The Show-down: Scary TV Edition

Television can be scary year-round (ex. Keeping Up with the Kardashians, The Rachel Zoe Project, Breaking Bad), but terror gets turned up a notch this time of year. With Halloween around the corner, here are some horror-ific shows to check out.—-

The Walking Dead

Whether or not you're a zombie aficionado or a fan of the original comic, this show is a must if you want some squeeze-your-friends, cover-your-eyes, nightmares-for-days television enjoyment. TWD is one of the most graphic, gory and emotionally intense shows on right now, and it's truly addictive. The show follows a group of people surviving day-to-day amidst the zombie apocalypse. Few other humans seem to be alive, so in addition to worrying about flesh-eating demons, these survivors struggle to find shelter, food, safety and sanity. Catch up on this season's previous episodes online; new eps air Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC. Go here to read my review of the second season premiere.

This is not a jumpy, in-your-face kind of haunt, but usually a slower, more "impending doom" kind of terror. Expect gruesome scenes with humans and walkers. Remember no characters are safe and sometimes those zombies are the least of their worries.

American Horror Story

This new FX show puzzled me for weeks with its eerie teaser previews that featured odd snippets like someone playing a person's belly like a cello, and a person in a full-body latex S&M suit, with a giant baby bump. WTF? Having now premiered, the show, from the creator of Nip/Tuck and co-creators of Glee, follows a family who's moved into a haunted house. Sure, it sounds banal, but it's entertaining, intriguing and extremely creepy. Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton star as a tested couple - after experiencing a full-term miscarriage, the wife catches her husband sleeping with one of his students. The two, along with their high school-aged daughter, move across the country to California to start over. They must deal with infidelity, finding romance again, oh - and apparently a bunch of people have died horrible deaths in their new home. Best wishes!

Like TWD, this is definitely not for everyone. The show mixes sex, ghosts and a terrifying basement. The scene-stealer is certainly Jessica Lange who plays the odd neighbor, seemingly of another era, who is mother to a grown child with Down's Syndrome who is constantly drawn to the house.

New episodes are on FX Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Go here to watch clips and trailers.

While there are some seriously scary moments (brief scenes and quick flashes of "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!"), the overall feeling of AHS is disturbing. Reality is a bit unclear at this point - who is alive, who is an apparition, what happened in the past and how is that affecting the characters now? We'll have to stick around to find out. On the bright side, many freaky scenes are followed by Dylan McDermott's buttcheeks.

The old-school intro sets a pretty good stage for the show:


The writers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer took on this fairy tale-crime-drama, which premieres on NBC Oct. 28. The show puts a supernatural spin on the stories of the Brothers Grimm. Network television is never my favorite, but with a description of "X-Files meets Buffy," it's sure to bring in an audience.

Since it hasn't premiered yet it's hard to tell, but I'm betting this will offer more campy fun than true fright.

The Simpsons

Growing up, watching The Simpsons on Sunday night was a ritual. Now, I hear other kids weren't allowed to watch it and went to church instead. Either way, everyone has enjoyed a good Treehouse of Horror, or The Simpsons' Halloween episode. They're epic. This year's debuts Oct. 30, with everyone's favorite God-fearing neighbor, Ned Flanders channeling his inner Dexter. Go here to watch the clip.

Most adults just see the humor in these Simpsons specials, but I remember being kind of afraid of those drooly aliens as a little kid. There is certainly plenty of animated gore and violence to go around.

Fear Fest

AMC's annual Halloween promotion continues through Monday, offering up horror films and shows new and old every day. This year's Fear Fest is hosted by zombie Godfather, George Romero. The remainder of the week promises various Halloween films, Survival of the Dead, Bride of Frankenstein, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and more. Check out the full schedule here.

SCARE FACTOR: 2-5/5, depending on the program

Tune in for all the Halloween action and remember, if you things get too intense, just switch over to a Project Runway marathon.

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