From brilliant cannibals to reality TV zombies to terrifying anime, here are some recent creepy television series to get you in the horror mood.
As the nights creep in and the leaves turn golden, crackling under our big ol’ winter boots, it’s the perfect time to binge watch some seriously scary shows. Luckily, we’ve looked back over the last decade and selected 15 of our favorite horror-drenched offerings for you to enjoy this spooky season.
From saucy vampire-on-werewolf action to delectable cannibal romance through reality TV zombies and anime chillers, we’ve got something for everyone in our radical round-up of the best horror TV shows of the last 10 years. Read on for the full list…
Bryan Fuller’s beautiful black comedy series reimagined the iconic roster of characters from Thomas Harris’ classic series of novels and, of course, the Oscar-winning Silence of the Lambs. Mads Mikkelsen gives a career-best performance as the charming, delectable, and deadly Hannibal Lecter, who terrorizes the local branch of the FBI whilst also working alongside them, wining and dining them with extravagant meals made out of his latest victims. It’s one of the most haunting, stylish, and devilishly romantic horror shows of all time. R.I.P Hannibal, you were gone too soon.
American Horror Story
One of the most popular horror series of all-time, American Horror Story is still going strong in its eighth season. Expanding on the anthology format which has been so popular in the horror genre from The Twilight Zone to Creepshow to Tales From the Darkside, AHS has a story for every horror head whether you want to explore an erotic haunted house, join a modern coven, or harass your neighbor about who they voted for. Genuinely scary, surprisingly gory, and always served with a good dollop of self-aware humor, American Horror Story is a contemporary genre classic.
This French offering is one of the creepier and more affecting picks on our list, transporting viewers to a small alpine town which was torn apart by the deaths of a coachload of school kids and their teachers. Several years later, members of the community who were killed in that traffic accident start returning alongside other long dead people, none of whom seem to realize that they’ve been dearly departed for a while. Chilling, moving, and decidedly original, this supernatural mystery is an underrated gem.
A decade ago this saucy, sensual, and completely over-the-top series debuted on HBO and changed the face of prestige television forever. A supernatural mashup of the channel’s previous high end shows like The Sopranos and their late night “adult” originals, True Blood was like nothing we’d seen before. Set in a world where the existence of vampires has been revealed, this sociopolitical horror dramedy had an inclusive cast, a whole bunch of sex, and — as the seasons went on — pretty much every supernatural creature you can imagine.
It was always going to be hard to follow up one of the most iconic horror films of all time on the small screen, and though this slasher series isn’t perfect it’s a surprisingly entertaining and engaging reinvention of the genre. The young cast is endlessly re-watchable and the creation of a new mythos and — most importantly, a new mask — makes the show feel fresh rather than a rehash of the classic film quadrilogy. Just like its namesake, Scream has a lot of fun looking at and subverting the rules of horror, whether in film, television, or, in a new addition — excitingly for the sequential storytelling fans amongst us — in comics.
You’ve probably never heard of this fun, frenetic, and bleak British satire by Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker. Filmed on the actual set of the UK version of Big Brother, this meta zombie miniseries blurred the lines between reality and scripted TV and is a whole bundle of fun. It follows a group of housemates embarking on a new season of the classic reality show as the world outside is falling apart due to an unexpected outbreak of the dead coming back to life. If you’re a fan of gore, ghouls, and sarcastic humor, then you’ll love this early stage Brooker offering from which you can easily draw a line to his Emmy winning sci-fi show that would follow.
Junji Ito Collection
One of the most famous mangaka of all-time, Junji Ito is nothing less than a horror master and his terrifying comics have been scaring readers for 30 years. In 2018, an anime series based on some of the artist’s most iconic stories was released and it’s absolutely fantastic. Atmospheric, chilling, and true to the work of Ito, these scary shorts are a perfect introduction to one of the best minds in the genre. From a family of puppets to giant balloons in the shape of the faces of the people they’re haunting all the way through a blood-curdling beauty, Junji Ito Collection has it all.
