Are you looking for the best horror TV shows on Netflix right now? It can be hard to dig through the service to find what’s worth watching. But that’s where we’ve got you covered with our monthly updates on the best new series on the streamer, from The Haunting of Hill House to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina to The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell. This lineup includes many of the top recent horror series from 2020, 2019, and beyond, as well as several all-time classics. Who says it has to be Halloween to watch these shows?!
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Best Movies on Netflix by Genre:
- Best sci-fi movies on Netflix
- Best comedy movies on Netflix
- Best drama movies on Netflix
- Best action movies on Netflix
- Best horror movies on Netflix
- Best anime series on Netflix
- Best superhero movies and TV shows on Netflix
- Best Netflix original movies
Please note: This list pertains to U.S. Netflix subscribers. Some titles may not currently be available on international platforms. This article is frequently amended to remove shows no longer streaming on Netflix, and to include more horror TV series that are now available on the service.
As much as Anthony Hopkins came to define the portrayal of the suave but deadly serial killer Hannibal Lecter, there’s a strong case to be made that Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal is the definitive version of the character. NBC’s short-lived but critically adored Hannibal series is certainly the stronger overall adaptation of author Thomas Harris’ novels. The series revolves around the ongoing game of psychological cat and mouse played between Mikkelsen’s Lecter and Hugh Dancy’s brilliant but troubled profiler Will Graham. Brooding, psychological and as darkly funny as it is grotesque, Hannibal really pushed the envelope of what’s possible on broadcast television. We’re glad the series has finally made a new home on Netflix, and fingers crossed we eventually get that Season 4.
Just as they did for Sherlock Holmes, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss manage to put a fresh spin on one of the most iconic characters in Western fiction in the form of a BBC-produced miniseries. Dracula may be an adaptation of the classic Bram Stoker novel, but it’s not afraid to chart its own path over the course of its three 90-minute episodes. The series thrives by exploring the rivalry between the undead Count (Claes Bang) and his nemesis Agatha Van Helsing (Dolly Wells). The end result is as silly as it is spooky, but it’s just the ticket for vampire fans fed up with the usual fare.
Syfy may have canceled Z Nation in 2018, but the series lives on in a new form on Netflix. The spinoff series Black Summer is basically the anti-Walking Dead. It’s less concerned with character building and exploring the long-term course of humanity after the zombie apocalypse than it is the immediate, visceral fear of battling the undead. Sometimes style over substance is just what the zombie doctor ordered.
You don’t need to be an anime fanatic to appreciate this series, which finally proves that video game adaptations can do justice to the source material. A (very) loose adaptation of Castlevania III on the NES, this series brings together three vampire-hunting heroes in a quest to rid the land of Wallachia from Dracula’s scourge. Stylish action and surprisingly deep characterization both help Castlevania soar. Whether in live-action or animation, Dracula has rarely been this sympathetic a villain.
Dark may technically qualify as a science fiction series more than anything else, but it’ll definitely scratch that horror itch all the same. This dense German-language series centers on a town that sits atop a time-travel portal and the complex web of characters and conspiracies linked by that portal. The series is dark, brooding and unsettling in addition to being a real mind trip. And it all pays off handsomely in the series finale.
Daybreak serves as a recent and very welcome addition to Netflix’s horror TV lineup. It’s a zombie survival story with a considerable twist, as it’s as much a John Hughes-inspired coming of age comedy as it is a saga about surviving in the post-apocalypse. Daybreak presents a flawed by ultimately very entertaining world that prioritizes humor as much as horror.
What if the Devil not only walked among us, but he ran a nightclub in Los Angeles and helped the LAPD solve difficult cases? That’s the premise of this series, which stars Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar and Lauren German as Detective Chloe Decker. The series doesn’t show the same literary ambitions as the comic book source material, but it does put an entertaining and dark spin on the typical police procedural format. Netflix has now become the sole home of Lucifer following NBC’s cancellation of the series, and the service has already debuted Season 4 and the first half of Season 5, with a potential sixth season on the way.
The Arrowverse isn’t the only shared universe The CW has established in recent years. Legacies is a spinoff of The Originals, which itself built on the foundation of The Vampire Diaries. This series combines the sexually charged high school drama of Riverdale with a healthy dash of True Blood and X-Men. Danielle Rose Russell stars as Hope Mikaelson, a teenage vampire and the newest student at Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted. While perhaps best appreciated by fans of The Originals and The Vampire Diaries, Legacies has a lot to offer anyone in the mood for a little spooky soap opera fun.
The Haunting of Hill House
The Haunting of Hill House is one of the most celebrated books in the history of horror literature, and has already spawned one of the best horror movies ever made, Robert Wise’s The Haunting, back in 1963. This new adaptation comes from director Mike Flanagan (Gerald’s Game), and very loosely adapts the original tale into a generational saga of supernatural horror, as the Crain family tries to renovate the creepy estate and suffers terrible consequences. Few horror shows have ever received the level of acclaim that The Haunting of Hill House has been getting, so find out for yourself why!
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Hot on the heels of the hit series Riverdale comes Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, another adaptation of the old, wholesome Archie comic books with a dark, modern twist. Instead of being a mild-mannered, wholesome witch who lives next door and gets into delightful mischief, this version of Sabrina (played by Kiernan Shipka) engages in twisted spells and horrifying rituals. Will she embrace her dark baptism, or will she see the light…?
