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The 100 Best Horror TV Series of All Time

With season 1 of Netflix’s newest horror offering Chilling Adventures of Sabrina burning up the Tomatometer — currently 96% on 27 reviews — we thought we’d make a list to see how she measures up against the best horror TV of all time. Our ranking includes the Friday release’s Netflix brethren The Haunting of Hill House, which is Certified Fresh at 92% (with 63 reviews of season 1) and lands at No. 9 on our list of 100 binge-worthy horror shows.

But choosing the best ever horror TV show can make your eyes twitch and head spin until you take a chainsaw to your computer — debating whether Lucifer belongs in the horror genre or is more of a crime procedural finally put us over the edge.

For one, horror bleeds into so many other genres; it sometimes dabbles in star-crossed romance like in HBO’s True Blood and conjures the dark humor of Starz’s Ash vs. Evil Dead. It even takes a stab at social commentary through the FX anthology American Horror Story. And, for a genre that so often portrays death and carnage, it has an amazing ability to endure – even if shows like CBS classic The Twilight Zone don’t make today’s audiences kick over their TV-dinner trays as much as it did their parents and grandparents. Horror even brings cultures together, as evidenced by Netflix’s popular German sci-fi thriller Dark, Indian series Ghoul, and director Lars von Trier’s Danish mini-series Riget (The Kingdom). These and many more shows are on this list.

You may wonder why we slashed others: The blue-eyed Night King and his ilk are certainly terrifying on HBO’s Game of Thrones, but with those dragons and Red priestesses, “best horror TV show”? Not exactly. GoT falls more into the fantasy category. The Magicians, Dead Like Me, and Lost Girl met the same fate. Similarly, Black Mirror falls under sci-fi; in fact, it turns up as No. 9 on our list of the “100 Best Sci-Fi TV Shows of All Time.” True-crime documentaries and dramas — like Netflix’s Making a Murderer or its serial killer drama Mindhunter — are left off this list even if the acts depicted there are more terrifying than anything we might see on AMC’s zombie series The Walking Dead (which, of course, is included).

To rank the scary TV shows in this monster list, we took the critics’ Tomatometer score (where available) into consideration, plus the rankings of a number of reputable “best of” lists, and then applied some editorial discretion, asking ourselves which horror TV series have stood the test of time, inspired spin-offs and copycats, and even made their influence known on the big screen. We also had a look at your own audience scores on each of the series.

Read on to find out if Lucifer made the cut.

Disagree about our exclusion of The Magicians? Or did we miss another title you think should be included? Rip us apart in the comments section.

Slasher (2016)

Synopsis: Sarah Bennett's parents were murdered by a killer known as "The Executioner" 30 years ago. Now, she returns to the... [More]

Z Nation (2014)

Synopsis: Several years since a zombie virus swept across America, there's only one person -- who goes by just Murphy --... [More]

Millennium (1996)

Synopsis: Former FBI agent Frank Black tries to stem the tide of violent crime through psychological means. He joins the mysterious... [More]

The Hunger (1997)

Synopsis: How desires and wishes can lead to the dark side of existence.... [More]

Superstition (2017)

Synopsis: The Hastings family owns the only funeral home in the mysterious town of La Rochelle, Ga., which is known for... [More]
Directed By: Laurence Andries

Synopsis: Stories of terror.... [More]

Synopsis: Micki Foster is the lucky niece who inherits an antique store from her Uncle Lewis. But this is no ordinary... [More]

Bitten (2014)

Synopsis: Elena Michaels is a loner in a world she never wanted to be part of. The only female werewolf in... [More]

American Gothic (1995)

Synopsis: Everything is not what it seems in Trinity, South Carolina. Sheriff Lucas Buck develops a sinister interest in Caleb. Caleb's... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert

Salem (2014)

Synopsis: As the wife of an ailing but very wealthy town selectman, Mary Sibley holds the distinction of being the most... [More]



Eerie, Indiana (1991)

Synopsis: Poor little Marshall Teller. First, his parents uproot him from his home in New Jersey. Then they move the whole... [More]

The River (2012)

Synopsis: Six months after wildlife expert and TV personality Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) disappears while searching for magic deep in the... [More]

Dead of Summer (2016)

