From the sexy vampires of True Blood and The Vampire Diaries to zombies (The Walking Dead), werewolves (Teen Wolf), and haunted houses (American Horror Story), TV is all about the dark side lately. But, while each of these shows features elements of the supernatural, they’re not all actually scary. In fact, over the years, horror — which generally lends itself best to film — has taken a back seat to comedy, drama, and even sci-fi to become one of television’s most neglected genres. Since it can be hard to give yourself a good scare on the small screen, in anticipation of Halloween, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite frightening TV shows of all time. If you’re looking for some seasonal viewing, many of these series are available to stream on Netflix or Hulu, and some are even free to watch on YouTube. Tell us what we missed in the comments.
American Horror Story
People, have you tuned in to FX’s American Horror Story yet? If not, don’t worry — it premiered October 5th, so you’re only a few episodes behind. The story follows Ben (Dylan McDermott) and Vivien (Connie Britton), a couple that moves across the country to Los Angeles, to mend their broken marriage in a beautiful house once owned by a famous Hollywood doctor that happens to have an especially gory past. Other characters include Ben and Vivien’s decidedly dark and self-harming teenage daughter, Violet (Taissa Farmiga); creepy housekeeper Moira (Frances Conroy); and Constance, an unbalanced neighbor straight out of Tennessee Williams (a superbly cast Jessica Lange). Despite its stellar cast, American Horror Story, co-created by Glee‘s Ryan Murphy, is campy to the core — leather bondage suits, naughty servants, and gratuitous Dylan McDermott nudity all figure prominently in the pilot. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t also occasionally terrifying.