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8 Scariest TV Episodes To Watch This Halloween

 

Surprisingly enough, Halloween rolls around every year – turning October into a veritable fright-fest of scary films, events, and themes everywhere you go. If it’s not dyed blood red and covered in eyeballs, it’s not worth it.

Sometimes though, life just gets in the way, and getting your dose of the spooky stuff might not be as easy as pumpkin pie – but there’s no need to fear. Collecting some of the scariest moments together on the small screen, here’s your go-to guide for bite sized TV episodes that are the most gut-wrenching, spine-tingling, and pants-wetting of all time.

8. IT – Miniseries Part 1

Green/Epstein Productions

Whilst recut into a movie and referred to as such for the large part, the original iteration of IT was actually born as a television miniseries. It played out over the course of two nights, depicting the Loser’s club first as children fighting an unknowable monster living in the sewers, and then as adults returning to kill it for good.

The recent remake has proven wildly popular, but it’s the first half of the original adaptation that paved the way for its success. Laying the groundwork with Tim Curry’s exceptional turn as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, watching the drain-dwelling baddie come for each child dressed as their deepest fears is, of course, incredibly unsettling.

Awash with blood and monsters, limb-tearing terrors, and childhood nightmares both paranormal and very real, the original IT has been the foundation for horror on the big and small screens since release. It’s the perfect dose of spooky to start your Halloween right.

7. Masters Of Horror – Cigarette Burns

Showtime

An anthology series dedicated to bringing hour-long episodes directed by some of the biggest names in the genre, Masters of Horror doesn’t exaggerate with its title. Replete with terrifying concepts and eerie creatures, it’s John Carpenter’s offering to the first series that stands out as one of the best. The tale is one reminiscent of The Ring, featuring a cursed and forgotten video tape with disastrous consequences for any that seek it out. And of course, it’s the only thing eccentric collector Mr Bellinger wants, so he’s will to pay big money to have it found for him.

With an angel shorn of his wings trapped in the basement and a series of grisly injuries and deaths surrounding the tape, it doesn’t really seem like a good or wholesome idea, but Kirby Sweetman is desperate. Cue what can only be described as a descent into hell stipulated with some classic Carpenter visuals.

Sometimes veering into the campy but always deeply disturbing at its core, Cigarette Burns is a classic that’s often forgotten. Just beware of what happens to those that go looking for it…

6. I Am Anne Frank Part 1 & 2 – American Horror Story

FX

Now, this one is technically a cheat since it’s two episodes – but as the storyline pans out across the two halves right after Halloween, it only seems right to include them both. Season 2’s theme revolved around an asylum, the most frightening part being that those who should be locked up were often the ones in charge.

I Am Anne Frank is a masterclass in character development, eventually revealing the mystery of a serial killer plaguing the local community after introducing the titular Anne Frank as a device to point him out.

From aversion therapy, to unleashing the physically ruined Shelley on a local playground, to Bloody Face’s crimes, it’s jam packed with moments that will stick with you a good while after watching. Just make sure to cleanse your palette with The Name Game afterwards.

5. Blink – Doctor Who

BBC

The British legend that is Doctor Who is for some reason synonymous with terrifying moments – scarring children and unsettling adults for the past 55 years since its inception in the 1960s. Whilst an adventuring time lord exploring alternate futures and distant pasts might anchor itself in family friendly fun, the Doctor’s discoveries aren’t always good. Case in point: The Weeping Angels.

Originally appearing in the episode Blink, these angelic statues are intent on harvesting the time energy locked in the TARDIS, and won’t let anyone get in their way on their quest to feed upon it. Able to move at impossible speeds when they aren’t being observed, the only defence against these terrifying, screeching stone-y monsters is to stare them right in the face. But you can’t blink, or they’ll get you.

No thanks.

4. Roadkill – Supernatural

Warner Bros TV

Revolving around all things ‘out there’, supernatural has a whole host of terrifying concepts that have been eked out over its whopping 13 season runtime, with Roadkill sitting up there as one of the most intense of the lot.

The episode is an amalgamation of all the best things that the series has to offer – combining mystery, horror, and the effervescent Winchester brothers in all their paranormal glory, as they try to help a woman that’s being hunted by an undead farmer. That might conjure up ideas of an angry hillbilly with a pitchfork rather than spooky ghost man, but trust me, it’s the latter.

The tension is high throughout, paid off with an ending that is starkly sad in contrast to the previous hour depicting a terrifying game of cat and mouse.

3. Black Mirror – Playtest

Netflix

Black Mirror’s concept is a simple but effective one, presented in an anthology format designed to show a dystopian future ruled by cold hard technology rather than genuine human interaction. Playtest, an instalment in the latest series of the show, sees Cooper sign up for a gaming company trial that installs a program into the back of his head to simulate augmented reality gameplay – and, as would be suspected from a stranger jabbing a micro computer into your neck – it takes a turn for the worst.

The game devolves into survival horror, Cooper trapped in a mansion facing jump scares laced with a deeper reflection of his own private insecurities. It’s an unsettling dive into the psyche that makes you question everything you see, but is anything really as scary as it seems?

Well, maybe that giant human-faced spider actually. That definitely is.

2. Living Doll – The Twilight Zone

CBS

Whilst there’s plenty of interdimensional spookiness residing within The Twilight Zone, it’s the living doll Talky Tina that serves as one of the scariest inhabitants. Beating out horror staples like Chucky and Annabelle, Talky Tina is legitimately one of the most unsettling toys on screen, living up to her name with an ongoing supernatural commentary reserved especially for stepfather Erich.

To put it lightly, Tina isn’t Erich’s biggest fan. This episode centres around Tina protecting Christie, taking drastic measures to ensure her safety and happiness whilst wrapped up in a monstrous premise. If she wasn’t a f*cking creepy murderous plastic child, I guess there might be some seed of sweetness to that whole concept – but as it stands, she is. You know the drill with dolls by now, and this classic TV episode is one of the OGs for getting your uncanny valley fill.

1. Days Gone Bye – The Walking Dead

AMC

Whilst The Walking Dead might have turned into caricature of its title in recent years, shuffling ever onwards despite being past its sell-by date, the glory days of the series are still some of the best pieces of television there are. The very first episode of the franchise set up something special, introducing us to characters that we’d grow to love and watch die over the coming seasons. It really is brutal when you take a look back at where it all started, and the events that have happened since.

Functioning like an American version of 28 Days Later, Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma and has to adjust to life after a zombie apocalypse. Instantly setting the infectious tone right from the outset with legless corpses and scavenger hunts for supplies, the episode bubbles up into a rapturous finale involving the horde, that is unmatched by any zombie content on screen since.

It all started here, and the first is one of the very best pieces of horror TV out there.

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