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What's on TV over Halloween – scariest TV shows and movies

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Read on for our picks of the best TV shows and films showing this Halloween.

The Evil Dead – Friday 28th October at 10pm, BBC Three

The Evil Dead

The Evil Dead SEAC

Sam Raimi’s 1981 cult horror was famously placed on the video nasties list upon its UK release – with 49 seconds of the film being censored. But that infamy didn’t hamper its popularity by any means, and the film remains hugely popular more than 40 years on from its release, full of gleefully excessive gore and brilliant camerawork.

The plot concerns a group of five friends who decamp to a cabin in the woods for a cheap getaway, only for things to go horribly awry when they accidentally awaken an evil force and come up against all sorts of zombies, ghouls, and demons. The ensuing battle includes some of the most memorable deaths in horror history, featuring all manner of blood and guts.

Ghosts – Friday 28th October at 8:30pm, BBC One

Ghosts season 4 key art featuring the entire main cast

Ghosts BBC

Ghosts may not technically be a particularly scary TV show, but it seems only fitting that the final episode of the haunted-house sitcom’s fourth season is airing over Halloween weekend.

The season closer sees Alison and Mike receive some exciting news about their guesthouse business, but the fallout soon sees tensions running high between the pair.

It – Saturday 29th October at 9pm, ITV2

Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise

It Chapter One SEAC

This 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s horror classic – which was followed by a second part two years later – features an unrecognizable Bill Skarsgârd as the shapeshifting Pennywise, and is full of jump-scares, creepy dancing, and a generally spooky atmosphere that will haunt you long after the film ends.

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Set in 1988, It follows schoolboy Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) and his bullied friends Richie, Eddie, Stan, Mike, Ben and Beverly – branded The Losers’ Club – as they investigate sightings of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, a supernatural being who’s responsible for the deaths of several children in the area, including Bill’s six-year-old brother Georgie.

The Green Man – Saturday 29th October at 10:30pm on BBC Four

The Green Man

The Green Man BBC

If you’re after some classic TV horror then look no further than this 1990 BBC adaptation of Kingsley Amis’s 1969 novel of the same name, all three episodes of which are airing back to back on Saturday night. The series sees Albert Finney take on the lead role of Maurice, the alcoholic owner of the titular country inn – which he claims is haunted by ghosts.

Over the course of the series, Maurice begins to realize that some of the spooky stories he’s told his guests over the years might actually be true, as he finds himself on the receiving end of a haunting…

Halloween – Saturday 29th October at 11:35pm, Channel 4


Halloween SEAC

The latest (and 13th) entry in the long-running Halloween franchise is currently playing in UK cinemas, but the truth is that no entry in the series has ever come close to matching John Carpenter’s magnificent original from 1978. Helping to launch the slasher craze that went on to dominate the 1980s, the film follows babysitter Laurie Strode as she finds herself stalked by masked killer Michael Myers following his escape from an asylum.

Carpenter’s tight direction brilliantly ramps up the tension, while he also builds a uniquely chilling atmosphere that permeates the whole movie – helped by his own iconic score. Put simply, there is no better film to watch in celebration of Halloween.

The Exorcist – Saturday 29th October at 11:55pm, BBC Two

The Exorcist

The Exorcist SEAC

Almost 50 years on from its release, William Friedkin’s masterpiece remains one of the most effective horror movies ever made. The film follows a mother (Ellen Burstyn) who hires two priests to save her possessed daughter – who can spin her head 360 degrees and says all sorts of foul-mouthed things.

Infamously controversial, moviegoers queued outside in the cold for a chance to see it in 1973 – only for many of them to faint upon seeing the film, at least according to urban legend.

