Halloween as a festival has become popular in India in recent years, thanks to the spread of Western media. Let’s admit it, Halloween is fun. You dress up as creepy characters from pop culture and enjoy parties in horror-themed locations along with similarly costumed friends and family members. Even if you are not really interested in the festivities, you can still enjoy Halloween – right in your bedroom. Curl up in your bed, keep a cup of coffee in your hands, log into your favourite digital entertainment platform and binge on these shows!
1. Penny Dreadful
Beautifully shot and acted, this drama, set in Victorian London, brings together some of the most terrifying characters of literature, including Dracula, Jack the Ripper, Frankenstein’s monster, Dorian Gray and so on. It is a compelling story of a woman’s struggle against forces of the dark and tells a coherent plot across three seasons, the hasty ending notwithstanding. Penny Dreadful streams on Netflix and Amazon prime Video. You can also watch the third season on AXN every night at 12 AM till 31st October.
2. The Exorcist
The cult classic horror ‘The Exorcist’ redefined the then stale horror genre and spawned several sequels, each one of which fell far short of the original. But this TV series may just undo the damage. The Exorcist TV series is the sequel to the original movie and a worthy one at that. The atmosphere alone would make you fall in love with the franchise again. It streams on Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video.
3. The Walking Dead
One of the longest running horror shows, the post apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead is immersive and believable not because it has zombies and special effects, but because it paints fellow humans as the real villains, instead of the ‘walkers’. And don’t we know it? Andrew Lincoln plays Rick Grimes, a former sheriff, who leads a band of hardened survivors across the length and breadth of the United States. The Walking Dead streams on Netflix. You can watch its spin-off Fear the Walking Dead on Amazon Prime Video.
Two brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester, team up to fight supernatural threats. The threats include vampires, shape-shifters, demons, even angels and Lucifer himself among others. The premise is basically the same every episode. Dean and Sam spot news hinting at something bizarre and race to the location in their Impala, acting as FBI agents. Despite repetitiveness, Supernatural has remained enjoyable across 13 seasons (!) because of some really interesting characters. My favourite is Crowley, a powerful demon with whom the brothers have a love-hate relationship.
5. Bates Motel
One of the greatest, genre-defining psychological horror movies Psycho gets a sequel in Bates Motel. We know *SPOILER* Norman Bates was a batshit crazy guy with a dual personality who kept the exhumed corpse of his mother in his living room. But how did he come to be that person (Or should I say, persons)? Bates Motel tells the backstory of Norman Bates with great performances especially by Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga in lead roles. It also offers a nuanced look at Dissociative Personality Disorder. And did I mention it is downright creepy? Bates Motel is a living proof that you don’t need ghosts and monsters to scare people out. Sometimes the inner demons are scary enough.
An Amazon Original, Lore is based on a podcast of the same name. Every episode of the show tells the origins of a horror story and although it is more of a documentary than drama, it is a slickly produced show that is engaging enough for a binge. There are only six episodes, though, and at the end you will wish it never ends. Lore streams on Amazon Prime Video
7. American Horror Story
A Ryan Murphy creation, American Horror Story is incredibly scary, but the more interesting thing is every season of the show tells a new story. So if you don’t like a particular season (unlikely), you can skip it and jump to the next season without losing any backstory. Stream it on Hotstar.
If only the zombies in The Walking Dead knew they would not lose their wits if they had a ready supply of human brains! At least that is the premise if this show, which is equal parts horrifying and funny (uproariously so). If you liked horror comedies like Shaun of the Dead and Zombie Island, you can’t go wrong with this one. Stream it on Netflix.
9. The Returned
When a loved one dies, people mourn them. And they often say, “I wish they would return!” But they don’t want that, not really. What is dead, should stay dead. Otherwise there arise a whole lot of complications as shown in this American remake of the French original Les Revenants, called The Returned. Stream it on Netflix.
10. Stranger Things
No ‘top horror shows’ list would be complete without this current fad. It has little new to offer, and in fact relishes its unoriginality. It uses all the classic horror movie tropes and tells a delightful story thanks to some of the best acting done by child actors you will see. It is funny, scary, charming and heartbreaking. The second season of the show streams from today.