American Horror Story
In a list of TV horror, we were always going to encounter American Horror Story. While everyone and their mother has their favourite season of AHS, the appeal of the show is the way it changes its premise each season to explore different genres of horror. If ghost stories are your thing, I would recommend starting with the first season, Murder House, where a family moves into a new and creepy home, only to discover the dark and supernatural secrets of its inhabitants. If witches and magic are more up your alley, the third season, Coven might be worth a Halloween re-watch. No matter the season though, you’re guaranteed some shocks.
Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror might not be a conventional choice for Halloween horror viewing, but it really delivers on the kind of psychological horror that will keep you up at night questioning humanity. Often set in twisted alternate realities, Black Mirror succeeds in its horror by showing us aspects of life that we recognize, which only makes it more creepy. In addition to the psychological horror, it also dabbles with the typical jumpscares that we love to hate. An episode like ‘Playtest’ for example, follows an American man testing out the latest in virtual reality horror games, taking his deepest fears and bringing them out into the open.
Bates Motel is a series that doesn’t drop you straight into a confrontation with a chainsaw wielding maniac. What it does do however, is engross you in a horrifying dynamic between a mother and her son. Created as an origin story to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Bates Motel shows a teenage Norman Bates and his mother as they attempt to run their new motel. However, things descend quickly into a mess of manipulation, murder, and a surplus of psychological violence. The suspense of watching the dysfunctional dynamic between Norman and his mother is enough to set anyone on edge.
Stephen King reigns the king of horror, pumping out classics like The Shining and It. While many of the films based off his novels are extremely popular, a series such as The Mist is often overlooked, and wrongly so. The show centers on a group of characters that have taken refuge in a supermarket after an inexplicable mist descended upon their town, hiding in it an assortment of deadly monsters. The Mist provides tense moments of character interaction, interspacing it with moments of heart pounding horror when the characters venture outside.
When the mist brings out dark secrets, the characters are forced to confront their worst fears whilst simultaneously dodging gory deaths at the hands of the creatures in the mist.
Penny Dreadful is homage to the popular supernatural tales of the Victorian era, and explores the origins of iconic villains we know so well, such as Dracula, Van Helsing and Frankenstein. Set in 1812, the city of London is being plagued by a shadowy assortment of demons and creatures. An explorer, a clairvoyant and a marksman come together to investigate these monsters, and the series builds its horror by bringing you in to the darkest corners of the city. By using the gothic origins of the characters, Penny Dreadful brings out the scariest elements of the supernatural to leave you wondering what might be stirring in the dark corners of your room.