eating zombies. The show is based on the comic book of the same name. The show features graphic violence, extreme gore, terrifying and heart stopping moments. The show brings in big ratings for the network and is set to start its fifth season. The series is critically and commercially acclaimed.
2) The Twilight Zone October 2, 1959 – June 19, 1964
The Twilight Zone was a science fiction/horror anthology series that aired on CBS during the 50’s and 60’s. The series is considered by many to be groundbreaking and highly influential. The show was created by Rod Serling, who had a desire to comment on controversial topics of the time, such as politics, war, sexism and racism. However, he felt handcuffed by the executives at the networks. He was able to change that with The Twilight Zone, as he combined dealing with taboo subjects with science fiction and horror. Each episode was a self contained story with a beginning, middle and end. The series was also notable for its twist endings. Also, the series was known for its high scare factor. Rod Serling won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Writing twice, in 1960 and 1961.
1) American Horror Story October 5, 2011 – Present
American Horror Story is one of the scariest and most popular horror series of all time. The critically and commercially acclaimed anthology series airs on FX. The show is unique in that each season is considered a self contained mini series with a conclusion to each story. The cast remains the same for the most part, but they play completely different characters. The first season, subtitled Murder House, revolved around a family living in an haunted house. The universally praised second season, Asylum, followed Nuns running an insane asylum for criminals in the 60’s. The third season, Coven, was about a group of witches living in 2013. The upcoming fourth season, Freak Show, will be about the lives of performers in a circus in the 50’s. The series is created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, who also created Glee. The series features intense violence, brutal scenes and of course, scary and terrifying moments. The cast has been praised for their performance, specifically Jessica Lange, who received both the Emmy Award and Golden Globe for her performances.