Synopsis: Summertime in the Midwest means another season at summer camp for teens, which usually promises the campers and counselors such... [More]

The Dead Zone (2002)

Synopsis: Following a car crash that leaves him in a coma for six years, Johnny Smith awakens to find that he... [More]
Directed By: Lloyd Segan

Ghosted (2017)

Synopsis: Former missing persons detective Leroy Wright is a skeptic who doesn't believe aliens exist, unlike true believer Max Jennifer, who... [More]

The Mist: Season 1 (2017)

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The Mist's absorbing atmosphere and solid special effects struggle to overcome a generally uninspired story and performances.
Directed By: Christian Torpe

Brimstone (1998)

Synopsis: Ezekiel Stone is a detective who kills in cold blood the man who raped his wife. After Stone gets killed... [More]

BrainDead (2016)

Synopsis: Laurel knows the U.S. governmental system has its issues, but when she starts her first job on Capitol Hill, she... [More]

Synopsis: Bank robber Seth Gecko and his violent brother, Richie, are on the run -- a robbery gone bad left several... [More]

Harper's Island (2009)

Synopsis: Seven years after a series of murders claimed the lives of her mother and five others, Abby Mills returns to... [More]

Scream (2015)

Synopsis: MTV teams with super-producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein on a TV series adaptation of the hit horror film franchise. Instigated... [More]

Death Valley (2011)

Synopsis: Maintaining law and order is the mandate of the UTF, but this isn't exactly Benson and Stabler working the streets... [More]

Midnight, Texas (2017)

Synopsis: Based on Charlaine Harris' book series by the same name, "Midnight, Texas" follows the lives of the strange inhabitants of... [More]

Into the Dark (2019)

Synopsis: Horror events inspired by holidays.... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Koehne

Charmed (2018)

Synopsis: Mel and Maggie Vera suffer a shock when their mother dies suddenly, but before they have time to heal from... [More]

The Returned (2015)

Synopsis: From executive producers Carlton Cuse ("Lost," "Bates Motel") and Raelle Tucker ("True Blood"), "The Returned" is set in a small... [More]

Wolf Creek (2016)

Synopsis: An American family's Australian vacation takes a tragic turn when sadistic serial killer Mick Taylor targets the tourists. College student... [More]
Directed By: Greg McLean




Synopsis: ... [More]

Lore (2017)

Synopsis: Writer Aaron Mahnke launched his podcast "Lore" in 2015 and it has gained critical acclaim in the time since, including... [More]
Starring: Aaron Mahnke

Blood Drive (2017)

Synopsis: It's the near future in Los Angeles, and climate change keeps temperatures soaring, and water is as scarce as oil.... [More]

Synopsis: A four-part miniseries tells the horror story of King's "The Stand." A supervirus that leaked from a lab kills most... [More]

Synopsis: Colin Morgan plays the lead in this drama series as Nathan Appleby, a Victorian psychologist, while Charlotte Spencer stars as... [More]
Directed By: Alice Troughton

Van Helsing (2016)

Synopsis: In this reimagining of the classic Dracula story, the world is dominated by vampires, requiring humans to work together to... [More]

Constantine (2014)

Synopsis: Demon hunter and master of the occult John Constantine figured there was no longer any point in fighting the good... [More]

Synopsis: ... [More]

Ghoul (2018)

Synopsis: When a new prisoner arrives at a military detention center exhibiting eerie behavior, young interrogator Nida Rahim searches for the... [More]

Helix (2014)

Synopsis: Drs. Alan Farragut and Julia Walker -- scientists who used to be married and, at one time, worked for the... [More]

Lucifer (2016)

Synopsis: Based on characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg, this series follows Lucifer, the original fallen angel,... [More]
Directed By: Nathan Hope

The Originals (2013)

Synopsis: Klaus, the original vampire/werewolf hybrid, returns to New Orleans -- which his family helped build -- to investigate rumors of... [More]

Outcast (2016)

Synopsis: Created and co-executive produced by Robert Kirkman ("The Walking Dead"), the drama series "Outcast" stars Patrick Fugit ("Gone Girl") as... [More]

Teen Wolf (2011)

Synopsis: The high-school anonymity Scott McCall was trying to break free from couldn't have happened in a more mysterious, complicated way.... [More]

Tru Calling (2003)

