Happy Halloween!!! While television shows in the late 1950's and 60's like the original "The Twilight Zone" (1959-1964) and "The Outer Limits" (1963-1965) paved the way for shows like "Dark Shadows" (1966-1971) and "Kolchak: the Nightstalker" (1974-1975) in the 70's . They would soon give rise to even more horror and Sci-Fi TV shows in the 80's and 90's. Since I grew up watching many of these shows, this Halloween Chernobog's Blog looks back at some of the scariest modern TV shows in the last 30 years and present my list of the Top 10 Scariest Modern TV Shows. Enjoy!
#10 Freddy's Nightmares (1988-1990) - A short lived TV series based on the ORIGINAL "Nightmare on Elm Street" films starring Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). A horror anthology hosted by Freddy himself, the show was somewhat disappointing to many fans, playing on the more campy side of Freddy's character making him into more of a Cryptkeeper type. While the show had a few memorable episodes with early appearances by now major stars such as Brad Pitt, Freddy's Nightmares are now more like a bad dream you can't quite remember after waking up. Favorite Episode: "The Art of Death", 3/12/1989 - A cartoonist's creation called The Phantom comes to life!
#9 Friday the 13th: The Series (1987-1990) - While loosely based on the "Friday the 13th" film series the show had nothing to do with hockey-masked killer Jason Voorhies. The show revolved around two young owners of an antique store (which they inherit from their uncle) who try to recover cursed items from their store. While the show lasted for three seasons there were several episodes with decent stories and interesting plots revolving around these various cursed items.
Favorite Episode: "Tales of the Undead", 11/25/1988 - A comic book monster comes to life and kills a shopkeeper!
#8 Tales from the Darkside (1983-1988) - "Tales from the Darkside" was a horror anthology series very reminiscent of "The Twilight Zone" with a little "Tales from the Crypt"-like story structure that would always end with a twist! The show lasted for four seasons and even sparked a major movie in 1990, which featured three stories and starred actors such as Steve Buscemi and Christian Slater!
Favorite Episode: "The Word Processor of the Gods", 11/25/1984 - A struggling writer's computer has the power to grant wishes!
#7 Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) - While having very little to do with the 1992 movie starring Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the TV series became an increasingly popular show during the late 1990's and sparked the career of actress Sarah Michelle Gellar. The show was an ingenious combination of occult action and teenage drama from the mind of creator Joss Whedon. The show also spawned a spin-off in 1999 with Angel, a vampire cursed with a soul, (1999-2004) starring David Boreanaz (Bones).
Favorite Episode: "Halloween", 10/25/1997 - Buffy and her friends buy costumes and a cursed costume shop where they turn into whatever they are wearing!
#6 Millennium (1996-1999) - F.B.I. profiler Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) has the ability to see inside the mind of serial killers. He joins the Millennium group, a team of former law enforcement officers who believe crime is increasing as the millennium approaches. This was the second show from "X-Files" creator Chris Carter, although the show did not last as long as it's predecessor (only 3 seasons) it was an interesting and often suspenseful show with a highly original concept...that is, until Y2K didn't happen!
Favorite Episode: "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me", 5/1/1998 - Four demons trade stories at a donut shop of how they corrupt human souls.
#5 The X-Files (1993-2002) - F.B.I. Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovney) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) search for the truth as they investigate strange murders, monsters, alien abductions and government cover-ups! Created by Chris Carter, The X-Files became a pop-culture phenomenon in the 1990's and spawned two major films including X-Files: Fight the Future (1997) and The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008).
Favorite Episode: "The Host", 11/23/1994 - When a body is found in the sewers Mulder and Scully investigate and discover the killer is a Fluke-Man!
#4 Masters of Horror (2005-2007) - Anchor Bay and Starz produced two seasons of hour-long horror anthologies directed by some of the best names in horror from John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, Mick Garris and Stuart Gordon. Some of the most original and horrifying stories came from this short-lived series which would quickly be released to DVD for many more to enjoy and be horrified!
Favorite Episode: "The Black Cat", 1/19/2007 - Based on the tale by Edgar Allan Poe, directed by Stuart Gordon (Reanimator, Dagon) and starring Jeffrey Combs (Reanimator) as Poe himself!
#3 The Walking Dead (2010-Current) - Based on the graphic novel by Robert Kirkman, the series premiered on AMC on Halloween 2010 and has since become one of the most popular and most terrifying TV show ever. Sherrif Rick Grimes has to find and protect his family as they try to survive a zombie outbreak!
Favorite Episode: "Guts", 11/7/2010 - As Rick and the others try to escape Atlanta, they try to blend in with the "Walkers" and cover themselves in gore.
#2 Supernatural (2005-Current) - Sam (Jared Padelecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester hunt monsters, ghosts, vampires, demons and rogue angels! They have both been to Hell and back (literally!) and even prevented the apocalypse!
Favorite Episode: "Nightshifter", 1/25/2007 - Sam & Dean search for a shape-shifter in a bank with the aid of Ronald (Chris Gauthier), a paranoid conspiracy-theorist, when they become surrounded by a SWAT team!
#1 Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996) - Based on the 1950's EC horror comic books published by Bill Gaines, Tales from the Crypt aired on HBO in 1989 and soon became immensely popular spawning a children's animated series: Tales from the Cryptkeeper (1993), and two major movies including Demon Knight (1995) and Bordello of Blood (1996)! The horrific host of the show was the Cryptkeeper, an animatronic puppet based on the comic book storyteller, voiced by John Kassir. After seven scary seasons the show featured some of the most talented Hollywood directors and producers such as Robert Zemekis and Richard Donner; and actors including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joe Pesci, Demi Moore, Michael J. Fox, Malcolm McDowell, John Rhys Davies, Whoopi Goldberg, Dan Aykroyd, Christopher Reeve, Kirk and Eric Douglass AND Tom Hanks just to name a few!
Favorite Episode: "The Secret", 7/31/1990 - A rambunctious orphan is adopted by a rich, childless couple who spoil him and turn out to be vampires, but the jokes on them because the kid is a werewolf!