31 Horrifying Haunts Part One: Terrifying Television

By Nika Howard on

About Nika Howard

What do you get when you have a pinch of bishie sparkles, a dash of sass, and a whole lot of Dungeons and Dragons? The monster known as Nika. Jaela on Drunks and Dragons and Editor for board and tabletop games.


It’s that time of year again! Skeletons, witches, and pumpkins galore adorn as decor everywhere you look. There is a crispness in the air…or maybe that was a ghostly spirit following you? In any case your resident “Final Girls’ here at GeeklyInc, Nika Howard and Meagan Varney, love sharing with you our picks for top terrifying treats and spooky shows to help get you into the Halloween mood. This year we are breaking our articles into themes to steer you away from boring and bad movies that keep you snoring; towards some true horrifying gems that are sure to scare you to your core. If you have missed our previous articles, you can find them here, with 31 other options to keep you up at night. In our first part we are focusing on those binge-worthy shows that make you too afraid to close your eyes, but can’t stop hitting “next episode”. These are our picks for truly terrifying television!

Broadchurch, Season 1 (2013) 

If you are looking to get into British crime dramas, this is the perfect place to start. It begins with the murder of a young boy in the town of Broadchurch and follows the detectives (David Tennant, Olivia Coleman) as they investigate the crime. As the investigation progresses, secrets about both the town and its residents, both related and unrelated to the crime, are slowly revealed. Dredging up all of these secrets shows that even in a small town, terrible things can happen and no one is perfect. The show cast a slew of excellent British actors, including two Doctors – the beloved 10th (David Tennant) and current 13th (Jodie Whittaker). They skillfully display the confusion and sadness of a tragic situation in such a believable way that you feel as though you are there grieving with the town. The cozy quaintness of the British village setting seems to make the murder even more shockingly brazen. If it could happen in such a quiet and peaceful place, then nowhere is safe. So go grab some popcorn, hide your phone, and binge the first season with no interruptions. Sit back and enjoy watching two of the best actors solve a complicated mystery. And be sure to keep tissues handy, you will need them. This season (and seasons 2 and 3) is available to watch on Netflix.

Mindhunter (2017)

  Every true crime fan has heard of the “heavy hitters” of serial killers and has more than likely digested a variety of information on these murderers. But Mindhunter takes you inside the minds of the folks in the FBI who developed behavioral profiling; which was used in several cases to stop some of the most prolific killers in history. Based on actual interviews and recounts from the profilers themselves, the show takes a factual and extremely entertaining look into this time period of true crime. Following the main character Holden Ford’s life, the show flits between his personal and professional life and the repercussions of the study. However, the actors playing the serial killers are really the stars of the show and fully capture the terror and uneasiness of their real life counterparts. There are currently two seasons available for binging on Netflix now. 

Marcella (2016)

 Every list we do mostly features films, but every once in a while a great series comes along that deserves a place in the ranks; Marcella is one of these shows. DCI Marcella Backland is a detective with the Metropolitan police for the homicide division. The show peppers in the trauma from Marcella’s personal life with the horrors of her professional one, weaving the two together to create a haunting story. Each season features a separate serial killer storyline, but the Marcella’s struggles flow between both seasons. The focus of season one is a resurfacing serial killer who seems to be hitting too close to home for Marcella. Season two tackles a much more unsettling story of tracking down a murderer preying on young boys. There are currently two seasons available to stream on Netflix, but be warned that this show is designed and shot to make you feel uncomfortable by feeling the terror of the victims; so this may not be a show you want to binge and instead take your time with the episodes.

American Horror Story: Cult (2017)

 While there can be some hemming and hawing about having American Horror Story on the list, after a few episodes I felt I had to put Season 7 “Cult” on the list. The overall theme of the season is playing upon fear and they certainly hit the mark. This season starts after the 2016 election, when a local cult starts to arise at the same time gruesome murders and strange things are happening around town; leading to an increasing fear in the general populace. The show hits on a lot of phobias and just overall fears that are a growing concern for most people in the real world. In my opinion the thing that makes this season so truly terrifying are that the events occurring are happening in real life, making it easier to imagining yourself in that situation. There are parts overall of the show that can be passable, but I felt like this season was one that was able to tap into so many fears that there is something to scare you, no matter your phobia. 

Shetland (2013)

Shetland is another that falls into the U.K.’s crime drama collection, this one set on a Scottish Isle. Based on the book series by Ann Cleves, it focuses on Detective Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall) and the small police force who investigate crimes in the beautiful Scottish island of Shetland. A bit different than Broadchurch which focused on one crime for 2 seasons, Shetland splits each investigation into two episodes which each have a theme (Red Bones, Raven Black, Dead Water, Blue Lightning). These smaller vignettes serve to weave their narrative within the larger story of the island. This approach also paints a more complete picture of life on the island, making viewing the show a truly immersive experience. I can’t think of a spookier way to spend a rainy or chilly October day than to settle in and enjoy this show with a nice hot toddy and a cozy blanket. Binge and enjoy!

Haunting of Hill House (2018)

Based on the Shirley Jackson novel of the same name, Haunting of Hill House, is Netflix’s classical horror show that you are sure to binge. Following the Crain family, the show flashes between the present and past, showing the lasting damage caused by living in Hill House and horrors they endured. Years later, after a traumatic escape for their lives, the Crain family is being haunted by their time spent in Hill House. Can they fight the chains of the past to free themselves or will they succumb to Hill House, adding more ghosts to the halls?  For fans of the novel be warned that the show is not strict to the original. However, it is still a wonderfully scary thriller full of ghosts and demons from the past, that will keep you at night. A bonus to this show is that Theo Crain is played by Kate Siegel who stars in Hush, another of our picks from the previous articles.

So that is our first article of the season with our terrifying television picks! Is there one out there you think should have made the cut or that you want us to watch? Comment below and make sure to check out next week’s article to catch a fresh list of horrifically haunting shows to keep you awake and feeling spooky.

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