It’s back to school time, and we arm you with the knowledge you need to make the most of your non-academic pursuits in front of the tv.
School is officially back in session, and college students all over the country are returning to campus or experiencing dorm life for the first time. While the life of a university student can be extremely hectic — between classes, studying, working, extracurriculars, and social activities — downtime is important, too. And you can get pro essay writing help to create more time to relax and bond with friends in front of the television while watching your favorite horror shows
Since your time is precious, you’ll want to find a show that helps you make the most of every moment you spend lost in another world. That means you’ll want a compelling plot, fascinating characters, and plenty of edge-of-your-seat suspense.
Thus, we’ve compiled a list of five of our favorite shows that are perfect for unwinding with — alone or with friends and roommates — while you take a break from higher learning.
1. American Horror Story
Since it first aired back in the summer of 2011, the episodic horror-themed television show American Horror Story (AHS) has become a cultural phenomenon. It has helped change the landscape of television.
With its innovative format of self-contained seasons, introducing entirely new storylines and characters from one season to the next, the show has become must-see television and captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of viewers. It popularized the idea of a limited series and paved the way for shows like True Detective and Fargo.
With its wonderfully campy performances from screen titans like Jessica Lange, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, and Denis O’Hare, as well as its clever themes, creative storylines, and insane plot twists, AHS helped bring horror to the mainstream and made it the go-to genre for TV creators.
Of course, The Walking Dead also had a big hand in that. But, while the latter injected considerable life into the undead, AHS went well beyond zombies to bring fans a much broader and more diverse horror offering.
So far, the show has given us everything from a haunted house to a creepy asylum to a twisted carnival. We’ve visited a horror hotel, a possessed farmhouse, a slasher summer camp, a bleak beach town, and a desert valley. We’ve traveled back and forth through time to experience ghosts, aliens, demons, serial killers, vampires, witches, cults, and just about everything else you can imagine.
The show has been at times terrifying, at other times hilarious, and even sometimes highly topical and politically charged. And the great thing about AHS is that if one season fails to excite you, chances are good-to-great that another season will be everything you hoped for and more.
There’s a reason this show tops our list. Thanks to AHS inciting TV’s horror resurgence, we now have a variety of other great horror shows to binge watch, like Channel Zero and the brilliant Hannibal — plus the other stellar recommendations below.
2. Midnight Mass
Netflix has really upped its horror series game in recent years. In fact, we wrote an entire article dedicated to the Netflix originals we can’t get enough of, including new breakout hits like Brand New Cherry Flavor and Squid Game. However, it’s hard to argue that the undisputed king of Netflix’s horror dominance is Mike Flanagan — a man we pay tribute to often on this site, for very good reason.
Flanagan was already making a name for himself in the indie horror film world (Oculus, Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil) before his meteoric rise that began with the terrifying 2018 Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House, based on Shirley Jackson’s novel of the same time.
The talented filmmaker now has a longtime deal with Netflix, which consistently produces some of the best genre content around. This includes film adaptations of Stephen King classics with Doctor Sleep and Gerald’s Game, as well as other hugely successful series.
Both The Haunting of Bly Manor, the follow-up to Hill House, and Midnight Mass premiered in 2020 to critical acclaim and commercial success.
The latter is a single-season series whose horror is centered around religion, loosely based on Stephen’s King Salem’s Lot. It tells the story of a community that a supernatural presence has invaded. Father Paul is the latest entrant into the community that begins to experience strange happenings. Some people disappear mysteriously while others who have been injured are cured miraculously.
The incidents divide people into groups based on their beliefs and social classes. As their society faces external demonic forces, individual citizens are forced to battle internal demons.
Delving into the world of spirituality and religion, MIDNIGHT MASS is one of the most brilliantly produced horror shows you can currently watch. It will terrify even the most ardent horror lover.
The great news is, if you’re a fan of Flanagan’s work (who isn’t?), Netflix has announced at least five new series from the prolific filmmaker in the works for the streaming platform. This includes the Christopher Pike book adaptation The Midnight Club and a series based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.
3. Ash vs. Evil Dead
If you’re a serious horror fan, it’s a pretty sure bet you’re also a fan of the Evil Dead trilogy.
Originally conceived as a fourth film in the successful franchise, Ash vs. Evil Dead takes place 30 years after the Army of Darkness neutralized the deadites (though, due to legal reasons, the events from that film could not be specifically mentioned in the first season).
