Best TV Shows to Binge Watch in October

We’re in full swing this month, gathering costumes and setting out the queue for dreadful movie nights to celebrate the spirit. With an influx of horror on TV now, there’s much more content to explore this season – but how to do pick out the true terror from the trend-following bile?

From classic chills to modern grotesqueries, here are a few spine-tingling shows to immerse yourself in as the autumn winds rise.

TALES FROM THE CRYPT

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HBO, beloved still for Game of Thrones and True Detective, still made a killing in the 90s with this nasty, grimy, and hilarious anthology. Introduced by our favorite pun-loving corpse, the Crypt Keeper, each episode told a different story of bad people meeting worse ends – and always with a crazy twist. The celebrity cameos from actors soon to be famous (think Steve Buscemi) are also gloriously fun. This show set the tone for gory comedic horror, and its black humor still resonates just as disturbingly now.

PENNY DREADFUL

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This one might be a little controversial – but it’s undeniably perfect for October. Full of grand Gothic castles, baroque camerawork and a legion of legendary creatures, not to mention literal buckets of gore, “Penny Dreadful” holds its own. It’s a lot of fun for its faithful adaptations of classic Victorian horror (I’ve rarely seen a more authentic, brooding Frankenstein’s monster), but it’s also intelligent, and packs an emotional punch with its characters. For a bit of high-brow horror that doesn’t skimp on gore, this show is perfect.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY

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I know, I know. Many self-respecting horror fans despise this show for its soap opera tendencies and complete lack of plot. But it’s hard to deny that this is a veritable funhouse of different horrors. Watching a season is like walking through a sprawling haunted house attraction – there’s aliens, ghosts, devils, mutants, zombies, witches, everything under the moon. On top of that, the camerawork is stunning, and the acting… it’s hard to find a better ensemble on television. Don’t expect pure horror, but on many other levels, this show delivers.

COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG

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We all got nightmares from this one as kids. And now that it’s on Netflix, we can have nightmares again. This show is amazing for its bold animated vision, and its willingness to show its young audience something far darker than most shows dare to try. It’s truly disturbing, but in such a wacky way that you can laugh… or can you? Childhood traumas aside, this show proves that you don’t need to be R-rated to be scary.

THE X-FILES

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Not all of the episodes are suitable for Halloween, but this show goes down in history as one of the most consistently frightening on television. There are several episodes that made me afraid of the dark. Whether you want alien conspiracies or just a good monster of the week, Mulder and Scully always stumble upon something chilling, and often the horror goes unresolved – as any fans of Lovecraft know, that is the surest way to keep your audience scared. With the revival coming next year, it’s a must to watch this one. The truth is still out there.

There are a few honorable mentions – The Twilight Zone, Twin Peaks, American Gothic, and Gravity Falls – that don’t quite say ‘Halloween’ to me, or that I haven’t seen yet, but are worth bringing up as genius genre television. If I missed any others, let me know. And happy horror viewing, ghouls.

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