TV Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV  

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List Rules Scripted TV shows only, please (no Reality TV).

The scariest TV shows manage to provide major frights with excellent drama. Unlike these excellent paranormal reality TV shows, the programs listed here are primarily scripted TV shows. Which TV shows gave you the most scares? Vote for your favorites, vote down any that didn't send you diving under the couch in fear and feel free to re-rank this list, too.

Some of the best scary TV shows are also, not surprisingly, among the greatest TV shows of all time. In addition to being one of the most frightening television shows ever made, 'The Twilight Zone' was also one of the best TV shows ever, period. The same can be said for the likes of 'The X-Files,' 'Twin Peaks' and relative newcomer 'The Walking Dead.'

What makes a scary TV show great? A fantastic, compelling storyline and frightening characters, for sure, but don't underestimate the power of some wicked special effects, too. Some shows on this list also qualify as taut psychological thrillers, but it doesn't mean they aren't genuinely terrifying at times.

If you haven't seen some of the scariest TV shows listed here, you might be able to find them quickly: A few are among the best streaming Netflix TV shows, including 'American Horror Story,' 'Supernatural,' 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' 'Twin Peaks' and 'The X-Files.' Sadly, some of the shows on this list were canceled way before their time, though some bit the dust with good reason ('Cult'? Really? Awful, CW, just awful).
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Tales from the Crypt is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Tales from the Crypt John Kassir, Roy Brocksmith, Miguel Ferrer Tales from the Crypt, sometimes titled HBO's Tales from the Crypt, is an American horror anthology television series that ran from June 10, 1989, to July 19, 1996, on the premium cable channel HBO for seven seasons with a total of 99 episodes. ...more

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The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The Twilight Zone Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, suspense, and/or horror, often concluding with a ...more

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American Horror Story is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
American Horror Story Lady Gaga, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett American Horror Story is an American horror television series created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. Described as an anthology series, each season is conceived as a self-contained miniseries, following a disparate set of ...more

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The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The X-Files David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi The X-Files is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by Chris Carter. The program originally aired from September 10, 1993 to May 19, 2002 on Fox, spanning nine seasons and 202 episodes. The series revolves around ...more

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720 431
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies The Walking Dead is an American horror drama television series developed by Frank Darabont. It is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. Andrew Lincoln stars as sheriff's deputy Rick ...more

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Alfred Hitchcock Presents is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Alfred Hitchcock Presents Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler, John Williams Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series hosted by Alfred Hitchcock. The series featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. By the time the show premiered on October 2, 1955, Hitchcock had been directing films for ...more

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Hannibal is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Hannibal Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas Hannibal is an American psychological thriller–horror television series developed by Bryan Fuller for NBC. The series is based on characters and elements appearing in the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris and focuses on the budding relationship ...more

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Tales from the Darkside is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Tales from the Darkside Paul Sparer Tales from the Darkside is an American anthology horror TV series created by George A. Romero; it debuted in 1984. Similar to Amazing Stories, The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, The Outer Limits, Tales From The Crypt, Monsters, and Lee Martin's ...more

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Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Supernatural Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beave Supernatural is an American fantasy horror television series created by Eric Kripke. It was first broadcast on September 13, 2005, on The WB and subsequently became part of successor The CW's lineup. Starring Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester ...more

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The Outer Limits is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The Outer Limits Kevin Conway, Joe Pascual The Outer Limits is a US-Canadian television series that originally aired on Showtime, the Sci Fi Channel and in syndication between 1995 and 2002. The series is a revival of the original The Outer Limits series that aired from 1963 to 1965. ...more

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American television series which aired from March 10, 1997 until May 20, 2003. The series was created in 1997 by writer-director Joss Whedon under his production tag, Mutant Enemy Productions with later ...more

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Are You Afraid of the Dark? is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
JaidenDalBello added Are You Afraid of the Dark? Ross Hull, Raine Pare-Coull, Jodie Resther Are You Afraid of the Dark? is a Canadian horror fantasy-themed anthology television series. The original series was created by D.J. MacHale and Ned Kandel, and was picked up by Nickelodeon in 1991. MacHale, Kandel, and Nickelodeon teamed up ...more

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Unsolved Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
wiabux added Unsolved Mysteries Robert Stack, Dennis Farina, Keely Shaye Smith Unsolved Mysteries is an American television program, hosted by Robert Stack from 1987 to 2002 and later by Dennis Farina starting in 2008. The show was broadcast first as specials in 1987, then as a regular series on NBC, CBS, Lifetime and ...more

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Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Twin Peaks Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick Twin Peaks is an American television serial drama created by Mark Frost and David Lynch. It follows an investigation headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper into the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer. Its pilot episode was first broadcast ...more

