The 40 Scariest TV Episodes Ever – Vulture

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Photo: 20th Century Fox

This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated to include even more terrifying television.

With Halloween right around the corner, it’s the perfect time for a marathon of television frights. When people think about TV horror, they probably think of the zombies of The Walking Dead or an old episode of an anthology series like The Twilight Zone or Tales From the Crypt that haunted their dreams — or, lately, Netflix’s very scary The Haunting of Bly Manor. The truth is that horror has been a reliable part of the TV landscape for generations, and it’s a remarkably diverse genre.

Trimming this list down to thirty was difficult: There are truly terrifying episodes of Dexter, The Outer Limits, Fringe, and others that just barely missed the cut, and you could put together an entire separate list from the very best of Rod Serling’s groundbreaking masterpiece. With that in mind, here are the scariest ones to make our cut — the 40 best TV episodes to watch when you’re looking for a truly chilling scare.

Amazing Stories, “Mirror, Mirror”

Steven Spielberg’s brilliant anthology series didn’t often go straight horror but they sure went for it in this incredible episode from a story by Spielberg and directed by, believe it or not, Martin Scorsese. The Oscar winner helms the tale of a horror writer, played by Sam Waterston, who starts to see a disfigured man in every reflection. And the man is coming to kill him. It’s bad enough when it’s just in a mirror, but it’s eventually in glasses and even eyes. Some of the production values are dated, but Scorsese delivers enough great shots to justify a revisit.

American Horror Story, “Halloween”