Synopsis: When Tru Davies starts working at the city morgue, she learns that she can go back in time for one... [More]

Synopsis: ... [More]

The Twilight Zone (2002)

Synopsis: Award-winning actor and director Forest Whitaker hosts this version, which features two self-contained stories per episode. Each story stars well-known... [More]
Starring: Forest Whitaker

Synopsis: ... [More]

Synopsis: Adaptations of short stories written by author Stephen King.... [More]
Directed By: Bill Haber

Crazyhead (2016)

Synopsis: A twentysomething woman who can see demons joins a hunter on a quest to end the demon threat.... [More]
Directed By: Al Mackay, Johnny Capps

Beyond the Walls (2016)

Synopsis: Lisa inherits a house from a mystery man but finds it's full of ghosts and creatures from her past.... [More]
Directed By: Hervé Hadmar

Dead Set (2008)

Synopsis: Inspired, says creator Charlie Brooker, by the classic horror film "Dawn of the Dead," this five-episode series chronicles a nightmare... [More]

Synopsis: This spooky anthology series for kids recounts ghost stories told by the young members of the Midnight Society as they... [More]

Charmed (1998)

Synopsis: A group of sisters discover they are witches. Luckily for the world, they're of the good variety. Banding together in... [More]


Salem's Lot (1979)

Adjusted Score: 89069%
Critics Consensus: Director Tobe Hooper and a devilishly charismatic James Mason elevate this television adaptation of the Stephen King novel, injecting the vampiric tradition with fresh blood and lingering scares.
Synopsis: Based on the Stephen King novel, Ben Mears (David Soul) has returned to his hometown of Salem's Lot to write... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

Wynonna Earp (2016)

Synopsis: Wynonna Earp has been away from her hometown, Purgatory, for years but returns to reluctantly take on the role that... [More]

The Kingdom (2021)

Synopsis: After his running mate's murder, a controversial televangelist becomes Argentina's presidential candidate.... [More]

Being Human (2011)

Synopsis: "Being Human," based on a BBC series of the same name, features three 20-something roommates who each try to keep... [More]

Scream Queens (2015)

Synopsis: Comedy, horror and mystery come together in this modern take on a classic whodunit.... [More]

Santa Clarita Diet (2017)

Synopsis: Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant star in this Netflix-original series as married realtors, Sheila and Joel, who are living a... [More]

Dark (2017)

Synopsis: When two children go missing in a small German town, its sinful past is exposed along with the double lives... [More]
Directed By: Baran bo Odar

Sleepy Hollow (2013)

Synopsis: When Ichabod Crane wakes up 250 years in the future, he must solve a mystery dating back to the founding... [More]

Synopsis: Children's TV is usually wholesome entertainment that can be enjoyed by the whole family, but child psychologist Mike Painter thinks... [More]
Directed By: Nick Antosca, Max Landis

Synopsis: In the tradition of the 1960s cult show of the same name, this anthology series features different actors, many well-known... [More]
Starring: Kevin Conway

Synopsis: A sign of the apocalypse has begun. Reports of a rapidly changing world for unknown reasons underscore this gritty drama,... [More]

Room 104 (2017)

Synopsis: Fascinated by what really happens at that corporate chain hotel near the airport -- from the funny and weird to... [More]

The Vampire Diaries (2009)

Synopsis: This supernatural drama, based on the series of novels by L.J. Smith, details the lives of two brothers, Damon and... [More]

In the Flesh (2013)

Synopsis: This drama centers on teenage zombie Kieren Walker, who returns home after his death in 2009 to a less-than-warm welcome.... [More]
Directed By: Jonny Campbell

Masters of Horror (2005)

Synopsis: Hourlong horror films from famous directors are showcased in this anthology series, with works by Dario Argento, John Carpenter, Larry... [More]

Grimm (2011)

Synopsis: Portland detective Nick Burkhardt, descended from a long line of warriors known as Grimms, defends his city from magical creatures... [More]

The Exorcist (2016)

Synopsis: Angela Rance believes something is very wrong in her home. Plagued by increasingly frightening nightmares, she isn't the only one... [More]

Castle Rock (2018)

Synopsis: The psychological-horror series set in the Stephen King multiverse combines the mythological scale and intimate character storytelling of his works,... [More]

