Top 20 of the best horror series, those that are very scary

Thanks to the success of certain series considered safe bets by the channels today, horror has rebuilt a cozy and comfortable little nest on the television, to the delight of thrill-seekers. If freaking out in front of a small screen in the dark is your thing, here are some essential series to explore the genre in soap opera format. (I say serial because I am actually 76 years old).

1. Tales from the Crypt

We have never done better and I doubt we will ever do better. Tales from the Crypt, it’s 7 seasons of unique little stories, one per episode, told by the guardian of the crypt, a decrepit old skeleton who loves puns. It was a lot of gore, a lot of jokes, incredible guest stars and a little ending moral that proved that karma always catches up with us. All those who have discovered it in the Anguish Thursdays from M6 have a small traumatic memory of an episode which prevented them from sleeping.

2. The Twilight Zone

Broadcast in the United States between 1959 and 1964, this series is starting to look a little dated. Nevertheless, here again, with one story per episode, we were treated to quite a few more or less disturbing tales, always with this little morality that reminds you that whatever you do, you always get your ass bitten by the destiny before the credits. Even today, there is a chance that you will find themes that particularly affect you and that haunt you after dark. There have also been a bunch of remakes including two seasons in 2020/2021 launched by Jordan Peele.

3. X Files

Children of the 90s fondly remember some traumatic episodes of X Files who made their lives (and nights) a bit difficult. In their investigations, Mulder and Scully often found themselves confronting creatures steeped in evil intentions. The episode “Home”, about the inbred-mutant family of the Peacocks, so traumatized the American public that it took years before being re-aired on TV. And even today, it remains painful to look at other than through his duvet.

4. The Haunting of Hill House

Netflix‘s brilliance on this horror series has marked many of its viewers. Where we could be suspicious, The Haunting of Hill House really surprised, and for the better. There is even an episode (Two Storms) which has become a new benchmark in terms of series direction with an episode made up of several sequence shots that follow one another. We clearly recommend this work in a single season which is really worth it if you want to scare yourself, there are a few scenes that freak out and above all the story is very cool.

5. Midnight Sermons

Created by Mike Flanagan to whom we also owe Haunting of Hill House, this mini-series manages to place enough mysteries to keep the viewer angsty while setting up a captivating storyline, if a bit slow at times. The inhabitants of an isolated island, a new priest, masses at night… With a beautiful image, good actors and scary stuff (like full of dead cats) it’s a good pick.

6. The Walking Dead

This is the series that brought horror back to TV and offered some good stressful moments with zombies. Except that after that it started to become nonsense, but like really nonsense. Too bad when you see that the special effects were of high quality and that there was a really cool basic scenario. So we advise you to read Walking Dead rather than watch it, because it’s really cooler.

7. The Midnight Club

Another series from Mike Flanagan who definitely likes horror (and above all does it well), The Midnight club tells the story of a gang of terminally ill young people who meet every night at midnight to tell scary stories. It would be pretty basic if the hospice they’re in wasn’t a half-haunted mansion a cult once lived in. Be careful, the series has so many jumpscares that it becomes boring, but apart from that it’s promising as a first season.

8. American Horror Story

The advantage of American Horror Story is that each season changes story, era, characters and atmosphere. So, if you don’t like a season, chances are you’ll find your happiness in the next one. If everyone remains fairly unanimous on the first two seasons, Murder House and Asylum, it starts to dilute a little when we talk about Coven, Freakshow or Hotel. Depending on what works best for you, you’re sure to find your happiness in one or two seasons – and since they’re all very fast-paced and full of subplots, it’s like a gigantic buffet for everyone to pick from.

9. The Terror

The story of the crew of a boat (baptized “The terror”) who find themselves blocked by the ice while trying to cross a strait at the North Pole and who must face the lack of food, general hysteria, to the cold, to internal tensions but also to an unhappy creature taken from old Inuit legends. Here is the topo of the first season of The Terrorwhich borrows from other works such as The Thingso it’s clearly not bad.

10.Channel Zero

Quite unknown in France, the anthology series is partly inspired by urban internet legends also called CreepyPasta and is divided into four seasons with very different stories. The series has pretty cool reviews but not having watched it I can’t recommend it at all so don’t hesitate to say if it’s worth it in the comments.

