It’s the season of the witch… and the vampire… and the demon… and the inappropriate sexy nurse, and, fortunately, there’s an endless supply of bloody binge-worthy TV to keep you terrorized through the whole month. Instead of offering only returning shows, we’ve gathered a short list of horror options to give yourself a good fright before Halloween night.
Why you should watch it: Nobody does family dysfunction like the Bates family. Starting at season one, watch Norman grow into the creepy serial killer everyone knows and loves. Norma has her own problems, and Farmiga’s portrayal of the tormented mom garnered the actress an Emmy nomination. The series returns with season five in 2017.
Commitment: About 28 hours
What it is: Adapted from the comic-book series, this post-apocalyptic horror-drama follows survivors searching for a safe haven while being picked off by zombies.
Why you should watch it: Season seven premieres Oct. 23 and features a storyline every one of your friends will be talking about for months. Time to catch up! The highly rated series from creator Frank Darabont features a revolving ensemble cast, led by a solid core group of survivors, including — for the time being anyway — Andrew Lincoln, Chandler Riggs, Melissa McBride, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, and Danai Gurira.
Commitment: About 56 hours
What it is: Another ensemble horror confection, this Showtime series brought to life some of literature’s most fearsome characters, including Dr. Frankenstein and his monster, figures from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dorian Gray, and more.
Why you should watch it: The series’ successful equation of smart writing, stylish production artistry, and a stellar cast recommends it. Eva Green appears as witchy Vanessa Ives, Timothy Dalton is Sir Malcolm Murray (obsessed with the fate of his dear, disappeared daughter Mina — famously drained by Dracula), and Josh Hartnett plays American gunslinger and werewolf Ethan Chandler. The trio lead a motley fraternity battling evil from without and within.
Commitment: About 25 hours
What it is: Stepping out of DC Comics’ Hellblazer series, John Constantine takes his damnation in stride, battling the minions of hell where needed.
Why you should watch it: With creators Daniel Cerone (Dexter) and David S. Goyer (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) spinning this TV tale of Dark Arts, high wit, and (mostly) bad behavior, Constantine should have scored a second season. Star Matt Ryan did have a second coming as John Constantine, however, showing up in the fourth season of DC Universe’s Arrow on The CW.
Commitment: About 10 hours
What it is: Criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) assists the FBI in apprehending serial killers, but as the job begins to eat away at his mental health, he starts meeting with therapist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), a cannibal who murders rude people and serves them at fancy dinner parties.
Why you should watch it: There really isn’t anything quite like Hannibal; a crime procedural and a psychological thriller, filled with horror and just the right dash of romance and comedy. Fannibals were murderous over its untimely end after just three seasons, so here’s a chance to feast on a true cult favorite.
Commitment: Just over 27 hours for your dining pleasure.
What it is: Black comedy meets slasher flick in this anthology series that begins with a rash of murders at a college sorority.
Why you should watch it: Ryan Murphy. Murphy has brilliantly blended everything campy and sunny about Glee with the best dark and gory elements of American Horror Story. The result: a smart, hilarious, scream-inducing mash-up of comedy and horror. Creators Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan may have bested their original creation with this over-the-top, witty, and sometimes gross send-up of 1990s slasher flicks. And if that doesn’t seal the deal, just look at the amazing cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Lea Michelle, Abigail Breslin, and, in its second season, John Stamos. Season two, set in a hospital, is now airing on Fox.
Commitment: 9.5 hrs
What it is: After dispatching Deadites for a couple movies, Ash (Bruce Campbell) is facing his toughest task yet: adjusting to the real world. Fortunately, this distinguished knucklehead has once more unleashed Hell’s denizens through the Necronomicon and promptly (after a few beers) revs up the chainsaw and boomstick to do what he does best.
Why you should watch it: Campbell and Sam Raimi are working together to give you the real Evil Dead deal. Gore? Slapstick? Questionable narrative devices? This Starz show has it all, even if Ash’s two sidekicks take a second to get used to, though watching them frequently get showered in practical blood effects help. The story rights to Army of Darkness were not available (because it’s not Evil Dead without some convoluted licensing issue), but that’s all changed for season two, which debuted Oct. 2, so bring on the pillow talk, baby!
Commitment: About 5 hours
What it is: A disturbed man, Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), attempts to find the deep-seated source of the demonic possessions plaguing his life and spreading through his small town.
Why you should watch it: Based on the comic of the same name by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta, Outcast is a horror delight that proves tremble-some even for fans of the genre. With critical acclaim and Certified Fresh status, the show immediately immerses viewers in grotesque paranormal happenings with handsome cinematography, boss narratives, tight performances, and characters both kooky and relatable. You don’t need to know the source material or character history to enjoy this glorious raid on the senses.
Commitment: 10 hours
What it is: Dark deeds and demons abound in the story of a possessed man of God questing for answers in this adaptation of the popular Garth Ennis–Steve Dillon comic-book series.
Why you should watch it: While not horror in the traditional sense, the supernatural storyline and gore — so much gore — put it squarely in the squirm zone. Plus there’s a vampire. If you haven’t watched Preacher yet, season one awaits you. The series stars Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger) as the titular preacher, Jesse Custer. Ruth Negga (World War Z) is his badass ex-girlfriend Tulip. And Joseph Gilgun (This Is England) appears as Irish vampire Cassidy. Jackie Earle Haley is psychotic meat-processing villain Odin Quincannon.
Commitment: About 7 hours