Angel (1999)

Synopsis: Leaving his true love, Buffy, behind in Sunnydale, the vampire Angel tries to get a fresh start in Los Angeles.... [More]

The Returned (2012)

Synopsis: In a small Alpine village, a group of men, women and children is in a state of confusion as they... [More]

Dark Shadows (1966)

Synopsis: A vampire returns to his family mansion in Collinsport, Maine.... [More]

Synopsis: A "Twilight Zone" type of show, this horror anthology series, produced by noted horror filmmaker George A. Romero, explores the... [More]
Starring: Paul Sparer

Night Gallery (1970)

Synopsis: A collection of short supernatural plays.... [More]
Starring: Rod Serling

Synopsis: Star-studded sinister and amusing stories, each with a twist in the tale.... [More]

The Terror (2018)

Synopsis: A series of bizarre deaths haunt a Japanese American community during World War II while Chester Nakayama and his friends... [More]

Dexter (2006)

Synopsis: Dexter Morgan is a Miami-based blood splatter expert who doesn't just solve murders; he commits them too. In fact, he's... [More]

The Outer Limits (1963)

Synopsis: "There is nothing wrong with your television set." That famous line opens each episode of the classic science fiction anthology... [More]

Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)

Synopsis: Ash is baaaack! Bruce Campbell reprises his "Evil Dead" film role as heroic, chainsaw-handed monster fighter Ash Williams, now an... [More]

iZombie (2015)

Synopsis: When over-achieving medical resident Liv Moore attends a party that turns into a zombie feeding frenzy, she ends up joining... [More]

Preacher (2016)

Synopsis: Fulfilling a promise to his deceased father, one-time outlaw Jesse Custer returns home to West Texas to take over his... [More]

Bates Motel (2013)

Synopsis: After the death of her husband, Norma Bates buys a motel in the picturesque coastal town of White Pine Bay,... [More]

Synopsis: Newspaper reporter uncovers supernatural causes in his investigations.... [More]

Synopsis: The familiar "plink, plink" of the theme song, accompanied by the line drawing of a man in profile immediately identifies... [More]
Starring: Alfred Hitchcock
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

The Strain (2014)

Synopsis: Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the CDC's New York-based Canary Project, is called upon to investigate when an airplane... [More]

Synopsis: This adaptation of the "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" tale is a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror and the... [More]

Synopsis: Based on the EC Comics series of the same name, this campy and stylized anthology series recounts a string of... [More]

Penny Dreadful (2014)

Synopsis: Many people are familiar with classic literary characters like Dr. Frankenstein and Dorian Gray. "Penny Dreadful" brings those and other... [More]
Directed By: John Logan, Sam Mendes

True Blood (2008)

Synopsis: Small-town Louisiana waitress Sookie Stackhouse already is viewed as an oddball by her friends and neighbors, since she can read... [More]
Directed By: Alan Ball

Synopsis: This modern reimagining of the Shirley Jackson novel follows siblings who, as children, grew up in what would go on... [More]

Synopsis: Sarah Michelle Gellar takes on the role of Buffy Summers in this TV version of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," based... [More]

Hannibal (2013)

Synopsis: Gifted criminal profiler Will Graham has a unique way of thinking that allows him to empathize with anyone, including psychopaths.... [More]

Twin Peaks (1990)

Synopsis: A crime drama mixed with healthy doses of the surreal, this series is about FBI Agent Dale Cooper, who travels... [More]

Supernatural (2005)

Synopsis: This haunting series follows the thrilling yet terrifying journeys of Sam and Dean Winchester, two brothers who face an increasingly... [More]

The Twilight Zone (1959)

Synopsis: "The Twilight Zone" was the brainchild of Emmy Award-winner Rod Serling, who served as host and wrote over 80 episodes... [More]
Starring: Rod Serling

The Walking Dead (2010)

Synopsis: Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, this gritty drama portrays life in the months and years... [More]

Stranger Things (2016)

Synopsis: The disappearance of a boy in Hawkins, Ind., is just the beginning of strange paranormal happenings in the small Midwestern... [More]

Synopsis: "American Horror Story" was created by the co-creators of "Glee," but the shows have little in common besides that. The... [More]

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina launches Friday, October 26 on Netflix. 

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