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Goosebumps is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
HollyMiller added Goosebumps R.L. Stine, Kathryn Short, Cody Jones Goosebumps is a Canadian horror fantasy anthology television series based on R. L. Stine's Goosebumps books. It was one of the two popular television horror anthology children's series in the 1990s. It was filmed in Toronto, Ontario and ...more

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Bates Motel is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
wiabux added Bates Motel Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot Bates Motel is an American drama thriller television series developed for television by Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin and Anthony Cipriano, and produced by Universal Television for the cable network A&E. The series, being a "contemporary ...more

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Night Gallery is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Night Gallery Rod Serling, Gary Collins Night Gallery is an American anthology series that aired on NBC from 1970 to 1973, featuring stories of horror and the macabre. Rod Serling, who had gained fame from an earlier series, The Twilight Zone, served both as the on-air host of Night ...more

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Grimm is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Grimm David Giuntoli, Silas Weir Mitchell, Sasha Roiz Grimm is an American police procedural fantasy television drama series. It debuted in the U.S. on NBC on October 28, 2011. The show has been described as "a cop drama—with a twist... a dark and fantastical project about a world in which ...more

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Friday the 13th: The Series is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Friday the 13th: The Series Colm Feore, Louise Robey, Chris Wiggins Friday the 13th: The Series is an American-Canadian horror television series that ran for three seasons, from October 3, 1987 to May 26, 1990 in first-run syndication. The series follows Micki and Ryan, owners of an antiques store, and their ...more

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Dexter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
MarylyleMcCue added Dexter Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas Dexter is an American television drama series. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter pattern analyst for Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life as a serial killer, hunting down murderers who have ...more

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Angel is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Angel David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, Alexis Denisof Angel is an American television series, a spin-off from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The series was created by Buffy's creator, Joss Whedon, in collaboration with David Greenwalt. It aired on The WB from October 5, 1999, to ...more

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Millennium is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Millennium Lance Henriksen, Megan Gallagher, Terry O'Quinn Millennium is an American television series created by Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, that aired on the Fox Network between 1996 and 1999. The series follows the investigations of ex-FBI agent Frank Black now a consultant, with the ...more

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Fringe is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Fringe Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole Fringe is an American science fiction television series created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. It premiered on the Fox Broadcasting network on September 9, 2008, and concluded on January 18, 2013, after five seasons and 100 ...more

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Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
wiabux added Sleepy Hollow

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Kolchak: The Night Stalker is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Kolchak: The Night Stalker Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Jack Grinnage Kolchak: The Night Stalker is an American television series that aired on ABC during the 1974–1975 season. It featured a fictional Chicago newspaper reporter—Carl Kolchak, played by Darren McGavin—who investigated mysterious crimes with ...more

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Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Mabie1 added Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction Jonathan Frakes, Don LaFontaine, James Brolin Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is an American television anthology series created by Lynn Lehmann, presented by Dick Clark Productions, and produced and aired by the Fox network from 1997 to 2002. Each episode featured five stories, all of ...more

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Penny Dreadful is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
MarylyleMcCue added Penny Dreadful Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green Penny Dreadful is a British-American horror TV series created for Showtime and Sky by John Logan, who also acts as executive producer alongside Sam Mendes. The show was originally pitched to several U.S. and UK channels, and eventually landed ...more

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Thriller is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Thriller Boris Karloff, Dick York Thriller is an American anthology television series that aired during the 1960–61 and 1961–62 seasons on NBC. The show featured host Boris Karloff introducing a mix of macabre horror tales and suspense thrillers. Reruns currently air on the ...more

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The Following is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The Following Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore The Following is an American television drama series created by Kevin Williamson and jointly produced by Outerbanks Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television. The first season follows former FBI agent Ryan Hardy trying to help recapture serial ...more

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American Gothic is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
dee123 added American Gothic Gary Cole, Lucas Black, Paige Turco American Gothic is an American horror series created by Shaun Cassidy and executive producer Sam Raimi. The show first aired on CBS on September 22, 1995, and was cancelled after a single season on July 11, 1996. ...more

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True Blood is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
MarylyleMcCue added True Blood Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell True Blood is an American television drama series produced and created by Alan Ball. It is based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris, detailing the co-existence of vampires and humans in Bon Temps, a fictional ...more

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A Nightmare on Elm Street: Rea... is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
MarylyleMcCue added A Nightmare on Elm Street: Real Nightmares Robert Englund

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Teen Wolf is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
myers1978 added Teen Wolf Tyler Posey, Dylan O'Brien, Holland Roden Teen Wolf is an American television series developed by Jeff Davis for MTV. It is loosely based on the 1985 film of the same name, and stars Tyler Posey as a teenager named Scott, who is bitten by a werewolf and must cope with how it affects ...more

