25 best horror TV shows ever
American Horror Story (2011)
A recent entry, this, but it’s a cracker. Ryan Murphy – creator of Glee, but never mind that – has remembered everything we used to love in genre TV and put it all into one haunted house of horrors. A prestige cast includes Jessica Lange and Zachary Quinto and Dylan McDermott. Add a few nods to The Shining (creepy twins, predatory old ladies) and mix the whole into a nicely horrible stew. What more could you want? Happy Hallowe’en!
The Walking Dead (2010)
Officer Rick Grimes is shot on duty – when he wakes from a coma, he discovers that the world is overrun by zombies. Is he the last man on Earth? Are his wife and son out there somewhere? Will he find them? This TV zombie spectacular is based on a best-selling comic book by Robert Kirkman, adapted by Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption), The Walking Dead showcases Greg Nicotero’s feature film-quality zombie makeup, and every episode guarantees at least one full-on undead rampage.
True Blood (2008)
Alan Ball (creator of the blacker-than-black undertaking saga Six Feet Under) tapped a sultry Cajun vibe to produce the most sexually-charged TV horror series ever, based on Charlaine Harris’ novels. The development of a blood substitute means that vampires can live alongside humans – albeit uneasily. When waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who can read minds, falls in love with vampire Bill Compton, she learns the truth about the vampires and their code. Ian Somerhalder auditioned for the role of Jason Stackhouse – he didn’t get it, Ryan Kwantan did – but Somerhalder was cast in Vampire Diaries instead.
Baby-faced Michael C Hall (another veteran of Six Feet Under) stars as Dexter, a forensic scientist who specialises in blood-spatter patterns. He is also a serial killer, but a jolly decent one – he only kills people he knows are guilty and who have escaped justice. C’mon, who wouldn’t like to do that? Mixing black comedy and stomach-churning Silence of the Lambs type horror, the show is now in its seventh season. 3rd Rock From The Sun’s John Lithgow was a standout guest star as the Trinity Killer.
The X-Files (1993)
This became the great watch-it-with-the-lights-off treat of the 1990s – a genuine crossover success, not just for geeks, everyone was watching it. FBI agents Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) fought mutants, monsters and assorted weirdos while investigating a vast conspiracy involving extra-terrestrials and shadowy government types. Series creator Chris Carter grew up on The Twilight Zone and Kolchak, and paid loving tribute with some iconic scares including humanoid leeches, cannibal rednecks, living shadows and creepy dolls.