Red Rose – Saturday 29th October at 12:30am on BBC Three


Red Rose BBC/Eleven Film/Sam Taylor

This spooky horror drama premiered on BBC Three earlier in the year, and all eight episodes are being repeated on BBC Three over Halloween weekend, with each of them also available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

The series follows a group of school leavers from Bolton who each download a mysterious app called Red Rose, only for it to begin threatening them with dangerous consequences if they don’t meet its demands – and possibly even exposing them to a supernatural entity.

The Babadook – Sunday 30th October at 10:25pm, BBC Two

The Babadook SEAC

One of the best new horror flicks of the last decade, Jennifer Kent’s terrifying debut feature follows a widowed mother whose already difficult task of raising her troubled son is made all the more challenging by the emergence of the titular creature – who first appears in a horrifying children’s book that mysteriously appears in her house.

Both a thoughtful allegory for grievance and depression and a truly disturbing horror film in its own right, the film boasts some excellent creature design and a superb lead performance from Essie Davis.

His House – Sunday 30th October at 10:45pm, BBC Two

His House

His House netflix

This brilliant spin on the classic haunted house tale landed on Netflix two years ago – but is now moving across to BBC iPlayer, beginning with an airing on BBC Two on Sunday night. The debut of filmmaker Remi Weekes, it expertly blends kitchen-sink realism with horror tropes for an affecting and terrifying experience that offers a pointed criticism of the UK’s treatment of refugees.

Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù and Wunmi Mosaku turn in outstanding performances as a couple who flee their home in war-torn South Sudan to seek asylum in the UK, only for them to be faced with the twin horrors of the asylum-seeking process and a horrifying witch that has followed them to Britain.

Ghost Stories – Monday 31st October at 11:15pm, BBC One

Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories SEAC

This portmanteau horror arrived in cinemas in 2017, following a TV professor who finds himself investigating three different – ​​but equally baffling – cases of apparent paranormal activity.

Adapted from the hugely successful stage play of the same name, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, and Martin Freeman take turns to star as the victims of the various spook stories – with Andy Nyman playing the man solving the cases. It’s an ingenious and unsettling film that pays homage to many horror flicks from years gone by.

The Midnight Club – Netflix

The Midnight Club cast

The Midnight Club Eike Schroter/Netflix

Mike Flanagan has made a name for himself as a horror maestro over the past few years, with films such as Doctor Sleep and Gerald’s Game as well as previous series including Midnight Mass and The Haunting of Hill House. Now, he returns with a more teen-skewing series that retains the scare factor of his previous work.

The Midnight Club follows a group of terminally ill young adults at Brightcliffe Home hospice, who meet every night to tell each other ghost stories. It’s a deeply emotional series with a richly developed group of central characters, that also has an intriguing central mystery and jump scares galore.

Read more: The Midnight Club review: Mike Flanagan chiller will break your heart

Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities – Netflix

F. Murray Abraham as Dr. Winters in Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet Of Curiosities

Cabinet of Curiosities Ken Woroner/Netflix

Few modern filmmakers are more skilled at crafting richly macabre worlds than Guillermo del Toro, and now the Mexican maestro has produced this brand new anthology series – which sees a variety of horror creators take it in turns to tell sinister stories.

In the style of classic shows such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Del Toro himself introduces each episode – with Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), Panos Cosmatos (Mandy) and Vincenzo Natali (Cube) among the filmmakers behind the assorted tales. Although distinct, each of the eight installations share stylistic similarities, notably including some top-notch production designs.

Read more: Cabinet of Curiosities review: Guillermo del Toro delivers a Halloween treat

Wendell & Wild, Netflix

Wendell & Wild

Wendell & Wild netflix

The latest stop-motion fantasy from Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick, this film follows two scheming demon brothers (voiced by Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key) who are desperate to reach the Land of the Living.

Complete with all the spooky details and macabre invention you’d expect from Selick’s previous work – and a sly streak of social commentary to boot – it’s another brilliant Halloween treat.

Read more: Wendell & Wild review: Funny, frisky and fully imagined

Also check out our list of best horror films on Netflix. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.

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