It’s October and three weeks to Halloween, which means there’s never been a better time to get your ghoul on and brush up on your binge-watching skills when it comes to bone-chilling, spine-tingling horror entertainment.
What’s more, today also marks the release of The Haunting Of Bly Manor on Netflix, the highly anticipated follow-up from the creator of the 2018 hit The Haunting Of Hill House. To mark the occasion, here’s a list of must-watch horror shows streaming across different platforms—some new, others old—that’ll get you through the rest of the month.What: The Haunting Of Hill HouseWhy: In anticipation of The Haunting Of Bly Manor
The Haunting of Hill House
© Tina Rowden/Netflix
If you, like most of us, spent the entirety of this 10-episode series white-knuckled, you know that creator Mike Flanagan (whose repertoire of horror films include Absentia, Oculus, and Doctor Sleep) won’t disappoint with his newest offering that is based on the 1898 Henry James horror novella The Turn Of The Screw.
Streaming on NetflixWhat: RatchedWhy: For serious style mixed with chills and a healthy helping of gore
© Saeed Adyani/Netflix
Mildred Ratched has it all—looks, glamour, and a killer sense of style, which goes perfectly with her anything-goes-to-get-ahead ambition. Series creator Ryan Murphy tasked Lou Eyrich and Rebecca Guzzi with getting the 1940s style right, and the duo got the palette down pat—from the sickly, goosebumpy green that Mildred favours, to the cinched waists and canary yellow skirt suits. The show, a sort of origin story for the protagonist from novelist Ken Kesey’s 1962 work One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, which was turned into a film in 1975, takes place in a psychiatric hospital.
Streaming on NetflixWhat: Castle RockWhy: For bookworms and fans of Stephen King, the ultimate master of horror
The fictional town after which the series is named is the setting for this coming together of much of the writer’s canon, where each episode is not fully contained within itself, but instead weaves into the others. True King fans will be able to spot a few known faces, such as Bill Skarsgård, who plays the terrifying Pennywise in It (2017) and Sissy Spacek, whose portrayal of Carrie in the film of the same name, is among the most legendary—as is the film’s fiery prom scene. The best way to watch Castle Rock? Definitely not alone.
Streaming on NetflixWhat: The AlienistWhy: For lovers of period dramas
Based on Caleb Carr’s 1994 novel of the same name, The Alienist takes us into 19th-century New York, where the brutal murder of a boy sets the scene for a rabbit hole of violent assaults and homicides. In those days, says the show, violent, psychotic criminals were considered ‘alienated’ from their true selves, leading to practitioners of the mind of that time being called ‘alienists’. The show takes viewers down the crime-ridden alleys and into asylums as the protagonists race against time to find the killer before he strikes again.
Streaming on NetflixWhat: Penny DreadfulWhy: For villains we know
Eva Green and Josh Hartnett headline this horror-drama that pits the supernatural against some of horror’s hottest names (Dracula and Frankenstein included) on the streets of Victorian London. Between the soot and grime of the English capital and the bloody storyline, don’t miss out on the style, particularly Green’s favoured high-collared lace numbers.
Streaming on Amazon Prime VideoWhat: Bates MotelWhy: For the origin story behind the seminal Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho
What Jaws did for trips to the beach, Psycho did for bathrooms—an equal number of people fear taking showers in hotels and motels as do those who refuse to get into the ocean (thanks, Steven Spielberg). But to understand just why Norman Bates became one of horror’s most enduring tortured protagonists, you have to wind the clock back, way back, to his almost oedipal relationship with his mother. The show ran for five stellar seasons, championed on the backs of Freddy Highmore’s chilling portrayal of Norman and Vera Farmiga’s cold, manipulative performance as his mother Norma.
Streaming on Amazon Prime VideoWhat: The ExorcistWhy: For a terrifying TV adaptation of one of the most acclaimed horror films ever made
When the film hit cinemas in 1973, audiences the world over were disturbed, horrified and scared out of their wits. Fast-forward to 2016 and the two-season TV version, bolstered by great performances by Geena Davis and Ben Daniels, wisely doesn’t attempt to remake or retell the happenings of the original, but instead charts its own chilling story with subtle nods to the original.
Streaming on Amazon Prime VideoWhat: The TerrorWhy: For horror on the high seas
Based on true events surrounding an 1845 Arctic expedition of the British Navy, The Terror is a 10-part miniseries that delves into the psychological subgenre of survival horror. In the historically accurate version, two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, disappeared amid the unforgiving Arctic seascape, only to have their wreckage discovered as recently as 2014 and 2016. This adaptation adds yet another scary twist. Stream to find out.
Streaming on Amazon Prime VideoWhat: American Horror StoryWhy: A critical and commercial success with nine scream-filled seasons and a cult following
When American Horror Story began its now storied run, horror shows weren’t the lodestar they now are, in some ways, for streaming giants. But Ryan Murphy, TV’s man with the Midas touch, who has given us offerings as disparate as Glee, The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Pose, Hollywood, The Politician, and, most recently, Ratched, turned horror into a critical and commercial success with AHS, which, from season one, to the most recent (currently in pre-production for a 2021 release), AHS has garnered much praise.
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