The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell
Finally… a cooking show with demon puppets. The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell is a curious creation in and of itself. McConnell stars as a version of herself, who lives in a house full of puppet creatures, created by Henson Alternative. When she’s not wrapped up in the misadventures of her mummified cat and roadkill raccoon, she’s making astounding treats modeled after ghoulish delights, like edible femurs and eerily haunted houses. The creations are nearly impossible for most people to make at home because they require an astounding amount of artistic skill, but it’s fascinating to watch McConnell work and her creepy companions are always a delight.
American Horror Story
Murder House. Asylum. Coven. Freak Show. Hotel. Roanoke. Every season of the anthology American Horror Story takes place in another corner of America, with a new series of horrors, and most of them are varying degrees of great. The show has a grand guignol sensibility that’s outlandish and entertaining, but it still manages to be genuinely scary once in a while. And watching the same cast of actors play completely different roles in various different seasons gives American Horror Story a strange and fascinating continuity unlike any other horror show on television.
Ash vs. Evil Dead
The adventures of Ash began in the Evil Dead cult hit horror trilogy, and for decades it seemed as though his Deadite-killing days were over. But Ash vs. Evil Dead brought back Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi in a show that continued the mythology and the wild humor that everyone loved from the original, classic films (until it was axed after Season 3, anyway). Ashy Slashy forever!
The prequel to the classic, iconic horror movie Psycho, Bates Motel tells the story of a young Norman Bates and his weirdly manipulative mother, who we all know are eventually doomed to live a life of tragedy and murder. But getting there is a lot of creepy fun, with eerie foreshadowing, icky subtext, and admittedly some unnecessary subplots about drug trafficking.
Masaaki Yuasa’s update of the classic Devilman manga is one of the most twisted and violent shows around. It’s the story of a young, sensitive teenager who becomes infected with a homicidal demon that uses its powers to destroy other demons. But this isn’t a “monster of the week” series. Devilman Crybaby eventually transforms into something completely harrowing, and unlike anything else you’re likely to find on Netflix.
Michael C. Hall plays Dexter, a serial killer who kills other killers. So that makes him… okay? This subversive Showtime series treats homicidal mania like some kind of superpower, with a protagonist who has a secret identity he can never, ever reveal. The later seasons lose steam, but when Dexter was great, it was one of the best shows on television.
Kids like horror too! In this adaptation of the classic R.L. Stine book series, every episode tells a new story of monstrousness without ever becoming actual nightmare fuel. Whether you’re feeling nostalgic or trying to introduce your kids to the horror genre, the Goosebumps TV series is a safe, fun, but still kinda spooky treat.
Just when you thought everything had been done with the zombie genre, and the procedural genre, here comes iZombie, a sharply written series about a medical examiner who happens to be undead. She can only survive by eating brains, and when she eats them, she can remember things about the corpse, which helps her solve one crime after another in this morbidly funny twist on some beloved television tropes.
Depending on your definition of horror, Mindhunter might not technically qualify, but it’s certainly horror-adjacent. This exceptional series tells the true story of how the FBI evolved to get into the minds of serial killers, and all of the obstacles that had to be overcome to convince law enforcement officials that there were other ways of investigating and tracking murderers. It’s dark, it’s intriguing, and with several episodes each season directed by David Fincher, it fits right into the mold of Se7en and Zodiac.
All of the gothic literary horror characters who emerged in the late 1800s were real, and lived at the same time. That’s the premise of the captivating and stylish series Penny Dreadful, which combines serious period piece drama with modern fantasy world-building. It may be a bit slow at times, but it’ll suck you right in.
The pop culture phenomenon Stranger Things is a show that wears a lot of hats, sometimes evoking Spielbergian levels of nostalgia and wonder, and sometimes Stephen King-like moments of unbridled terror. It’s a blend that works well for Stranger Things, and helps it stand out amongst a sea of other 1980s-inspired movies and TV shows. If you haven’t watched it already, it’s time you started. And now the third season is now available to binge.
The impossibly long-running horror-adventure series Supernatural has two of the most likable stars in the horror TV genre, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, who play monster-hunting brothers who travel the country fighting beasties and solving urban legends. The first five seasons are pretty spectacular, and although it couldn’t quite stay brilliant afterwards, there’s a reason it’s lasted 15 years. Give it a watch and you’ll see why.
The Walking Dead
The zombies took over the Earth. Now what? The hit zombie drama The Walking Dead just keeps going, and it still finds new ways to shock its audience, long after you’d imagine they’d run out of ideas. At its best, The Walking Dead is one of the best horror shows in TV history. At its worst, it’s still worth watching to get to the next good part.
The horror TV show that’s stealthily built up a dedicated cult following, Wynonna Earp, tells the story of Wyatt Earp’s descendant, who now protects the town of Purgatory from demons alongside an immortal Doc Holliday. It’s probably the most butt-kicking supernatural action show on television. You’re going to want to see what all the fuss is about.
How We Pick the Best Horror TV Shows on Netflix
We’ve combed through the Netflix lineup for the most varied horror lineup we can find. The goal is to spotlight both original series like Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Castlevania and popular TV fare like Bates Motel and Supernatural. The goal is to have something for horror fans of all tastes, whether you prefer your horror to focus on the mystical, undead zombies and monsters, or good, old-fashioned man.
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