With the spookiest day of the year almost upon us, you might be looking for some TV shows to put you in the Halloween spirit. If so, this list is for you! From old classics to fresh genre takes, these shows are sure to give you thrills and chills. Here are seven haunting shows to binge this Halloween.
This iconic 90s show about two FBI agents on a quest to discover the truth about aliens, UFOs, and government conspiracies still holds up today. Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) approach their unusual cases from two very different angles; he’s a believer and she’s a tried and true skeptic, but that doesn’t stop them from being one of the best duos in television history. Some episodes of The X-Files are slightly dated and a little bit silly, but others are downright terrifying. Season four’s “Home” was even banned from airing on television for a few years!
The Twilight Zone
Don’t let the fact that this show started in the 1950s fool you: The Twilight Zone is still one of the most emotionally striking sci-fi and horror shows in TV history. This anthology series tells a different creepy story each episode, so you can start and stop wherever you want—but just because each story is only 25 minutes doesn’t mean they don’t pack a punch. Creator and host Rod Serling’s writing was praised for its mastery of suspense, as well as its ability to address social issues that are still very relevant today.
The Haunting series
Over the past few years, Mike Flanagan has emerged as an exciting new voice in horror. His 2018 adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House was a huge hit for Netflix and, despite being a big departure from the book, was praised for how genuinely scary it was. His follow-up series, 2020’s The Haunting of Bly Manor, doubles as horror as well as a heart-wrenching love story. The characters in both series are haunted by ghosts both literal and those of their past.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) might just be one of the most iconic female heroines of all time. By day, she’s a regular high school student but at night, she is the “Slayer”, a young woman chosen by fate to have mystical powers that help them battle vampires and other demonic entities. As she battles the forces of evil, Buffy is helped by her “Scooby Gang” of loyal friends. If the vampires and demons don’t scare you, the larger themes of fate and destiny are sure to bring out some good old-fashioned existential dread.
American Horror Story
Like The Twilight Zone before it, American Horror Story is an anthology series, but it dedicates a whole season to each new story. The 10 seasons and counting of this show deal with a wide variety of subjects, from ghosts to witches to cults to vampires, so you’re almost certain to find one to give you your spooky fix. Although most fans seem to agree that the earlier seasons are the best ones, what keeps people coming back is the incredibly talented group of actors that return almost every season.
Norman Bates made his first terrifying appearance on screen in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror classic Psycho. Bates Motel tells the story of how he went from diminutive momma’s boy to reclusive murderer. The show shifts the setting to the modern day and follows Norman (Freddie Highmore) and his mother Norma (Vera Farmiga) as they purchase the motel and attempt to start a new life following the death of Norman’s father. The show is creepy on its own, but most of the horror comes from the fact that we know that Norman’s descent into madness is inevitable.
The town of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania is haunted by the shadow of the steel mill that, after its closing, destroyed the town’s economy. Today, the town is a mix of the people who got rich off of the biomedical lab that came to town and those who had their lives destroyed when the steel mill closed. The horror of Hemlock Grove certainly comes from the supernatural elements that reveal themselves as the series goes on, but also the terror of how cruel human beings can be to one another.
Feature image: 'The Haunting of Hill House' via Netflix