If you’re reading this on Halloween, Happy Halloween! If you’re not reading this on Halloween, Happy Halloween anyway! With streaming services like Amazon Prime, there’s no excuse for not making every day Halloween.
You already know about some of the scariest horror movies on Amazon Prime, but don’t forget that there are plenty of terrifying and bingeworthy horror shows on Amazon Prime as well. Many of them are classics like The Veil and One Step Beyond, even more, however, are modern, disturbing fairy tales like Lore and American Horror Story. Without further ado, here are some of the scariest shows to stream on Amazon Prime.
Updated for March 2020
Editor’s Note: This post is updated monthly. Bookmark this page and come back every month to stay up to date with the best horror TV shows on Amazon Prime.
For those interested in anthology and serialized horror storytelling, Dark/Web offers the best of both worlds. This Amazon Prime original tells a single spooky tale, spread out over eight largely self-contained “chapters.”
Dark/Web picks up with the disappearance of cyber analyst Molly Solis (Noemi Gonzalez). As her friends investigate what happened to Molly, they begin to uncover some truly dark secrets hidden within the fabric of the Internet. Dark/Web expertly exploits real world fears about the spreading influence of this omniscient communication technology.
Aaron Mahnke’s history horror podcast Lore has always operated under the theory that truth is stranger (and scarier) than fiction. That’s the same philosophy that this Amazon Prime original adaptation adopts.
Both seasons of Lore tell a handful of real life stories that illustrate the origins of some of our world’s spookiest legends and events. Narration combined with live action recreations present tales of vampirism, grave-robbing, werewolves, and more.
American Horror Story
Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story is revolutionary in quite a few ways. Not only did it help usher in a renewed era of anthology storytelling on television, it also was arguably the first successful network television horror show since The X-Files.
Like all anthologies, American Horror Story has its better seasons (season 1 a.k.a. Murder House, season 2 a.k.a. Asylum, season 6 a.k.a. Roanoke) and its worse (season 3 a.k.a. Coven and season 8 a.k.a. Apocalypse). Still, for nine years and counting, American Horror Story has been one of the go-to options for TV horror fans.
1958’s The Veil consists of dramatizations of strange tales, the majority of which also feature host Boris Karloff in the cast. At story’s end, our host is back to offer a conclusion to that particular story of “the world beyond our understanding.”
Not that 1950s TV audiences would have known about it, because The Veil wasn’t broadcast. Footage from its episodes appeared in some late sixties TV movies, and a DVD release followed in the 1990s, but its cancellation prior to airing have made it a cult find.
There are so many claims of ghosts, paranormal activity, and other things that go bump in the night worldwide that sometimes it seems best just to focus on one geographic area. That’s the goal of documentary series, Haunted State. Haunted State narrows its paranormal coverage down to just one U.S. state.
That state in question? Wisconsin. Despite not achieving statehood until 1848, Wisconsin apparently has some of the most ghost activity of state in the union. And it’s up to four documentarians to investigate these spooky claims.
One Step Beyond
The amazing drama you are about to see is a matter of human record,” runs John Newland’s introduction to this Twilight Zone-esque series. “The real people who lived this story, they believe it, they know, they took that one step beyond.
Famously, Newland took one step beyond himself when making “The Sacred Mushroom” episode in which he ingested hallucinogenic mushrooms and filmed his reaction. It’s not available here, but it’s out there in both senses of the phrase.
“Come with me to a place of wondrous contradictions, a place that is silent and unstirring, yet restless and alive. A place of untold peace and boundless dread. Come with me into the very cradle of darkness, where those who dwell, dwell alone.”
Thus actor Rip Torn ushers viewers in to each episode of Ghost Stories, an American horror anthology series that ran for 44 episodes in the late nineties. It’s the expected things-that-go-bump-in-the-night deal, tales of hauntings, vengeful ghosts, possessions and poltergeists, all dramatised in neat half hour instalments.
Monsters‘ opening credits feels haunted in a way that only corny late ’80s/early ’90s sci-fi and horror can feel haunted. The camera zooms in on planet Earth and right to a cozy suburban house in the evening. A father dejectedly turns the TV off as a mother and daughter enter the family room with popcorn. “Honey, it’s family hour! There must be something on.” Lo’ and behold there is! Monsters: their favorite show. The father is a boulder-headed freak and the mother is a Cyclops.
Monsters disabuses us of the notion that horror anthologies belong to the modern day. This Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy) series ran from 1988 to 1991 and featured several standalone episodes following different monsters. Monsters is creative, weird, unsettling, and perfectly scary.
It’s commonly accepted knowledge that the older a civilization is on Earth, the riper it is for haunting. A longer history of people means a longer history of hauntings. With that in mind, Great Britain has to be one of the more haunted places in the world.
That’s the theory that Historic Hauntings is operating under at least. Historic Hauntings‘ four episodes cover Great Britain’s four countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. If nothing else, this is a compelling travelogue for the spooky-minded among us.
The Living and the Dead
The BBC’s The Living and the Dead is an aesthetically beautiful show. It’s not entirely dissimilar to a British-ized The Returned. It stars Colin Moran as Nathan Appleby, a psychology who inherits a beautiful, if creepy manor.
Sure, the property is a touch isolated but that doesn’t concern Nathan and his wife. It should because what comes next is a bit more Amityville Horror than The Returned.
When The Exorcist first premiered in 1973, it changed everything for horror. A whole world of demonology and exorcism entered into our collective unconscious to torment the masses. Still, the TV world hasn’t done much with exorcism-based horror since that then. BBC’s Apparitions from 2008, however, might be the exception. This is a nifty little horror drama that goes about demons the right way.
Apparitions stars Martin Shaw as Father Jacob Mays. Mays is tasked with examining potential miracles for canonization. But as Mays sets out, he begins to come into contact with dark forces in need of some exorcising. Apparitions is an excellent miniseries that has a shockingly complete perspective on how the Catholic Church operates.
There may be more “cop drama…with a twist” shows than there are actually cop drama shows. Thankfully, Grimm is one of the better (and spookier) cop drama… with a twist shows out there. The twist in this instance is that the characters and crimes are based off of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Homicide investigator Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) is charged with keeping the balance between humanity and Wessen, the mythological creatures of the world. It rarely goes well. Watch Grimm if for no other reason than to understand what 40 percent of the .gifs on Tumblr mean.
The Secret of Crickley Hall
British audiences seem to have a bigger appetite for horror on television than their American counterparts. And thank goodness, or Amazon’s horror offerings could be very sparse indeed. The Secret of Crickley Hall is another creepy, and ultimately kind of profound supernatural thriller from the other side of the pond.
Crickley Hall is based on a novel of the same name by James Herbert. It tells the story of the titular Crickley Hall in two time periods. The first is the present day (2006 in this case) in which the Caleigh family rents and resides in Crickley Hall, while the other takes place in war torn 1943. When one of the Caleigh children goes mysteriously missing in the present, some secrets (and ghosts) from the past could prove useful.