Top 10 Best Horror TV Shows
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Billy Keeley
Vampires, zombies, and serial killers! Oh, my! Always a cult hit on television; these types of series have really taken a bite out of TV viewers recently. Join http://www.WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 horror TV shows. For this list, we're basing our choices on a mix of a show's critical acclaim, popularity and their ability to terrify as part of the horror genre.
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Script written by Billy Keeley
Top 10 Best Horror TV Shows
Vampires, zombies, and serial killers! Oh, my! Always a cult hit on television; these types of series have really taken a bite out of TV viewers recently. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today, we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 horror TV shows.
For this list, we’re basing our choices on a mix of a show’s critical acclaim, popularity and their ability to terrify as part of the horror genre.
#10: “Bates Motel” (2013-)
If you’ve ever seen Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” you know just how bizarrely evil Norman Bates is. So it’s no surprise that “Bates Motel” is a fascinating slice of television terror. A “Psycho” prequel tracing Norman’s dysfunctional origins and tense relationship with his mother Norma, the series offers an unprecedented glimpse into what causes a killer to tick. As unbelievable as it might sound, the family secrets that emerge here actually make it possible to understand Norman Bates’ warped psyche.
#9: “True Blood” (2008-14)
In this Southern Gothic take on vampires, the fantastic mixes with some rather smoldering romance. The series depicts a world where synthetic blood allows vampires a public lifestyle. Telepathic Louisiana waitress Sookie Stackhouse soon realizes not everything is as clear as it seems, finding herself caught up in bloody vampire feuds and dealing with everything from werewolves to witchcraft. Her supernatural personal life is just as riveting, ensuring viewers stay hooked.
#8: “Hannibal” (2013-)
It can’t get much more revolting than unknowingly working alongside a serial killer. But for FBI Special Investigator Will Graham, it’s a regular occurrence. Paired with psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the two study a plethora of tasteless and brutal killings. Little does Graham know that Lecter is quite the murderous cannibal. A prequel to the Hannibal Lecter films, “Hannibal” is a fascinating study into the roots of evil that’s earned much critical praise since its 2013 premiere.
#7: “The X-Files” (1993-2002)
Remembered by many for its alien mythology, “The X-Files” also packed a fair share of nightmare-inducing horror. Its famed monsters-of-the-week episodes saw FBI agents Mulder and Scully secretly investigating everything from a sewer-dwelling “Flukeman” to a violent, inbreeding family in isolated Pennsylvania. Mixing classic monsters with groundbreaking original storylines, “The X-Files” could inject terror into just about anything. Sure, the truth was out there, but could you bear to face it?
#6: “Tales from the Crypt” (1989-96)
Horror television got a kick in the pants when HBO premiered “Tales from the Crypt.” Based on the classic ‘50s EC Comics series, the show brought a whole new level of graphic scares and dark comedy to the table. Every week offered a clever, twisted tale, often featuring a star actor or director. And even if you didn’t like the episode, you could always count on a killer pun from the ghoulish host, the Crypt Keeper.
#5: “Angel” (1999-2004)
Spun-off from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” this cult classic follows Buffy’s on-and-off love interest, Angel. After spending years living as a brutal and bloodthirsty vampire, he has been given back his human soul. His great remorse and guilt for his past actions lead the title character to embark on a career stamping out evil in Los Angeles. The show’s film noir aesthetics and constant supply of deadly demons makes this one of the genre’s most unique recent entries.
#4: “Supernatural” (2005-)
Urban legends get a modern-day twist in this amped-up CW mainstay. Two brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester, are influenced by their father to hunt supernatural creatures after their mother’s mysterious death. Road tripping across the country in a ’67 Impala, Dean and Sam devote their lives to slaying the world’s most unusual monsters. With some always-quality humor and outrageously nasty baddies inspired by folklore, these two will take you on one seriously entertaining trip to Hell.
#3: “American Horror Story” (2011-)
Today’s pre-eminent horror anthology, “American Horror Story” takes over-the-top dread and conniving characters everywhere. With each season a self-contained story, the show has explored a haunted mansion, mental institution, and witch coven – thus far. But whatever the locale, “American Horror Story” always pushes the limits of taste and sanity, its far-out visuals and shocking twists the things that define nightmares. [As the fourth season comes to a freak show, we can only imagine what will happen next.]
#2: “The Walking Dead” (2010-)
Zombies finally set their sights on the small screen in this critically acclaimed favorite. Based on the comic book series, “The Walking Dead” features Deputy Rick Grimes, who awakes from a coma only to find that the world has been entrenched into a zombie apocalypse. Allying with survivors, Grimes’ group must fend off the constant unpredictable threat of walkers and the deadly schemes of rival survivors. Its harsh study of post-disaster society makes “The Walking Dead” one of the most gripping shows on television today.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:
“Kolchak: The Night Stalker” (1974-75)
“The Outer Limits” (1963-65)
“American Gothic” (1995-96)
#1: “The Twilight Zone” (1959-64)
An absolute trendsetter, “The Twilight Zone” completely reshaped the television landscape. Created by talented writer Rod Serling, each week the program examined a new tale of the horrific, futuristic, or downright bizarre. Its pioneering usage of twist endings can still be seen nearly every week in horror shows today. Numerous major actors got their starts on the show, and its moral messages scared an entire generation straight. Whenever you step foot into the Twilight Zone, you can be guaranteed a compelling, thought-provoking experience unlike any other series in history.
Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite horror TV show? For more informative top 10s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.