Horror icon Bruce Campbell reprises his role as Ash Williams, an intrepid hero turned down-on-his-luck loner. Though his life has not amounted to much since he returned from saving the world in 1300 AD, Ash vs. Evil Dead gives him a chance to once again prove what he’s made of — taking up arms against the titular Evil Dead with some help from his friends.
The project was first revealed at 2014’s Comic-Con and was later announced to have been picked up by Starz, the only network willing to produce an unrated and unrestricted version of the show. The horror-comedy series was executive produced by the four original producers of the Evil Dead films, including Campbell and creator Sam Raimi. It premiered on October 31 (naturally) in 2015.
Sadly, the series was canceled after only three seasons, which resulted in huge fan outcry and online petitions to save the show.
But Campbell went on record stating he was ready to retire his beloved character, adding he felt satisfied knowing Ash had been given the send-off he truly deserved. He also added that Ash Williams was the role of a lifetime, and he was so grateful for the opportunity Starz gave him and his fellow producers the chance to revisit the franchise that launched their careers.
Fortunately, Dead fans weren’t completely left in the cold.
Both Campbell and Raimi signed on as producers of the upcoming HBO Max film Evil Dead Rise. And on July 25, 2022, Campbell announced that an animated revival of Ash vs. Evil Dead was in active development, with Campbell returning as the voice of Ash.
4. Black Mirror
Like American Horror Story, Black Mirror helped redefine the world of genre television.
While AHS is an anthology series, with each season being self-contained, the British sci-fi-horror show Black Mirror offers individual episodes that are stand-alone stories (based on The Twilight Zone), with little to no connection between episodes or seasons. It also means that if one episode isn’t your cup of tea, you’re bound to love another one as the episodes vary wildly in tone and execution across multiple genres.
Plus, it’s absolutely perfect for busy college students because you can watch the episodes in any order, and each episode (ranging from just 40 minutes to a more feature film length of 90 minutes) offers a complete story.
Most episodes are set in a near-future dystopian society and highlight the dangers of technology.
Not only is it quite bleak and terrifying at times, but it’s also really thought-provoking, providing a scathing and spot-on analysis of our addiction to technology and where it might lead us. It often holds a particularly accurate mirror up to current society and forces us to consider big questions about what it means to be human.
Even more frightening, the show has garnered considerable buzz for its ability to predict the future, often forecasting actual real-world events.
There’s considerable talent both in front of and behind the camera. And each episode tends to pack quite a powerful punch at the end. It’s virtually guaranteed to shatter your expectations.
Currently, you’ve got 22 episodes across five series to dive into, plus one special. There’s also the wildly popular interactive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018). A sixth series was announced by Netflix in May 2022.
5. Love, Death & Robots
Fans of Black Mirror flocked to Netflix’s wonderfully weird and often unsettling animated series Love, Death & Robots (which you may see written as LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS).
Like Black Mirror, it’s truly original and runs the gamut from comedy to horror to sci-fi to fantasy. Each episode is also similarly distinct, offering lots of diversity in animation style, genre, and tone.
The show boasts quite a pedigree, as it’s executive produced by power players David Fincher, Tim Miller (creator), Jennifer Miller, and Josh Donen. It’s a reimagining of Fincher and Miller’s planned reboot of the 1981 animated science fiction film Heavy Metal.
It’s also important to note that this is not your typical animated program and definitely not family-friendly.
LOVE, DEATH & ROBOTS is incredibly adult and filled with lots of sex and violence. It also happens to be super smart, so it’s not just exploitation for the sake of titillation. It’s brilliantly scripted and features some of the best storytelling you’ll find anywhere.
Add in some wickedly cool visuals to the mix, and you’ve got television gold. There’s a reason it’s been met with such critical acclaim and awards recognition.
This is another show tailor-made for those with little time on their hands. Every episode offers a bite-sized treat, under 20 minutes, and you can binge all 18 episodes of season one (2019) in a single setting. Season two has only eight episodes (2020), and season three consists of nine episodes (2022). Recently, the series was renewed for a fourth season.
For this article, we’ve focused on established horror shows with a few seasons of killer content. But the great news is that horror shows are in high demand, and amazing new shows are constantly being introduced. Some of our current favorites to explore are Chucky, Ratched, All of Us Are Dead, and From.
Sadly, some of our other favorites were canceled after just one season on Netflix, including Resident Evil, Chambers, Archive 81, and Marianne. Though they may have ended abruptly, they are still well worth checking out.