11. Masters of Horror

Another anthology series that had good and less good (as well as a lot of “very average”), Masters of Horror gave carte blanche to several masters of horror that fans of the genre have revered for decades. From John Carpenter to Joe Dante via Don Coscarelli, John Landis, Tobe Hooper or even Dario Argento, each great director has signed a 50-minute episode, offering us a little weekly horror shot. An adventure which lasted only two seasons and which did not keep all its promises, but there is still something to peck at according to everyone’s sensibilities.

12. Alfred Hitchcock Presents

On the same model as Tales from the Crypt and The Twilight Zone (and a few years before them), the great master Alfred Hitchcock also had his little anthology series and presented a new story every week. Of the 268 episodes, he also directed 18 himself – and the Hitchcock label being what it is, there were obviously plenty of good things to take, which still work very well today. And since he signed the intros and conclusions of each episode as an amateur presenter of dark humor, it’s really worth the detour.

13. Penny Dreadful

Eva Green, Josh Hartnett (the guy who starred in romance movies when I was in college), Victorian England sets, creepy critters and scary music: it’s Penny Dreadful. Yeah I’ll be honest, I have no knowledge of this series so I can’t tell you about it at all, but it seems that it’s nice even if it’s not the thing that will freak you out the most in the world .

14. The Strain

Created by Guillermo Del Toro who knows a little about horror and scary stuff, The Strain shows us people trying to survive a strange epidemic that turns everyone into vampires, or rather strigois, critters from Romanian folklore that are a bit freaky. To see if you like the genre, it’s adapted from a series of novels that had done well so it must not be very bad.

15. True Blood

Admittedly, the series quickly went into a tailspin and failed to keep its promises in the long term, but it brought a new vision of vampires and other werewolves which turned out to be quite refreshing (and then it tickled our hormones, it must be admitted). This version of a world in which creatures of all kinds live more or less freely among humans and all the socio-political-moral conflicts that entails was quite a mouthful and always gave us pretty bloodbaths.

16. Supernatural

So yes, in the end Supernatural became a bit of a mess. If the fans of the first hour continued to follow the Winchester brothers in their fight against the forces of evil, we must admit that it was better before. And for a CW series with two handsome twinks in the lead roles, the show still had a few creepy episodes in its early seasons – the kind that make you want to turn on the lights, just a little bit, while you check that everything is fine. Between demons, vampires, wendigos, ghosts and all the creatures they may have encountered in their investigations, Sam and Dean Winchester have put together a nice hunting board that remains effective, especially if you have an easy start.

17. The Haunting of Bly Manor

It’s not at all a continuation of The Haunting of Hill House but it is indeed once again a work of Mike Flanagan. It tells the story of a woman who arrives to work in a house of big rich people and take care of kids but things quickly take a rather scary turn. If you’ve never seen the movie “The Innocents” (1961) it might be worth it, for others the series is inspired by the same novel but the movie was still better. Not everything is to be thrown away, but it’s not at the level of Hill House.

18.Room 104

The particularity of this series is that each episode is independent of the others (although) but takes place in the same hotel room, the famous room 104. We see lots of characters spending a night in the room at different times and necessarily the play becomes the main character of the series. Everything is not equal but there are really good ideas.

19. Black Mirror

If Black Mirror is not a horror series strictly speaking and plays more the card of anticipation and dystopia, it is nonetheless terrifying. Each episode imagines what could very well happen in our world in a few years, taking a relatively pessimistic angle, especially regarding new technologies. And the fact that these stories seem completely believable and possible to us makes it all very disturbing and very worrying. It’s a series that’s best not watched when you’re feeling down, because it’s so dark it could very well make you want to go cry for three hours in your shower (and calling your parents sobbing).

20. The cabinet of curiosities

This mini-series where each episode is independent and whose project manager is Guillermo Del Toro should please you if you like disturbing universes, nice little short stories and well-filmed dark images. What’s cool is that each episode is directed by a director of horror films who have made cool films like Mr Babadook, mandy or Splice. A kind of tales from the crypt on form, but with less dark humor.

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