This post was first published in 2010 on my “personal” blog MoonCat Farms Meanderings. Since the list is still relevant, I thought I’d share it here.
I decided to honor Halloween by sharing some of my all-time favorite scary TV shows with all of you. While most of these shows are classics, we have a few “newer” entries on the list as well. I know many of you will have never heard of a couple of these, but they are well worth “digging up” to watch. I remember staying up late on weekends to get a good fright with my best friend. Some of these oldies but goodies still give me goosebumps today.
Now turn on all the lights in the house and be sure to have someone handy to grab ahold of as we delve into some of television’s spookiest offerings.
The Twilight Zone “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”
This episode has stuck with me since I was a kid, especially when I had to fly one night during a storm with lightning crackling all around us. I had my own little “nightmare at 20,000 feet!”
William Shatner played Bob Wilson, a salesman who sees a gremlin on the wing of the plane he’s flying in. No one else sees it or believes him. Bob’s wife is beginning to think that Bob is having another nervous breakdown. Bob grabs a gun from a cop on the plane and pops the emergency exit door open and shoots the gremlin, almost getting sucked to his own death. After the plane lands, Bob is hauled back to the sanitarium but the camera pans to the engine of the plane, showing the damage the gremlin did before they landed.
This gave me the willies big time. Though this first episode aired in the early 60s, they did a remake in 1984 for the Twilight Zone movie with John Lithgow playing Bob Wilson. Both versions are quite creepy.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Hush”
This was probably the freakiest episode of Buffy and is probably tied with the episode above for my favorite in this list. I love this show, but I didn’t really think of this series as necessarily scary, but it had its moments. “Hush” from the 4th season is at the top of my Buffy list for the spine-tingling “ooh factor”. Imagine the lyrics below in a sweet little girl’s voice:
Can’t even shout, can’t even cry,
The gentlemen are coming by.
Looking in windows, knocking on doors.
They need to take seven and they might take yours.
Can’t call to mom, can’t say a word.
You’re gonna die screaming but you won’t be heard.
“Hush” was one of Joss Whedon’s (I am in awe of this man) masterpieces of terror. The “Gentlemen” come in at night and steal the voices of the sleeping residents of Sunnydale. They are demons intent on taking seven of their victims’ hearts. The entire episode is done without ANY dialogue! I think that just made it even freakier, those being preyed upon couldn’t even scream…ugh..
This ultra-creepy episode aired at the beginning of the fourth season of this blockbuster series. It was especially freaky because it was one of those shows that could possibly happen instead of just being pure sci-fi. The premise is that a backwoods family named the Peacocks has been producing children with birth defects due to inbreeding and incest. Murder, mayhem, and just plain scary people are the basis of this episode.
Tales From the Crypt “And All Through the House”
Directed by the amazing Robert Zemeckis and airing in 1989, this was a remake of the segment in the 1972 movie starring Joan Collins. A woman kills her husband out of greed and is then rewarded by a visit from a slightly psychotic Santa who just happens to be an escapee from the sanitarium. Merry Christmas and Happy Halloween..
And in the Honorable Mention category we have:
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (he will always be the master) Twin Peaks (creepy night-time soap) Fear Factor (just disgustingly gross) Tales From the Dark Side(the title says it all) Outer Limits(Rod Serling was a genius of the absurd) Supernatural (how could a gal NOT want to follow these two brothers)
I hope you’ve enjoyed my list of TV’s finest fright fests and will share any nominees you might have with all of us.