It's Halloween season, time to recommend some frightful TV. I've written about past favorites like Ash vs. Evil Dead, Garth Merenghi's Darkplace, Hannibal, Bates Motel, and What We Do In the Shadows here before, so this year I dug journalistically deeper. I'm no hero, but feel free to refer to me as such.
Here are six streaming shows that will chill and/or tingle your spine while you're ignoring trick-or-treaters in the dark.
SCREAM QUEENS (HULU)
Scream Queens, which ran from 2015-16 on Fox, was the most over-the-top broadcast TV horror comedy ever. With a killer core cast (including Jamie Lee Curtis, Billie Lourd, and Emma Roberts at the height of her glam-camp powers) and a pitch-black comic heart, it's Ryan Murphy's tightest non-American Horror Story production. Season 1 unleashes the Red Devil slasher on a college campus; Season 2, the Green Meanie in a hospital (makes just enough sense).
AMERICAN HORROR STORIES (HULU)
Speaking of Ryan Murphy, if you find his season-long American Horror Story arcs a bit exhausting (we've all been there), the bite-sized terrors of his American Horror Stories anthology series might be for you. Each episode tells a different story, kicking off at AHS's original Murder House and wrapping its second season with a double shot of necrophilia and lake zombies. American Horror Stories is also way sexier than the original, if you're into that.
CHANNEL ZERO (SHUDDER)
Based on Creepypasta tales from the internet, the four-season anthology series Channel Zero ran on Syfy from 2016 to 2018, and just became more foreboding and weirder with each installment. Candle Cove, No-End House, Butcher's Block, and The Dream Door each make the skin crawl in unique ways, and the six-episode novelettes skirt the WTF? edge without going over it. No-End House in particular is like a waking nightmare of personal insecurity and dread — start there.
GRIMM (PRIME VIDEO)
When Portland police detective Nick Burkhardt (David Guintoli) learns he's a descendent of the Grimm, a bloodline of guardians who protect humans from supernatural monsters, a whole new version of Portlandia is born. Grimm ran for six seasons on NBC from 2011 to 2017, creating its own mythology while mashing up Law & Order, German folklore and a dash of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's dry humor. Not to be confused with the lesser fairytale drama Once Upon a Time.
Remember WGN America? Salem was the cable channel's first original in 2014, where it went mostly unseen due to Chicago Cubs fans' general disinterest in 17th-century gothic drama. Salem stars Janet Montgomery as a powerful witch who keeps unsuspecting local Puritans occupied with witch trials while she tends to summon Satan, to whom she's going to give her son to save her own life (great witch, not-so-great mom). Caveat: Marilyn Manson does the theme song.
The devil-riffic debut season of Evil aired on CBS in 2019 without spurring a cancellation campaign from the religious right — maybe they were distracted by Euphoria. The show then moved to Paramount+, where it only got creepier and heavier on the F-bombs. A forensic psychologist (Katja Herbers), a priest-in-training (Mike Colter) and a tech expert (Aasif Mandvi) investigate demonic incidents, and you might as well binge Evil because you're never going to sleep again. ♦