If you loved Stranger Things but thought it could have leaned a little — or a lot — more into horror, then Dark is for you. Set in the small German village of Winden where a spate of children have gone missing, this pitch black mystery straddles the lines between horror, crime, and science fiction. Grim and gripping, Dark entices viewers as we slowly learn that — of course — the disappearances are actually part of a much larger conspiracy, one which links three generations and multiple families from Winden. A relatively new addition to our list, we’re pretty sure Dark will be a solid cult classic by the time the second season drops in 2019.
Based on the technicolor comics scripted by Chris Roberson with art by Mike and Laura Allred, this fresh take on zombie lore sees a young medical resident get bitten by a member of the undead and have to reassess her entire life and career. Joining the local morgue, she has to come to terms with her hunger for brains. Liv’s new lifestyle (deathstyle?) also gives her strange powers that allow her to experience parts of the deceased person’s life when she eats some juicy cerebral matter. That leads to her teaming up with her boss Ravi in this hilarious horror-tinged subversion of the crime procedural genre.
Ever dreamed of a show about two tough women trying to survive their twenties whilst also kicking a whole lot of demon butt? Well, then this awesome and horribly ignored English series is a dream come true. Susan Wokoma and Cara Theobold star in the cheeky, dirty, and surprisingly violent show from the creator of the equally brilliant Misfits. Sadly, this spectacular show was cancelled after just one season, but you can still catch it streaming. If you have a Buffy-shaped hole in your life, then this will (over)fill it and leave you desperate for more.
A primetime TV show based on one of the most critically acclaimed horror films of all time has no right to be as enjoyable, effective, and creepy as Bates Motel, but this Psycho prequel delivers. Expanding on both the novel and the film, the series delivers chills and thrills as well as actually creating interesting character arcs for both Norman and his mother. Vera Farmiga is a standout here, all tortured emotions and dangerously protective love. Really, Vera is an underrated horror icon and a gift that none of us deserve.
In the Flesh
What would life be like after a zombie apocalypse? In the Flesh’s vision of a post-apocalyptic future is an inventive, original, and moving one. Eschewing the desolate and destroyed big cities the genre usually focuses on, instead we focus on a small Lancashire village and the recovering population of zombies known as “rotters” who, due to scientific advances and forced rehabilitation, are being reintroduced into the general population. An allegorical tale for our times, In the Flesh is a great example of the way genre projects can tell huge and vital stories.
The second excellent anthology show on our list is Channel Zero, with each season telling a different story based on a popular creepypasta. The first season caught horror fans’ attention by adapting Candle Cove. For those who don’t know, the modern internet folktale is centered around an enigmatic and horrifying kids TV show that can only be seen by a select group of children. But it really hit its stride with later entries that elevated the catchy premise by adapting the stories and also exploring mental health, relationships, family, and — of course — fear.
There’s nothing quite like AMC’s historical horror show that debuted earlier this year and was based on the 2007 novel of the same name which fictionalized the real story of the polar exploratory vessels HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. Playing on the primal fear of the unknown and the wilderness, The Terror is an explosively tense and terrifying — no pun intended — series focused on the crews of ships who must survive the brutal weather, a supernatural menace, and as time creeps on… each other.
And Then There Were None
Agatha Christie is known for her cute mysteries, often set in small pastoral villages and solved by sassy old ladies. But this 2016 adaptation of her classic novel is a cold and creepy limited series filled with a shockingly good cast and some unexpectedly brutal deaths. A story filled with secrets, shame, and murder, And Then There Were None is easily the most horrific of the Christie adaptations, as well as a stone cold thriller that will leave you guessing until the last moment. Even if you already know who the killer is, it’s atmospheric and ominous enough that you’ll still be on the edge of your seat.
What recent horror shows are you a fan of? Let’s discuss in the comments!