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Hemlock Grove is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
wiabux added Hemlock Grove Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron Hemlock Grove is an American Netflix original horror thriller television series. Executive produced by Eli Roth, developed by Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman, and a production of Gaumont International Television, the series is based on ...more

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Harper's Island is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Harper's Island Elaine Cassidy, Christopher Gorham, Matt Barr Harper's Island is a horror thriller/mystery mini-series created by Ari Schlossberg. It aired on CBS during the 2008–2009 season. The series premiered on April 9, 2009, at 10:00 pm ET/PT. Harper's Island had one season of thirteen episodes. At ...more

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The Incredible Hulk is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
MarylyleMcCue added The Incredible Hulk Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno, Jack Colvin The Incredible Hulk is an American television series based on the Marvel Comics character The Hulk. The series aired on the CBS television network and starred Bill Bixby as David Banner, Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk, and Jack Colvin as Jack McGee. ...more

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Channel Zero is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Channel Zero

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The Hitchhiker is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The Hitchhiker Nicholas Collins, Mark Henein, Spin Shannon The Hitchhiker is a mystery anthology series that aired from 1983 to 1987 on HBO and First Choice in Canada. The series later moved to the USA Network from 1989 to 1991. It was known as Le Voyageur in France ...more

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Medium is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Medium Patricia Arquette, Miguel Sandoval, Jake Weber Medium is an American television drama series that premiered on NBC on January 3, 2005, ending its run on that network on June 1, 2009. The series then moved to CBS on September 25, 2009, airing its final episode overall on January 21, 2011. ...more

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Reaper is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Reaper Bret Harrison, Tyler Labine, Rick Gonzalez Reaper is an American comedy television series that focuses on Sam Oliver, a "reaper" who works for the Devil by retrieving souls that have escaped from Hell. The series originally ran on The CW from September 25, 2007 to May 26, ...more

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Falling Skies is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
LanaYoshii added Falling Skies Noah Wyle, Drew Roy, Maxim Knight Falling Skies is an American science fiction post-apocalyptic dramatic television series created by Robert Rodat and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. The series stars Noah Wyle as Tom Mason, a former Boston University history professor ...more

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Carnivàle is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Carnivàle Michael J. Anderson, Adrienne Barbeau, Clancy Brown Carnivàle is an American television series set in the United States during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. In tracing the lives of two disparate groups of people, its overarching story depicts the battle between good and evil and the ...more

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Forensic Files is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
michael-koebnick added Forensic Files Dayle Hinman, Peter Thomas, Roy Shuler Forensic Files is an American documentary-style series that reveals how forensic science is used to solve violent crimes, mysterious accidents, and even outbreaks of illness. The show was originally broadcast on truTV, narrated by Peter Thomas, ...more

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Fear Itself is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
ChangesDownClub added Fear Itself Margherita Donato, Valerie Womack, Marie Zydek Fear Itself was a horror/suspense anthology television series shot in the city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, with some additional shooting in the city of St. Albert and the town of Devon, Alberta. It began airing on June 5, 2008 on NBC. The ...more

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The River is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
dee123 added The River Bruce Greenwood, Joe Anderson, Leslie Hope The River is an American paranormal/action/horror/found-footage television series that debuted during the 2011–12 television winter season on ABC as a mid-season replacement. Eight episodes were produced for the first season. The series ran ...more

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Werewolf is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Bootsdad added Werewolf John J. York, Lance LeGault, Chuck Connors Werewolf is an American horror series, and one of the original shows in the Fox network's broadcast line-up during its inaugural season of 1987–1988. The show follows the adventures of Eric Cord, a college student transformed into a werewolf ...more

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The Leftovers is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
LanaYoshii added The Leftovers Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston The Leftovers is an American television drama series created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta airing on HBO. It is based on Perrotta's novel of the same name. The pilot was written by Lindelof and Perrotta, and directed by Peter Berg. The ...more

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So Weird is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
StevenAllanOndo added So Weird Cara DeLizia, Mackenzie Phillips, Patrick Levis So Weird is an American-Canadian television series that aired on the Disney Channel as a mid-season replacement from January 18, 1999 to September 28, 2001. The series was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia. In season one and season two, the ...more

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Kindred: The Embraced is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Kindred: The Embraced Stacy Haiduk, Erik King, Patrick Bauchau Kindred: The Embraced is an American television series produced by John Leekley Productions and Spelling Television. Loosely based on the role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade, the series premiered on Fox on April 2, 1996, and ran for eight ...more

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Way Out is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
RobbDelman added Way Out Roald Dahl Way Out is a 1961 fantasy and science fiction television anthology series hosted by writer Roald Dahl. The macabre, black-and-white, 25-minute shows were introduced by Dahl, his face projected in a disconcerting hall of mirrors effect, dryly ...more