Even though it's slightly weird, everyone loves to scare themselves with a good horror film or TV show. That feeling of nervousness rising in our stomachs as we watch characters in precarious and dangerous situations is addictive and, more often than not, we find ourselves coming back for more. With so much content on screens, it's hard to say exactly what might be the best horror TV show of all time, but below I've compiled an eclectic list of horror TV shows from various decades that might just fit the bill.
Take a look at these six TV shows (plus one totally bizarre bonus) that might just make up six of the best horror TV shows of all time:
1. Tales From the Crypt
How many seasons? 7
Original run: 1989–1996
Where can I watch it? Sadly HBO has not made Tales From the Crypt available on HBO Go, but you can buy all 93 episodes on DVD.
Due to being an HBO series, Tales From the Crypt was a rare gem that was allowed total freedom from censorship. Through the series' seven-season run it included graphic violence, strong language, nudity and sexual scenes that would certainly have been censored on other networks.
Tales From the Crypt might not have always been the most terrifying show, but it (and its emaciated Crypt Keeper) is certainly beloved.
2. American Horror Story
How many seasons? 5 with Season 6 to come later in 2016
Original run: 2011–
Where can I watch it? FX or Hulu
As seems to be the trend with many horror shows, American Horror Story is an anthology series with a new theme every season, however it reuses many of the same actors. What makes AHS even more intriguing is that creator Ryan Murphy has assured fans that the seasons are all connected in some way. Let's face it, who doesn't love the idea of an extended horror universe?
American Horror Story began back in 2011 with Murder House, which has since been followed by Asylum, Coven, Freak Show and Hotel. A sixth season has been ordered, with the premiere expected in October 2016. Details on the upcoming season are thin on the ground, though last August Murphy told EW that the new season would be "very, very different," also adding that it would be "more rogue and more dark."
3. Riget/The Kingdom
How many seasons? 2
Original run: 1994–1997
Where can I watch it? Riget is available for purchase on Amazon
The Kingdom, or Riget as it is known in its native Denmark, is an eight-episode mini-series created by Antichrist director Lars von Trier.
Riget is set in the neurosurgical ward of Copenhagen's Rigshospitalet, the country's main hospital, which is nicknamed "Riget." The series follows multiple characters, including both staff and patients of the hospital as they encounter all sorts of human and supernatural phenomena.
Though the show had just two seasons, a third was planned. However plans were put on hold after the death of one of the actors in the series, Ernst-Hugo Järegård, in 1998. Since it's original release, Riget has been edited into a five-hour film for distribution in English-speaking countries.
4. The Twilight Zone
How many seasons? 5 (or 9 including the first and second revivals)
Original run: 1959–1964 (first revival 1985–1989, second revival 2002–2003)
Where can I watch it? Netflix
The absolute grandfather of horror TV series, The Twilight Zone has been terrifying audiences since it first debuted back in 1959.
The Twilight Zone was created by Rod Serling and followed the anthology format that has since been used by many other horror series (see: almost everything on this list). The episodes featured in The Twilight Zone varied in genre from fantasy to sci-fi to straight-up horror, and they often ended with an unexpected reveal.
The Twilight Zone was such a successful series that not only did it spawn two revival series in the '80s and '00s, but also a feature-length film, a radio series, video and board games, comic books, magazines and much more!
How many seasons? 1
Original run: 2013
Where can I watch it? Netflix
Darknet may have lasted just six episodes, but it's a show that'll stay with you for long after the credits have rolled. The anthology series, which was adapted from the Japanese series Torihada, follows interwoven stories of various characters as they face horrific circumstances (like being axed in the head, as the video below shows!). However the series is made even more relevant for 21st-Century viewers due to the fact that the characters are all linked by a website called Darknet, a forum which allows users to post questions and answers on all types of grim subjects.
6. Masters of Horror
How many seasons? 2
Original run: 2005–2007
Where can I watch it? Hulu
Despite this series only lasted two seasons, it is very fondly remembered by many horror fans due to the huge names involved.
Masters of Horror was an anthology series where many famous horror directors including John Carpenter (Halloween), Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and Dario Argento (Suspiria) each directed one or two standalone episodes. When the series debuted in 2005 it was very well received, with critics praising the format. Over its 26-episode run, Masters of Horror covered serial killers, vampires, post-apocalyptic worlds, ghost clowns and much, much more.
Take a look at the trailer for John Carpenter's "Cigarette Burns," (in which a man searches for the last surviving print of a rare film that allegedly drove the only audience that ever viewed it into a fit of homicidal frenzy) starring The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus below:
Honorable mention: Friday The 13th: The Series
How many seasons? 3
Original run: 1987–1990
Where can I watch it? Amazon Prime Instant Video
Yes that'd right, forget the films, because there was once a Friday the 13th TV series! I'm not about to add the series to our list of possible best TV horror shows, but I am willing to include it as a rather funny bonus.
Friday the 13th: The Series ran for three years and 72 episodes, which is rather impressive, but what is possibly more impressive (read: baffling) is that the series didn't actually include Jason Voorhees — or any of the Friday the 13th film characters! Instead Friday the 13th: The Series focused on a storekeeper with a shop of cursed, strange, dangerous objects. Weird, right?