4YE Fright Nights: Horror TV Shows For Non-Horror Fans

Credit: Tumblr
Credit: Tumblr

It’s hard to be a non-horror fan during this season.

Don’t get me wrong. I do love Halloween. But I’m more into the creepy, camp fun aspects of it. I prefer something like The Addams Family or Corpse Bride to Saw or The Conjuring. 

So much, however, seems to be built around the scares. I’m not about that life. I just don’t like being scared or freaked out.

For my fellow non-horror fans, I have compiled a list of five TV shows that I was able to watch, enjoyed and not be too scared of at the end. I tried to avoid the mainstays: Supernatural, Buffy, Angel.  That way, if you’re like me, then you’re always on the hunt for something new.

Shall we?

Scream (MTV)

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Credit: Tumblr

Yeah first one up at bat, it’s based off a horror movie. One that took me at least three watches to be able to watch at night with the lights on.

Scream, however, presents an interesting fresh approach to the drama. While a film is mostly focused on the bodies piling up, the show is actually kind of cerebral. Kind of. Yes there are deaths and sometimes they get weird and gory. Ultimately, the real draw for me is the relationships of this friend group.

What we learn in screenwriting classes is that tension and conflict are best ways to get characters motivated/developed. A mass murderer on the loose? It’s definitely a good motivator. But what’s more interesting is how the characters deal with the aftermath of these tragedies, of these deaths. They’re given time to mourn. Hell, our main character Emma Duval (Willa Fitzgerald) has to get treatment for her PTSD from these events between seasons one and two.

So with the focus on the characters, it makes the show less scary? Does that make sense? I’m sad where a character dies and tense when they’re in danger, but the relationships and the dynamics are so interesting that I can’t be scared while watching.

Where Is It Available? First two seasons are on Netflix. They recently had a Halloween special. The show got renewed for a six-episode third season.

Slasher (Chiller)

Credit: Chiller
Credit: Chiller

Slasher is pretty much Scream‘s cousin, well Scream and American Horror Story‘s cousin. The anthology show is supposed to follow a different self-contained mystery. The first season, which is the only one we have, follows Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath) as she back her hometown with her husband, Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren). They move into the house where Sarah’s parents were murdered and Sarah was cut out from her mother’s stomach. Now, a new killer (wearing the costume of the man who murdered Sarah’s parents) has emerged and is killing people according to the Seven Deadly Sins.

This show is so ridiculous, in a good way, that I find it hard to be scared. While I think Scream does the character stuff better and, at least, makes more sense, Slasher really commits to its mystery. It does tension, sets up who has what to gain and lose. These people could all fall under the whole Seven Deadly Sins motif of the killer. No one is really safe. Personally, I find the scenes between Sarah and Tom Winston (Patrick Garrow), who murdered her parents, to be the most compelling.

I don’t know if the show has been renewed or not for a second season. I am interested in seeing where it goes though.

Where To Watch: Netflix

Stranger Things (Netflix)

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Credit: Tumbr

Stranger Things is definitely the most popular thing on this list. Yet, I feel justified putting it on as it is a relatively recent show. The show, as a whole, does a very great exploration of fear from different ages and different perspectives.

Don’t get me wrong. Most people focus on the mystery element along with the charming stuff involving the kids. They should. It’s great stuff. Stranger Things, however, is a show firmly rooted in horror. Not only do we have the messed up stuff going on in the government lab and the Upside Down. We also have Joyce Byers’ (Winona Ryder) living every parent’s worst nightmare when Will disappears and then the refusal to believe in his death. We have Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) going through similar fears as his brother and her best friend are missing. No one is really doing anything to help. The kids has to deal with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), their friend’s supposed death, and the very real fact that people will kill them to get to El.

Not only is the horror present in a physical form. It’s also present in the emotional and psychological hell that these characters go through over the course of the series. Because it’s so ramped up and well sustained by the story and nostalgic feel, the audience is so drawn in that they forget to be more scared than they should.

Where To Watch: Netflix

In The Flesh (BBC) 

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Credit: Tumblr

I’m currently working my way through this series. So excuse me if my knowledge is a bit thin in places. Give a girl a break! I’m a student.

In The Flesh is a very short-lived, very interesting take on the zombie apocalypse. The series takes place after the “Pale Wars” aka the zombie uprising. As those suffering from PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome) are reintroduced into society. Of course, they are not exactly welcomed with opened arms. Because of the whole zombie apocalypse thing. Most of the horror comes from this, the PDS suffers being hunted down by humans who have killed them without remorse while they were rabid and believes that they shouldn’t exist.

It brings up a lot of interesting questions about the nature of self and humanity. To be honest, I prefer this or iZombie to The Walking Dead. There are only to make zombies scary. But giving them a soul? You make them downright fascinating to me.

Where to Watch: Hulu

Paranormal Witness (Syfy) 

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Credit: Tumblr

I love reality show based horror shows. Well it is Halloween. You want to be creeped out, but safely creeped out. So the best format that I found is these shows. Why? You know people are going to be okay because they are telling you their stories.

Paranormal Witness is what I regard to be the best of these types of shows. It’s tense. The production values are solid. The stories are interesting. The re-enactments are actually good. Because let me tell you, the acting level vary on these sort of shows. Yeah, there are some scares. Like I said, you have a safety net in knowing that they’ll be okay or at least live to tell the story. That gives you a layer of protection while watching.

Where to Watch: Syfy’s website, Syfy 

So hopefully, my fellow non-horror fans, have found something to enjoy from this list.

Happy Halloween! Don’t watch with the lights off.

Bec Heim

Senior Editor at 4YE
Rebecca "Bec" Heim is the Senior Editor for 4YE. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Scranton. She also has an MA in Film-Radio-Television from Syracuse University and an MFA in Screenwriting from Boston University. She enjoys reading through her ever growing mountain of books, talking way too much about superheroes, and trying to reach transcendental state.
Bec Heim
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