horror The Creepiest Shows in TV History  

Ranker TV
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33.9k votes 3.9k voters 50.4k views 58 items

List Rules Vote up the series almost too creepy for you to watch alone. In the dark. Naked.

Television loves to push the boundaries of what can be shown to a general audience. The medium has evolved from being a place filled with only family friendly programming to a platform to showcase anything the mind can imagine, no matter how scary and creepy it may be. The TV shows on this list are bursting with disturbing images, frightening plot lines, and horrors that haunt the viewer long after the TV has been shutoff.

Shows like "Twin Peaks", "Fringe," and "The Walking Dead" have tested the limits of what can be shown to audiences, with creepy moments that haunt viewers for years. Older, classic anthologies like "The Twilight Zone," "The Outer Limits," and "Masters of Horror" feature mind bending horror classics written by the genres best auteurs. 


What is your favorite creepy TV show in history? Do you prefer creepy monster of the week shows like "Hannibal" and "The X-Files"? Or do you like shorter stories  and narrative arcs with more bite, such as "American Horror Story" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents?"

 Vote up the shows on this list that you think are the creepiest shows to ever hit the television airwaves.

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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, ...more

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American Horror Story Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Evan Peters American Horror Story (FX, 2011) is an American anthology horror television series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. An anthology series centering on different characters and locations, ...more

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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 ...more

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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 ...more

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The Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies The Walking Dead (A&E, 2010) is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie ...more

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Twin Peaks Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn, Sherilyn Fenn Twin Peaks (Showtime, 2017) is a miniseries that follows FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in a continuation of the original 1990 series, created by David Lynch.

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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 ...more

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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, ...more

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Supernatural Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Katie Cassidy Supernatural (The CW, 2005) is an American fantasy horror television series created by Eric Kripke. Two brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), follow their father's ...more

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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 ...more

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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 ...more

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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 ...more

Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV

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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 ...more

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LanaYoshii 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 ...more

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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 ...more

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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 ...more

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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 ...more

The Best Saturday Morning Cartoons for Mid-'80s — '90s Kids

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Masters of Horror Jessica Lowndes, Holly Marie Combs, Bree Turner Masters of Horror is an American anthology style television series created by director Mick Garris for the Showtime cable network.

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Bates Motel is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
JVall14 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 ...more

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Dark Shadows Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall, Alexandra Isles Dark Shadows is an American gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966, to April 2, 1971. The series became hugely popular when vampire ...more

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killakane94 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 ...more

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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 ...more

The Scariest Demon Toys in Film History

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The Strain is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
LanaYoshii added The Strain Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Kevin Durand The Strain is an American horror drama television series that premiered on FX on July 13, 2014. It was created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, based on their novel trilogy of the same ...more

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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 ...more

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Charley Feldman added 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 ...more

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The Addams Family is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
killakane94 added The Addams Family John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Ted Cassidy The Addams Family is an American television series based on the characters in Charles Addams' New Yorker cartoons. The 30-minute series was shot in black-and-white and aired for two seasons on ...more

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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 ...more

The Best Fake Words From The Simpsons

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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 ...more

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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 ...more

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Friday the 13th: The Series is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
Trioxin245 added 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 ...more

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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 ...more

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Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
LanaYoshii added Sleepy Hollow Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Lyndie Greenwood Sleepy Hollow is an American supernatural drama television series that premiered on Fox on September 16, 2013, that aired on Mondays at 9:00 pm ET. The series is considered a "modern-day ...more

The Most Horrifying Found-Footage Movies

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LanaYoshii added 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 ...more

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Fear the Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
LanaYoshii added Fear the Walking Dead Mercedes Mason, Rubén Blades, Kim Dickens Fear the Walking Dead (AMC, 2015) is an American post-apocalyptic horror drama television series created by Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson, and a prequel to The Walking Dead. A dysfunctional, ...more

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Trioxin245 added Eerie, Indiana Omri Katz, Justin Shenkarow, Mary-Margaret Humes Eerie, Indiana is an American television series that originally aired on NBC from 1991 to 1993. The series was created by José Rivera and Karl Schaefer, with Joe Dante serving as creative ...more

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The Ray Bradbury Theater Lucy Lawless, Ray Bradbury, Richard Kiley The Ray Bradbury Theater is an anthology series that ran for two seasons on HBO, three episodes per season from 1985 to 1986, and four additional seasons on USA Network from 1988 to 1992. It was ...more

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Hemlock Grove is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
mhiler 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 ...more

The Worst Qualities in a Woman

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Boris Karloff's Thriller is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
Boris Karloff's Thriller

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Channel Zero is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
Channel Zero Paul Schneider, Fiona Shaw, Shaun Benson Channel Zero (Syfy, 2017) is an American horror anthology television series created by Nick Antosca, who serves as writer, showrunner, and executive producer. Storylines for the series are based ...more

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Charley Feldman added Amazing Stories Charles Durning, Douglas Seale, Louis Giambalvo Amazing Stories is a fantasy, horror, and science fiction television anthology series created by Steven Spielberg. It ran on NBC from 1985 to 1987, and in 1992 was somewhat erratically screened ...more

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Fear Itself is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
Charley Feldman 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, ...more

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Poltergeist: The Legacy is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
Charley Feldman added Poltergeist: The Legacy Derek de Lint, Martin Cummins, Robbi Chong Poltergeist: The Legacy is a Canadian horror television series which ran from 1996 to 1999. The series tells the story of the members of a secret society known as the Legacy and their efforts to ...more

13 Real Things Straight Out Of Horror Movies

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Ghost Story is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
Ghost Story Sebastian Cabot Ghost Story is an American television anthology series that aired for one season on NBC from 1972 to 1973. Executive-produced by William Castle, Ghost Story initially featured supernatural ...more

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Dracula is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
Ferry73 added Dracula Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jessica De Gouw, Thomas Kretschmann Dracula is a British-American horror drama television series that premiered on NBC on October 25, 2013. It was produced by London-based Carnival Films. The series was created by Cole Haddon, and ...more

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A Haunting is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
Verna Peddi added A Haunting Anthony D. Call, Mark Joy, Lorraine Warren A Haunting is a 2005 American paranormal anthology television series that depicts eyewitness accounts of possession, exorcism, and ghostly encounters. The show originally aired from October 28, ...more

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The Simpsons Treehouse of Horr... is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
Charlie Erb added The Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors

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Black Mirror is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
Luke Albright added Black Mirror Daniel Kaluuya, Toby Kebbell, Rory Kinnear Black Mirror is a British television anthology series created by Charlie Brooker that features speculative fiction with dark and sometimes satirical themes that examine modern society, ...more

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Scream is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
-1453870667083 added Scream Willa Fitzgerald, Bex Taylor-Klaus, John Karna Scream (MTV, 2015) is an American anthology slasher television series developed by Jill Blotevogel, Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie, based on the film series. After a cyber-bullying incident serves ...more

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Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyon... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond John Newland Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond is an American anthology series created by Merwin Gerard. The original series ran for three seasons on ABC from January 1959 to July 1961.

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Harper's Island is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
Heather Goldilox added 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. ...more