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The best TV series on Shudder in 2021
The one thing more terrifying than the shows below is the choice paralysis experienced when trying to settle on your scare.
Horror movies are great. But why just freak yourself out in one sitting over the course of only 100-odd minutes when you can extend that entertainment/trauma across many multiple hours with a TV series! If that sounds like your idea of a good time, Shudder is the service for you and the below series are where you should begin.
1. Wolf Creek (2016)
For us, it’s all in that piggish laugh of Mick Taylor’s, typically grunted after he’s dropped a casual mention of butchering the very tourist he’s talking to. It sends a chill down our spine. Every. Single. Time. Fans of the Wolf Creek film won’t be disappointed with this TV adaptation of the world’s favourite Aussie serial killers. I can only imagine what this character has done to the outback tourism industry.
- Matt Day as Brian
- John Jarratt as Mick Taylor
- Tess Haubrich as Rebecca
2. Born to Kill (2017)
Sam hears voices. Not good ones, either. Born to Kill is a chilling look into the mind of a seemingly normal person who becomes almost constantly besieged by unbidden psychopathic desires. We’re talking low-level creepiness at first: pathological lying, an obsession with death and stealing items from the recently deceased. But all that changes with the arrival of a new girl at school, Chrissie.
- Jack Rowan as Sam
- Romola Garai as Jenny
- Daniel Mays as Bill
3. Tales from the Darkside (1984)
Horror luminary George A. Romero had his own Twilight Zone-esque TV series. Better yet, it’s not wall-to-wall zombies either! Honestly, you never know what you’re going to get episode to episode, be that scares, sci-fi, fantasy or even just some good old fashioned black comedy. Providing you can look past a bit of eye-rolling “1980s bodaciousness” here and there, Tales from the Darkside has aged like a fine blood wine.
- Paul Sparer
4. Channel Zero (2016)
If you want some good (free) horror tales you need only do a quick search for Creepypasta. Alternatively, check out Channel Zero as it’s basically the best freaky Internet folklore tales made into mini episodes. Expect to be scared silly with subliminal children’s TV shows, potential hell-gates in basements and a carnival house of horror ride that may in fact be a killing floor for actual murderers.
- Amy Forsyth as Margot Sleator
- Olivia Luccardi as Alice Woods
- John Carroll Lynch as John Sleator
5. The Fades (2011)
Paul is a geeky 17-year-old who has a secret. He can see dead people. Yep, it’s The Sixth Sense all over again, only this time one of the worst spooks, or “Fades” as they’re known, has figured out how to cross back into the land of the living. It celebrates its new lease on life by going on a serial murder spree, drawing Paul into a fight to prevent an apocalypse.
- Iain De Caestecker as Paul Roberts
- Daniel Kaluuya as Mac Armstrong
- Johnny Harris as Neil Valentine
6. Hammer House of Horror (1980)
In this anthology series you’re going to get self-contained episodes with a little bit of everything. It’s a big bag of horror all-sorts including witches, werewolves, ghosts, devil worship and voodoo. That said, expect to delve into a bit of non-supernatural horror themes, too, such as cannibalism, serial killers and…well, cannibalistic serial killers.
- Nicholas Ball as William
- Anna Calder-Marshall as Janet
7. Jordskott (2015)
Detective inspector Eva Thörnblad has bad memories of Silver Heights but she’s returning after a long hiatus all the same. It’s been seven years since her daughter Josefine disappeared by a lake in the woods and another boy has suffered the same fate. As the investigation deepens more children vanish into thin air and this Swedish police drama starts to take stranger and more sinister turns.
- Moa Gammel as Eva Thörnblad
- Göran Ragnerstam as Göran Wass
- Richard Forsgren as Tom Aronsson
8. Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible (2001)
If you think Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible looks a little bit silly then your radar is in perfect working order. Mercilessly spoofing the shlocky horror films of Amicus Productions, Hammer Film Productions and Tigon Productions, this British comedy-horror anthology series is co-written by the always hilarious Steve Coogan. Expect cameos from well-known horror actors returning to do pastiches of their earlier film performances, plus a bunch of guest stars (one of which is Simon Pegg).
- Steve Coogan as Dr. Terrible
- Graham Duff as Josh
9. Fear Itself (2008)
Here’s one from the mausoleum. This frankly excellent television series met with a macabre and mysterious end after only delivering 13 separate 60-minute films. I honestly couldn’t tell you why it was axed swifter than Dick Hallorann in The Shining. It had potential, what with its self-contained horror/thriller tales being directed by the biggest horror directors going (including Stuart Gordon, Brad Anderson, John Landis and Rob Schmidt).
- Briana Evigan as Helen
- Doug Jones as Grady Edlund
- Elisabeth Moss as Danny Bannerman
- Brandon Routh as Bobby
10. Penance (2012)
Known in Japan as Shokuzai, this drama miniseries directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa centres on how one’s dark misdeeds from the past can chase us our entire lives. Four elementary school girls, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuka, bear witness to an awful crime, though the shock of it causes them to block out key details of it. A distraught parent of the victim promises they will atone for their silence and thus begins 15 years of very, very hard times for each of them.
- Kyoko Koizumi as Asako Adachi
- Yu Aoi as Sae Kikuchi
- Eiko Koike as Maki Shinohara
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