Never-Ending Stories: Creepy Anthology Series to Watch on Halloween
Some people just like being creeped out and, for them, one story just isn’t enough. To suit their wishes, there’s no better solution than the anthology series—a collection of unrelated stories that share a common theme. They add an element of variety to the twisted tales they love so much.
The anthology series has been a TV staple for years, giving audiences the types of stories they crave without having to remember character names or long, involved storylines. Over the years, some of these series have developed cult followings for their unique storytelling methods, their relevant topics, or their downright campy vibes.
Here is our list of the some of the classic and soon-to-be classic anthology series that you might not have explored yet:
Named after the way smartphones look when they’re broken or powered off, Black Mirror examines the many ways that technology can ruin our lives. Often bleak, sometimes funny, and many times thought provoking, Black Mirror cuts through the techno-optimism to give audiences an alternative point of view. With episodes that are bound only by that simple theme, some of the episodes have been disturbingly true to life.
In the episode entitled, “Nosedive,” for example, people receive digital ratings based on their everyday interactions, ratings that impact every aspect of their lives. This strangely reflects the real-world policies that have been enacted in some nations and provides a prediction of what could happen if these policies came closer to home. Black Mirror often tackles similar contemporary issues in an unflinching manner.
After the British series made the jump to Netflix, Black Mirror premiered the innovative “Bandersnatch,” a choose-your-own-adventure-style film with multiple storylines and endings that takes advantage of technology to make the audience a participant in the unfolding terror. Black Mirror is the show for anyone who likes to take a critical look at modern society and be frightened in the process.
Freddy’s Nightmares—A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series
An offshoot of the Nightmare on Elm Street films, Freddy’s Nightmares was a TV series that took place on and around the infamous Elm Street. Hosted by none other than Freddy Krueger himself, he was strangely absent from most of the stories. Instead, he was the puppet master, pulling the strings behind the scenes.
Each episode featured two interrelated stories with scares galore. One of the most memorable episodes was the series premiere, which showed glimpses of Freddy’s origin in a way that was only alluded to in the movies. Other episodes featured actors like Morris Chestnut, Mariska Hargitay, and Brad Pitt before they became household names.
Though it is a bit dated by today’s standards, it’s a great show for anyone who wants to wax nostalgic about the Elm Street series and see some of their favorite actors in earlier years.
Tales from the Crypt
Hosted by the hilarious, sarcastic, and ever-so creepy Crypt Keeper, Tales from the Crypt was an HBO series that came to prominence in the 1990s. At the start of each episode, the Crypt Keeper, with his usual morbid sense of humor, would introduce the story. There was something for everyone on Tales from the Crypt, often mixing in humor with its tales of horror, fright, and unexpected disaster.
Because the show was based on a comic book series of the same name, each episode also featured the artwork of comic artists like Shawn McManus and Mike Vosburg. The acting talent was noteworthy, too. Showcasing the work of high-profile actors like Demi Moore, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kirk Douglas, and Dan Aykroyd on both sides of the camera made the show mandatory viewing, and the show went on to be nominated for several awards.
The popularity of Tales from the Crypt led to several spinoffs, including feature films, a cartoon series, a radio series, and a sci-fi anthology series. Since the show’s demise, there have been several failed attempts to bring it back. M. Night Shyamalan was most recently set to revive the series 2017, but the agreement fell through due to licensing issues. The old episodes are still worth watching, though, if only for the Crypt Keeper’s snarky commentary.
Leaning into the campier side of horror fare, Monsters still brought the scares. With a memorable opening sequence that featured a family of monsters in their living room preparing to watch a TV show, it begged the audience to ask who the real monsters were in every story.
Each episode focused on a different type of monster, some inhuman, some magical, some alien, and others all too human. What set Monsters apart was the variety of stories it featured. It wasn’t bound to a particular genre or type of storytelling like many of the other shows of its type. Some of the episodes were strictly comedic, while others had twist endings. Others, still, had horror underpinnings or featured racier themes.
Like many of the other shows on this list, there were several actors on the show who went on to achieve greater acclaim. Though it is a little dated, Monsters is a great for those who want a little bit of fun in their scary tales.
The Twilight Zone
Probably the best-known anthology series on this list, The Twilight Zone has been a fan favorite for years. Getting its start in the days of black and white TV, The Twilight Zone has brought thrills, chills, and thought-provoking stories to the masses for generations. With tales that still stand the test of time, The Twilight Zone offers a peek into a world where things don’t always go as planned.
The Twilight Zone is not strictly a horror show, however, and it has typically relied heavily on irony and twist endings to captivate its audience. Over the years, the show has developed a loyal cult following that grows larger every day. Since its premiere in 1959, the stories have been spun off into movies, books, comics, and other media.
The Twilight Zone has recently been revamped by Jordan Peele of Get Out and Us fame to capture the imaginations of a whole new crop of fans. The latest version of the show more closely resembles other modern anthology series like Black Mirror, offering a close look at society with a thought-provoking twist.
Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Showing that adults aren’t the only ones who can take part in horror, Are You Afraid of the Dark? featured a series of spooky stories that were created with kids in mind. While the stories were always audience-appropriate, they did deliver more than their fair share of scares.
Told by a cast of recurring teen characters known as The Midnight Society who met in the woods at a secret spot, the stories often focused on themes that kids could relate to. From scary stories that involved peer pressure to feeling isolated to making new friends or moving to a new town, the stories looked at the world from a kid’s point of view.
By putting teens at the center of the action, Are You Afraid of the Dark? made creepy tales accessible to everyone.
Anthology series provide the perfect atmosphere for a fun, exciting, and Spooktacular Halloween. For the fearless among us who just can’t get enough of these creepy tales, these series contain more than enough stories to make the season last all year long.
Do you have a favorite anthology series? Which show gives you the chills? Let us know in the comments below.
For even more creepy content and ghoulish giveaways, check out Spooktacular.com. Sideshow’s Spooktacular 2019 runs from October 24th-31st. You don’t want to miss out on this week-long celebration of all things frightening and fun!