Sunday, October 30, 2011

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12 TV Shows That Will Scare Your Pants Off
Kyle MacLachlin, Gillian Anderson on 'The X Files,' and Dylan McDermott (Getty Images)

12 TV Shows That Will Scare Your Pants Off The Crypt Keeper (HBO).
In search of something terrifyingly spooky to watch this Halloween? Well then look no further than your TV screen. We've got a round-up of the television shows, both old and new, that will have you looking under your bed for monsters and sleeping with the light on. Check out our list of 12 TV shows that are sure to haunt your nightmares (in no particular order).

1. American Horror Story (2011-Present)

If you missed the Halloween episode of American Horror Story, consider yourself both lucky and unlucky. Lucky because you've avoided the mind-bending nightmares that the rest of us are suffering from, and unlucky because you missed one of the most genuinely creepy episodes of television in recent years. Only four episodes in, American Horror Story has already tackled basement demons, undead maids, a murderer covered in horrific burn scars, Shining-style ghost twins, and much, much more. Also, it's got some majorly disturbing opening credits.

2. The Walking Dead (2010-Present)

AMC's post-apocalyptic zombie fest is hands down the goriest thing on TV right now, and we definitely mean that as a compliment. The Walking Dead delivers scene after scene of cover-your-eyes scares as Sheriff Rick Grimes battles hoards of flesh-eating "Walkers" (sometimes covering himself in human entrails to do it). If you haven't checked it out yet, this Halloween weekend is the perfect time to start — but don't watch it while you're eating.

3. Dark Shadows (1966-1971)

Although it was technically a soap opera, there were no shirtless hunks and breathy beauties on Dark Shadows. But there were plenty of vampires, witches, and werewolves to terrify viewers every weekday. The show was such a cult classic that it's being remade by Tim Burton into a movie starring Helena Bonham Carter, Chloe Moretz, and Eva Green. So who's going to step into the iconic shoes of Barnabus Collins, the tormented vampire that was at the center of Dark Shadows? Johnny Depp, of course. The film version of Dark Shadows comes out on May 11, 2012, but in the meantime you can check out some of the TV show's scariest moment.

4. Twin Peaks (1989-1990)

As twisted and strange as American Horror Story is, so far it can't hold a candle to the utterly disturbing Twin Peaks. The David Lynch drama starred Kyle MacLachlan as an FBI Agent who is sent to the mysterious town of Twin Peaks to answer a very important question: Who killed Laura Palmer? The show suffered from a decline in quality during its second season, but the first season remains one of the scariest things to ever haunt our television screens. Need proof? Just watch The Man From Another Place dance around the Black Lodge or check out Maddie's vision of BOB attacking her.

5. Tales From the Crypt (1989-1996)

The morbidly sarcastic Crypt Keeper set the tone for this 1990s horror fest, which reveled in the grotesque. Because it aired on HBO, Tales had a no holds barred approach to both gore and nudity, which made for some of the creepiest episodes in the history of television. The Crypt Keeper gave us lots of spooky tales, but by far the scariest was "And All Through the House," which tells the story of a woman who murders her husband for his insurance money and then gets attacked by a mental institution escapee dressed as Santa Claus. You'll never think of jolly old St. Nick in the same way again.

6. The X Files (1993-2002)

Creator Chris Carter seamlessly blended horror and science fiction to regularly scare us witless on The X Files. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were both pitch perfect as Mulder and Scully, a pair of FBI agents who teamed up to solve spooky, out of this world mysteries. The series has plenty of bone chilling episodes, but "Home," with its tale of a sadistic inbred family, still gives us nightmares. Plus, The X Files had what every great horror television show should have: a creep-tastic musical opening.

7. Supernatural (2005-Present)

Supernatural airs on the CW and stars two young hotties, so on paper it seems like it should be horror-lite. But in reality it's been one of the spookiest shows on television in recent years. Chock full of demons, monsters, and other terrifying things that go bump in the night, Supernatural has kept fans on the edges of their seats for six seasons. A bonus? Supernatural does a mean Twilight parody ("He's watching her sleep, how is that not rapey?").

8. Masters of Horror (2005-2007)

With its blood spattered title sequences, Masters of Horror was Showtime's big-budget attempt to carve out a piece of TV's horror genre. The network brought in a bunch of established horror directors like Joe Dante and John Carpenter to create hour-long mini-movies that terrified and disturbed viewers. There are plenty of scarier episodes, but "Pelts," which stars Meat Loaf (yep, that Meat Loaf) as a fur trader who does some very, very bad things, stands out for it's gruesome ridiculousness.

9. Freddy's Nightmares (1998-1990)

Freddy's Nightmares
spun off of the wildly successful Freddy Krueger movies, only in the TV version Freddy usually hosted of the scary stories instead serving as the crazed killer. But every once in awhile Freddy just couldn't resist getting in on the chilling action, like when he made some bloody additions to a fashion photo shoot in "Photo Finish."

10. The Twilight Zone (1959-1964, 1985-1989)

Widely regarded as the scariest TV show ever, almost everything about Rod Sterling's The Twilight Zone is spookily perfect. From it's iconic creepy music, to its fantastic acting, to its expertly crafted and deeply resonate scary stories, The Twilight Zone is must see TV for all horror fans. Twilight Zone aficionados love to debate which episode is the scariest —we have to go with "The Eye of the Beholder" and "Nightcrawlers."

11. Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-1963)

Alfred Hitchcock had been a master of big screen horror for over three decades, so it makes sense that his foray into TV would be equally as eerie. The opening sequence's Hitchcock silhouette (which the director drew himself) and music were enough to send chills down your spine, and that was before the episodes even started. Our favorite is "Man From the South," in which Steve McQueen and Peter Lorre engage in a gruesome wager (hint: it involves fingers). Based on a Roald Dahl story, the episode is incredibly tense and features a classically creepy ending.

12. Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-1975)

Carl Kolchak (played by the great Darren McGavin) was a newspaper reporter who was always battling the supernatural forces of evil in this 1970s series. With its plethora of zombies, werewolves, and headless motorcycle riders, Kolchak: The Night Stalker was the precursor to The X Files we all knew and loved.