Scary movies have their place, but sometimes you don’t just want to be spooked for a couple of hours. You want to be spooked for eight hours at least — and maybe even for eight full seasons. That’s where TV comes in. If you’re looking for the best horror shows on Netflix, you’ve come to the right place: The streaming platform is packed with all sorts of freaky series, from classics to modern masterpieces. Whether you like your horror bloody or cerebral, you can have a frightfully good time.
Of course, not all of the scary shows on Netflix are of equal quality, and it can be difficult (and quite a time suck!) to sort through them all to find the perfect choice for your next binge. That’s why TV Guide scoured Netflix’s library to select the very best horror TV shows that the service has available to watch. Once you’ve made it through all the following spooky series, eerie episodes, and terrifying tales, don’t forget to check out all the best horror movies on Netflix too!
Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House) returns with another miniseries, and this one may be his best yet. Midnight Mass follows a small community on a remote fishing island and their devotion to a new priest (Hamish Linklater) who is seemingly performing miracles. Except — you guessed it — something else more sinister is afoot. Sure, strange, horrific events are involved, but what makes Midnight Mass so effective is its dissection of religion and faith, and how far people are willing to go to believe. Stephen King wasn’t involved in this in any way, but it’s the best Stephen King-ish series, if that makes sense. King loves it, too. –Allison Picurro
Looking to laugh while you’re scared? Watch Crazyhead. This short-lived British horror-comedy from Misfits creator Howard Overman balances a brilliant sense of humor with fighting the supernatural to make for a quick and enjoyable binge. Crazyheadfollows two young women — Cara Theobold and Susan Wokoma as Amy and Raquel, respectively — who become fast friends after finding themselves caught up in uniquely personal battles with demons only they can see. When a group of said demons try to bring about the end of the world, it’s up to the self-trained hunters to prevent that from happening, all while trying to navigate the familiar trials of young adulthood. –Kaitlin Thomas
If your only experience with Death Note is the abysmal American live action film, we’re sorry because that means you’ve missed out on one of the best horror animes, a category that has incredibly steep competition. An adaptation of the classic manga of the same name, Death Note follows the story of an incredibly intelligent high school student, Light Yagami, who finds a notebook dropped by Ryuk, a Shinigami, or death god. The notebook gives the user the ability to kill anyone as long as they know their victim’s name and face, and Light tries to use the book’s powers to eliminate crime. However, the power slowly corrupts Light and his transformation makes for a gripping tale that forces you to question how morality and justice are defined.
Initially created as a limited series, The Haunting of Hill House was such a success that Netflix and series creator Mike Flanagan decided to continue it as an anthology called The Haunting, with each new season tackling a different haunted locale. Hill House is based on the Shirley Jackson book of the same name and follows the lives of the Crain siblings, whose experiences growing up at Hill House continue to haunt them into adulthood. The show is one of the most provocative examinations of grief and trauma, while also being genuinely scary and delivering some of the most devastating twists on TV in recent years. The second season, The Haunting of Bly Manor, based on the work of Henry James, moves the action to a British estate in the 1980s, where an American au pair running from her past takes a job caring for two orphans.
It’s pretty maddening that Ghoul wasn’t a bigger hit when it premiered on Netflix in 2018. Starring Radhika Apte as Nida Rahim, a loyal interrogator who works for the fascist Indian regime ruling in a dystopian future, Ghoul follows Nida as she questions a terrorist (Mahesh Balraj) whom she begins to suspect is more than human. This atmospheric monster story is a gripping tale about social change, religion, and the dangers of unchecked political power. And while Ghoul gets off to a slightly slow (but never boring) start, the three-episode miniseries quickly builds to an insane, twist-filled finale that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.
If you’re looking for hardcore horror, FX’s American Horror Story isn’t for you — certain seasons, such as Murder House and Asylum, are far more frightening than others, but overall, American Horror Story is less interested in actual scares and more in finding entertaining (and unpredictable) ways to play with classic horror tropes. So if you want to be titillated, shocked, and occasionally grossed out, you can’t do any better than AHS. And with each season tackling a different theme, you’re sure to find something that fits your mood, though we’d recommend starting with the holy trinity: Murder House, Asylum, and Coven.
While there were a few seasons during which The Walking Dead famously got a little lost, if you stick through the rough spots (or just outright skip Seasons 7 and 8), the show finds its footing again and is well worth your time. Filled with gnarly kills and genuinely moving character moments, The Walking Dead is not only about what people will do to survive, but what you need to live for beyond just surviving. The zombie show all other zombie shows will be measured against, the AMC drama’s impact and influence can’t be understated when it comes to horror series. And once you start watching, it’s easy to see why the show has already spawned two TV spin-offs and an upcoming movie trilogy.
Brace yourself before starting Ares because this Dutch series doesn’t waste any time before getting into the gore. The story of a biracial college student, Rosa (Jade Olieberg), who joins a clandestine (and mostly white) student society with seriously twisted secrets, Ares is suspenseful, intriguing, and at times outright grotesque. As the series unfolds and Rosa becomes more engrained in Ares, the society is plagued by a series of suicides tied to the mysterious creature that lives beneath the society’s headquarters. While any show that hinges so much on answering a complex web of mysteries risks underwhelming the viewer, the reveals are well worth waiting for in the spine-chilling season finale — especially when you consider Ares is only eight, 30-minute episodes.
Marianne wastes even less time than Ares does before testing your limits with one of the most hard-to-stomach opening scenes we’ve ever seen. This is not a condemnation of the French drama, but a sign of its confidence in delivering captivatingly unsettling horror — the kind that seeps into your bones and feels like it may never leave. The French series follows horror author Emma Larsimon (Victoire Du Bois), who rose to fame for her book series about a witch named Marianne. But when a bored Emma decides to end the series, the witch manifests in the real world — played with chilling conviction by Mireille…
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