Six Horror TV Shows To Watch When You Can't Make It To The Cinema

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The weekend isn’t truly complete until you’ve binge-watched at least one season of a good TV show.

So, to enable a sufficient viewing experience, most of the TV shows in this list have concluded their run – so you can watch the entire series in one sitting, if you’d like.

And, seeing as October is finally here, we’ve chosen the most underrated TV shows in the horror genre, to ensure that you can all get into the Halloween spirit easily enough.

Happy screaming, guys.

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Penny Dreadful (2014 – 2016)

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Where do we begin with this gloriously gory show? First, you should know that it truly isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes classic literary characters like Dr. Frankenstein and Dorian Gray, and explores their origin tales in the smoky depths of Victorian London. The series ran for three seasons, and ended in 2016. It starred Eva Green, Josh Hartnett and Timothy Dalton. As well as Billie Piper, Rory Kinnear, Reeve Carney and Harry Treadaway.

To give you a bit of insight into the blood-curdling events of season one, an explorer enlists the help of a clairvoyant named Vanessa Ives (who sometimes gets possessed by Lucifer himself) to help search for his daughter (who he suspects has been abducted by a group of demonic vampires). An American gunslinger joins the search party, alongside Dr. Frankenstein and things get pretty ugly from then onwards.

Oh, and just a little warning – there happens to be a lot of graphic sex in this series too.

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The series is executive produced by Sam Mendes, who won an Oscar for his directorial work on American Beauty (1999). 

American Horror Story (2011 – present)

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American Horror Story hasn’t finished its run, but it totally deserves a spot on this list because it’s an anthology series. Every season serves as an individual story, which means they’re not connected to each other.

For example, season one focused on a family moving into a haunted house, whilst season two focused on a haunted mental asylum. Season three focused on a witch coven based in New Orleans, season four focused on a travelling circus and a murdering clown , season five focused on a haunted hotel (no-one really knows what season six was about) and the currently airing season seven focuses on Donald Trump and some more murdering clowns.

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It would take too long for us to describe how twisted this show can get, so why not give it a watch on Netflix and see for yourself?

Bates Motel (2013 – 2017)

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Bates Motel ended its run this year and we’re definitely sad to see it go. Starring Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore, this show serves us up the slick, psychologically warped origin tale of Norman Bates, a murderous character from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 60’s horror flick, Psycho.

In the film, Norman Bates murders a woman staying in his motel, but the twist is that he actually has a psychological disorder where he sometimes thinks he’s possessed by an evil version of his mother, whom he really, really loves (even though he totally killed her).

The mother and son relationship explored between Norma and Norman in this show often tinkers that oh-so-uncomfortable line of incest, and Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore display that relationship with an effortless chemistry. We won’t deny that there are few full-on kisses in there, but for every kiss, there are like five hundred bloody murders – so the balance is kind of upheld.

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Also, in the final season, Rihanna stars as the woman who Norman eventually kills in the movie, and she’s definitely memorable in that iconic shower scene. Oh, and did we mention that you can watch it on Netflix? Because you totally can.

Hemlock Grove (2013 – 2015)

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For those of you still reeling from Bill Skarsgard’s performance as Pennywise in IT, why not check him out in the Netflix show that originally solidified him as a horror villain? In this creepy teen show, Bill plays the character of Roman Godfrey, a young and rich high school student whose character bears a bit too much semblance to that of Sebastian’s in Cruel Intentions.

Whilst he comes off as your run-of-the-mill entitled teen, there’s a dark, supernatural secret that actually lurks behind closed doors, and Roman happens to be right at the centre of it.

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Trust us – Bill won’t need a clown costume to scare you in this show, and once again, you can totally binge this whole series on Netflix, as it finished its run after three seasons.

True Blood (2008 – 2014)

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Another Skarsgard pops up in this series, but this time it’s Bill’s older brother – Alexander Skarsgard – who some of you might recognize from The Legend of Tarzan. Before he started swinging from trees and rubbing foreheads with Jane, however, Alexander actually played a vampire on the HBO series True Blood, where he earned himself the title of absolute dreamboat (#TeamEric). 

The series focuses on a mind-reading waitress named Sookie, who gets involved with an ancient vampire named Bill. They fall in love and drink each other’s blood for a while, until another vampire named Eric comes along and develops a crush on Sookie too. The series does feature a steamy love triangle, but what’s more present is the theme of violence. The show definitely does not hold back when it comes to scenes of brutal death, and when the vampires step into the light – well, it really isn’t pretty.

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Witches, fairies, warlocks and wizards also come into play, but they’re all not as innocent as those childhood tales would have us believe. The series finished it’s run in 2014, after seven gripping seasons.

Fringe (2008 – 2013)

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Fringe is a show that straddles the line of great horror and even greater science fiction. It stars Anna Torv as Olivia, an FBI agent who is assigned to the Fringe division – a team that deals with all the unexplained and bizarre crimes that no-one else can take on.

To help Olivia in solving these mysterious crimes are Dr. Walter Bishop, a once-institutionalized genius scientist, his mysterious son, Peter, and a Junior FBI Agent named Astrid Farnsworth. This show explores everything from the space-time continuum to spontaneous combustion and gory, flesh-eating diseases; and trust us when we say that every episode will leave you on the edge of your seat. It also has a tiny bit of romance, if you’re in need of some.

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It ran for five seasons and ended in 2013, but if, like us, you still miss Anna Torv, why not check her out in the upcoming Netflix show, MINDHUNTER? In the series, she’ll still be playing an FBI agent, but this time, she’ll be dealing with serial killers instead. 

Let us know what you think in the comments!

Images via FOX / HBO / Netflix / Showtime / Giphy / YouTube

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