The weather has become chilly (unless you live in the South, of course), the leaves have turned beautiful shades of orange, yellow and red, and the nights have become longer, darker and spookier. With only two weeks until Halloween, you may have already burnt yourself out on all the classic horror and slasher flicks. Or you may be saving them for a marathon on the big night, leaving you with no spine-tingling storylines and terrifying jump scares to tide you over. My answer to the all consuming question that haunts every Netflix aficionado late at night… “What should I watch?” is to get back to the little screen and binge some spooky shows on Netflix that capture the essence of the season.
If you haven’t jumped on the Stranger Things train yet, I urge you to follow the crowd and see what all the fuss is about. The show is a throwback of sorts, transporting viewers to everyone’s favorite decade, the 80’s. A mixture of The Goonies and ET, the series follows four best friends and their adventures in discovering and battling supernatural forces. I actually began the series because my Dad recommended it, and my boyfriend and I ended up watching all eight episodes in a day and a half, so yes, I’d say the hype is worth it. A fantastic soundtrack, timeless characters, incredibly talented young actors, and super spooky themes make this a must see.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
I don’t know why it took me this long to watch Buffy, but I recently began watching it for the first time and I’m hooked. The late 90’s sensation is wonderfully dated by awful hair and even worse fashion choices and captures the slasher genre perfectly. It’s great to see actors like Alyson Hannigan and Seth Green when they were young, and the series stars the slasher queen herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar. Buffy is everything you want in a small town high school horror show. Vampires, werewolves, witches, and demons, all killed and hidden from the parents just in time to make it to home room.
There’s no question that the Scream franchise defined the slasher genre and set the stage for all other horror films of the late 90’s and early 00’s. The series of the same name on MTV has only run for 2 seasons, but it has already solidified itself as a must watch for fans of the genre. The show follows the path that the films set just enough to be reminiscent without coming off as a copycat. There is clever meta commentary all throughout, including a comment made by one of the gang that, “You can’t do a slasher movie as a TV series.” Sorry to all the haters out there who said the same thing when the show was pitched, because Scream is proving that you totally can. MTV just announced that they’ll be airing a 2 hour special on Oct. 18th where the gang heads to an island circa I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and we can’t wait!
American Horror Story
AHS practically created the concept of horror TV for the mainstream, and the season one Murder House chapter is one of the best seasons of television I’ve seen. I strongly recommend season one for your Halloween prep, because it not only focuses on Halloween in the show, but it is also incredibly scary, in a more traditional “all American neighborhood” kind of way. As an anthology series, one of the beauties of binging AHS is that you can pick and choose which season interests you at a given time. So if witches or carnival freaks are more your style for Halloween scares, check out Coven or Freakshow.
From Dusk Till Dawn
Robert Rodriguez’s TV adaptation of the Quentin Tarantino film of the same name is a modern day rebirth of a cult vampire classic. Follow the Gecko Brothers as they are on the run from a bank robbery gone wrong. At first this series seems like a traditional outlaw story, until you realize that there are supernatural forces at work and vampires waiting in the wings. If you like campy, Tarantino-esque gore, FDTD is definitely for you. Oh, and you might even catch a glimpse of yours truly in episode 2 of the first season!
For me, nothing beats witchcraft when I’m looking to get in the spirit for Halloween. Charmed is another one of those series that captured the late 90’s and early 00’s so perfectly, with a totally mystical essence added. Three sisters, Piper, Phoebe, and Prue discover they have a secret magical power that allows them to fight demons and play with magic in order to fulfill their destiny. The entire premise of the show is based on the value and uniqueness of the three sisters, and yet somehow the show managed to run five additional seasons after the infamous firing of Shannen Doherty (Prue) and the addition of a surprise fourth sister Paige, played by Rose McGowan. Any show with that kind of staying power is worth checking out in my opinion.
So grab some popcorn, candy, apple cider, or a pumpkin spice latte and settle in for two weeks of nothing but magic, murders, vampires, witches, and things that go bump in the night. It’s that time of year, after all.