Friday, October 12, 2012

Countdown to Halloween Day 12 - 10 Favorite Horror TV Series

While scouring lists of horror TV shows to compile the following, I became aware that there's quite a few shows out there that I've never seen; so, please feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments about other horror shows I should check out.

10. Dead Last -- This unfortunately short-lived WB series from 2001 -- they only aired 8 of the 13 episodes filmed -- followed the members of a band who found themselves cursed to see dead people.  Despite their best efforts, the trio of slackers would inevitably get sucked into helping restless spirits move on to the other side, usually in comedic ways.  Definitely the least horrific of this top 10, but I loved the show so much in its brief run, I felt the need to give it a shout out.

9. Kolchak: The Night Stalker -- I only have vague memories of watching this in my childhood, but I remember being sufficiently creeped out by this mid-70s series about a reporter who keeps stumbling onto supernatural stories. 

8. Tales From the Darkside -- I'll admit that my favorite episode of this anthology series was the not-so-horror-themed "Fear of Floating," but there were still plenty of fun horror stories along its four season run. Plus, the opening credits always freaked me out as a kid; for something so minimalist, the creepy music and voiceover really struck a chord in me

7. American Gothic -- For years, the only thing I knew about this show was what I recalled from its advertisements:  a young girl with a Southern accent rocking back and forth chanting "Someone's at the door, someone's at the door" while some unseen force assaulted her home. Even though I never caught an episode during its initial run, that ad stuck in my head, and I would frequently quote it.  This past year, I finally watched the whole series on Hulu, and was pleasently surprised to find out that the chanting girl was none other than Sarah Paulson, one of my favorite actresses. As for the series itself, while it was a bit uneven over its single season in terms of character development, the show's focus on the battle between a vengeful spirit and the evil sheriff who killed her (great character actor Gary Cole) over the soul of a young boy (a very young Lucas Black) lead to some well-done horror-themed episodes.

6. Masters of Horror -- This horror anthology series which aired on Showtime spotlighted a different well-known horror director each episode.  Because there was such a wide variety of creators working on it, it was a bit hit or miss, but when it hit, it was some danged scary stuff.

5. Vampire Diaries -- I recently talked about my marathon viewing of the first 3 seasons of this fearless series over at my Reviews of Doom page, but to sum up:  crazy plot twists and a sense that nobody's safe helps this series rise above its high school vampire romance roots. 

4. Friday the 13th: The Series -- For the uninitiated, no, this series was not about the weekly misadventures of Jason Voorhees; indeed, outside of sharing a producer, there was no connection between this show and the film series.  Instead, the series followed two cousins who discover that the antique shop they inherited from their uncle was filled with cursed objects, but only after they sell off all the stock, which forces them to track all of the deadly items down.  I was a big fan of the show as a kid; I'm kind of sad it's not available on Netflix.

3. Supernatural -- Although this series about a couple of monster-hunting brothers has probably gone on a couple of seasons too long, for the bulk of its run it managed to deftly meld horror and humor in a way that has earned it a passionate fan base.  And speaking passionate fan bases

1/2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Angel -- the shows that started the Cult of Whedon.  While probably best known for their habit of subverting genre conventions and mangling the English language in the incredibly entertaining/annoying (people's mileage on that varies) way that only Joss Whedon characters can, both of these series still managed to serve up the scary and the creepy on a regular basis.

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