Happy Halloween 2017! I’ve decided to rank the greatest horror television series of all time, all the way from The Twilight Zone to The Walking Dead. Check out my top 10 picks right here!
#10. Tales From The Darkside
1983 – 1988 (4 Seasons. 90 Episodes)
George A. Romero, rest in peace, was not only the greatest horror director of our time, but he also helped create one of the most famous horror TV series ever and the first significant anthology series since The Twilight Zone. Various episodes adapted material from masters of the genre like Stephen King, Clive Barker and Michael McDowell. Although I’m particularly fond of the 1990 feature-length film, there are some real creepy gems sprinkled throughout the Tales From The Darkside series, particularly the one with the monster in the closet… That one always scared the shit out of me and I still remember seeing it as a youngling.
#9. True Blood
2008 – 2014 (7 Seasons. 80 Episodes)
Alan Ball’s television adaptation of Charlaine Harris‘s novels may have struggled to maintain some sense of sanity as the show aged, but that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t one helluva fun ride. I personally preferred the series when not every single character had some sort of weird monster power, but the show was still an entertaining, darkly comedic and twist-filled horror romp that never shied away from some gorey mayhem. There will never be another TV vampire as cool and enigmatic as Alexander Skarsgård‘s Eric. Ever.
#8. American Horror Story
2011 – Present (7 Seasons, 81 Episodes & counting)
When American Horror Story wrapped its debut season, I sat there flabbergasted, jaw to the floor, blown away and downright baffled at how the show would go on after the chaotic debut SERIES delivered its weirdo finale. Turns out – they didn’t plan to continue that story. AHS was a sleeper anthology series in disguise and every subsequent series/season was to be a stand-alone tale of terror from the twisted mind of Ryan Murphy. My personal favourite season is Freak Show, because Twisty The Clown has to be one of the most monstrous and amazing TV monsters ever concocted. John Carroll Lynch doesn’t say much, but those damn eyes… The show has had it’s ups and downs, but it’s always worth a look if you’re into some boundary-pushing crazy shit.
#7. The Strain
2014 – 2017 (4 Seasons, 46 Episodes)
Adapted from the trilogy of novels by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, The Strain turned the vampire genre upside down by introducing a scientific plague element to the mythology. After the virus infects New York City, the world eventually starts to experience an apocalypse like we haven’t seen before on television, and that includes The Walking Dead. These aren’t your daddy’s vampires – these ones blast bloodsucking tentacles out of their faces and they look downright terrifying. There may never be another cooler vampire slayer than Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley), a holocaust survivor who is hunting the monsters and kicking ass all the way into his 80’s.
#6. Stranger Things
2016 – Present (2 Seasons, 17 Episodes and counting)
The Duffer brothers changed the game when they dropped Stranger Things on our heads last year.. A retro throwback to movies like The Goonies and Stephen King flicks, this Netflix series integrates alternate dimensions, monsters, dungeons and dragons and most importantly of all – a cast of children who rival most adult performers right now. Stranger Things is a genuine masterpiece and one of Netflix’ strongest original series — if not their absolute best.
#5. The Twilight Zone
1959 – 1964 (5 Seasons, 156 Episodes)
Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone changed the game forever. Not only was it groundbreaking television for its time in the late 50’s, but the episodes still hold up today. *Note – Not counting the two revival series here. ‘Time Enough at Last’ and ‘To Serve Man’ are some of the most masterful works of all time, including both TV and film. Even by the series’ end, episodes like ‘Nightmare at 20,000 feet’ were still shocking audiences around the world. Would someone just listen to William Shatner already? There’s REALLY SOMETHING ON THE WING!!
#4. The X-Files
1993 – 2016 (10 Seasons, 208 Episodes)
There will never be a better intro to a TV series than the X-Files. That music… Every single person on the planet knows the X-Files music and for good reason, it signalled that there would be some messed up scary shit about to hit your TV set. Chris Carter’s science fiction series about a pair of investigators (a sceptic – Gillian Anderson and a believer of the paranormal – David Duchovny) isn’t just one of the most frightening shows ever made, but it paved the way for edgier television in the early 90’s. There were some episodes of The X-Files that genuinely pushed significant boundaries in terms of violence and just downright disturbing content.. The second episode of season 4, titled ‘Home’ is hands down the scariest horror hillbilly romp since the original Hills Have Eyes.
#3. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
1997 – 2003 (7 Seasons, 144 Episodes)
Before he was helping to pave the way for amazing superhero collaboration blockbusters, Joss Whedon was the creator of a little TV series called Buffy The Vampire Slayer, aka the most 90’s show of all time. Also — one of the coolest. If the X-Files has the most iconic TV intro, then Buffy has the most bad-ass. Sarah Michelle Gellar may have been the titular star of the series, but this show featured an ensemble cast of lovable characters, the likes of which has not been replicated since the show concluded 14 years ago. Yes there was a monster-of-the-week, yes there was an ample amount of teen angst soap opera drama, but there was also some amazing writing. Buffy was killing likeable characters years before ratings phenoms like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones and the show still holds up to this day. (if you can handle all that 90’s… and I love me some 90’s).
#2. The Walking Dead
2010 – Present (8 seasons, 100 Episodes and counting)
Adapted from the comic that made me love comics again as an adult, Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s The Walking Dead was destined to become one of the best television shows of our time. Zombies. Post-apocalyptic dread. The Atlanta countryside. Norman Reedus. There isn’t much to dislike when it comes to AMC’s game-changing horror series about Rick Grimes and his quest to survive in a world overrun by the undead and plagued by other humans who are keen on making life hell for his family. The comic’s most iconic line is when Rick tells his group that “We are the Walking Dead” and we all finally realise that the dead cannibal monsters roaming the planet aren’t the world’s most dangerous threat. I love this show, I love the comic and I’ll continue to support the franchise that helped re-ignite my childhood love of comic books.
#1. Tales From The Crypt
1989 – 1996 (7 seasons, 93 Episodes)
The horror anthology series that paved the way for original and edgy HBO programming is also the best horror TV show of all time. Tales From The Crypt has it all… Iconic theme music from Danny Elfman, a host that slays the rest in John Kassir’s legendary Cryptkeeper (deadly puns and all) and an insanely stacked catalogue of memorable episodes that adapted the 1950’s comic series of the same name (also including The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror, Crime SuspenStories, Shock SuspenStories, and Two-Fisted Tales). The episodes featured nudity, graphic violence, cursing and all kinds of shit that I definitely should not have been seeing as a young kid… I still remember staying up till 2 AM to record episodes on VHS. I happily own all seven seasons now and I love rewatching my favourites, including ‘The Man Who Was Death’ (William Sadler is the ultimate badass), ‘Cutting Cards’, ‘Split Personality and ‘People Who Live in Brass Hearses’ (featuring the brilliant Bill Paxton). Tales From The Crypt was THE first R-Rated champion of horror television. Kassir’s ghoulish laugh will never leave my brain for as long as I live. If you’ve never seen it but consider yourself a horror connoisseur – you’re lying to yourself.