That’s a wrap. 2017 brought us some crazy, terrifying, and thrilling television. This year we saw the return of some beloved shows from previous years as well as a few fresh plots to keep us on the edge of our seat. These small-screen hits scared us to the bone, and they’ll likely do the same for you.
These shows horrified us in 2017: Get watching.
The Strain has often strained to hit the heights viewers knew it was capable of. Coming from the imagination of Guillermo del Toro, the show struggled to separate itself from other monster television shows. The first three seasons, beginning in 2014, were, at best, frustrating. This year’s fourth and final season, however? Terrifying and satisfying. After Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, head of the CDC’s New York-based Canary Project, is called to investigate an airplane landing that released a virus, causing an outbreak of vampirism. In the final season, the war’s on to save humanity as we know it.
American Horror Story: Cult
Whether you’re already a fan of this long-running show or you’re new to the fandom, American Horror Story continues to scare us with each new season. Cult is no exception. Deeply distraught by the presidential victory of Donald Trump, Ally’s many phobias are heightened. Equally devastated is Winter, a young liberal who dropped out of college to help the Hillary Clinton campaign. Her unsteady and distrustful brother Kai is thrilled with the election results. Rival political climates are pitted against each other is this fictional town in Michigan. The most terrifying thing about this season, though? Definitely the clowns.
Stranger Things 2
With Stranger Things’s quick rise to fame, it was hard to imagine a second season wouldn’t immediately be in the works. Season 2 was released in October and quickly became our streaming obsession. The new season picks up one year after the conclusion of Season 1 with even more of the mysterious, creepy happenings that made the first season a hit. Even if you were skeptical about the idea of another season of the show, Stranger Things 2 is well worth a watch, especially for the shifting character dynamics, as new characters come together in surprising, funny, and touching ways.
Although the first couple of episodes of The Exorcist were not particularly promising, the show soon became one of our favorite horrors on television. Father Tomas Ortega and Marcus Keane set out from Chicago on the hunt for disruptive evils to uproot and extinguish. Andrew Kim runs a group home for five at-risk foster kids on an island off the coast of Seattle. When Kim discovers that one of his children is being target by a powerful demonic force, Father Ortega and Keane set out west to help banish the demon. Once The Exorcist kicks into gear, it gets truly terrifying. Bonus: The currently airing season features John Cho.
Amazon’s foray into horror duly rewarded fans of the Lore podcast. The six episodes feature popular stories from Aaron Mahnke’s blockbuster podcast, told through reenactments, creepy animation, and more. These true stories of the legends that have held people spellbound for centuries will enthrall and terrify.
The Walking Dead
In its eighth season, The Walking Dead is a veteran in the horror television genre. This sprawling post-apocalyptic series is adapted from the well-known comic book series, written by Robert Kirkman. Season 8 begins as the survivors of the Alexandria Safe-Zone, the Hilltop Colony and the Kingdom take on the Saviors. There’s a war between humans and zombies, and between humans and humans—how much more complicated could it get?
The fifth and final season of Bates Motel aired this year. After the shocking conclusion of last year’s episodes, the final season finally begins to take on the actual Psycho plot, including a surprisingly great cameo from Rihanna as Marion Crane. Over the years, Bates Motel has become an underground obsession, and this season terrified viewers in a whole new way. Obsessive, compulsive and murderous Norman is frightening as ever, Caleb and Romero are seeking revenge, and where “Mother” is we can only guess … but we can’t seem to look away.
Slasher: Guilty Party
Season 1 (The Executioner) of Slasher was, although at times underwhelming, eagerly consumed by horror fans. Both those who enjoyed the first season and those who were unimpressed will be thrilled to hear that Slasher: Guilty Party far outshines its predecessor. Season 2 focuses on the deadly secret a group of former summer camp counselors disposed of long ago (or so they thought). Due to unexpected circumstances, they must retrieve the body of their victim, murdered five years earlier. An in-depth take on famous films like I Know What You Did Last Summer, Slasher will appease any horror fan with a taste for over-the-top blood and guts.
Featured promotional poster for "The Exorcist" via Fox