Your heart pounds against your chest, goosebumps pop up on your arms, and the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. And as the anticipation builds, something on the screen causes you to jump, your blood turning cold before the fear subsides and you appreciate how gruesomely captivating the effects, makeup, soundtrack and acting are. That's right, you're a fan of horror TV series. While most people think getting scared isn't the ideal way to be entertained, they probably never been blown away by the creativity and creepiness of shows like American Horror Story, Sleepy Hollow or The Walking Dead.
Sure, it's a genre that is an acquired taste, but for fans who eat this type of content up, there is no denying that there are lots of options on TV right now. Taking a look at the various horror series this fall, there is definitely something for everyone, whether you are a fan of the more twisted dark drama, or hilariously entertaining horror parody.
We've been stalking the current state of the horror genre to give you your guide to the best TV series that will thrill and chill you. These are the shows that have survived our cut.
American Horror Story: Hotel
For four seasons American Horror Story has been terrorizing fans in the best way possible. Created by Ryan Murphy, the first season that was later retitled AHS: Murder House renewed our fear in ghosts, proving that just when we thought we couldn't be more surprised, another twist was just around the corner.
What's so unique about this series is each season features new storylines and characters (although many of the actors, like Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Jessica Lange, Emma Roberts and Katy Bates, return), so the viewer doesn't need to have watched previous seasons when watching a particular season. However, Murphy does include some subtle ties-ins as seen in AHS: Asylum and Freak Show, to the delight of hardcore fans.
We've had storylines set in a mental institution (arguably the best season to date), a season about a coven of witches, and circus outcasts—pretty much any terrifying theme you can think of. And now Lady Gaga is joining the cast in season 5 titled AHS: Hotel, which will probably make us never want to check into a hotel alone again.
Just watching the open credits alone leaves us intensely creeped out, making it a must-see show for any true horror fan.
AHS: Hotel premieres Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. EDT on FX.
Speaking of hotels where guests don't check out, Bates Motel is one of the best thrillers on television for fans who love the cult-classic film Psycho. A prequel to the movie, Bates Motel follows a teenage Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his weird relationship with his mother Norma (Vera Farniga). The mother-and-son duo buy a hotel (and live in a house on the hill behind it) after the mysterious death of Norma's husband.
Highmore does an amazing job portraying the mentally unstable character, as he tries to make sense of his strange blackouts.
Bates Motel was renewed for a fourth and fifth season, which makes it the longest-running original drama series in A&E's history. If you are looking for a drama based on a story you know and love, then Bates Motel is for you.
Bates Motel returns on A&E in early 2016, so now is the time to check in for some serious binge watching.
Sure, there are a whole lot of zombie shows on TV (we'll get to more later). But iZombie is a series that sets itself apart by not focusing on survival during the zombie apocalypse. Instead, this horror series follows the story of Olivia Moore (Rose McIver), who survives an attack by a cannibalistic killer, but wakes up craving human brain. Liv then becomes a medical examiner who eats the brains of victims to uncover the crime that led to their death.
And let's face it, we have been looking to devour a show of this nature since the curtain was closed on NBC's Hannibal horror thriller.
iZombie is a series for those looking for a fresh take on flesh eaters, while whetting the appetites of those who like crime and police shows.
iZombie airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EDT on the CW.
If you are a fan of horror, then you know how silly storylines can be. How many times did you yell at the TV for the dumb character running into the dark by themselves with the killer lurking around the corner? Scream Queens, another creation from Ryan Murphy, is the parody series that pokes fun at the genre.
Scream Queens is about a devil-masked killer who is targeting a sorority house, and can most appropriately be described as Mean Girls meets Sorority Row. Just remember to take this series with a light heart. Some of the jokes are racist and it is full of stereotypes, but if you can get past this and give it a chance, you will see how funny it can be at times.
The series features a killer cast, including AHS alumni Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, appearances by Ariana Grande and Nick Jonas, and Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis.
This series can be a bit silly at times, but can be so bad it's good (like Grande having to tweet before dying, and a Backstreet Boys chainsaw massacre). But even though this is a show that gives us a good laugh, there are still some gory murders that will delight horror fans.
Watch the cast scream their heads off (literally!) when Scream Queens airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EDT on Fox.
If you are looking for a series that explores the supernatural, look no further than Sleepy Hollow. We all love the classic tale from Washington Irving, and Fox brings the story to life with a modern day twist. Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) wakes up in the 21st century, and teams up with Abbie Mills (Nichole Beharie) to stop the Headless Horseman. It turns out he is the Horseman of Death from the apocalypse, so get ready for lots to evil spirits to be awakened in Sleepy Hollow.
While season 2 fell flat among fans, season three is off to a great start, introducing new characters as the duo continues to put an end to the various dark forces. There is so much this show offers, whether you are into witchcraft, demons, ghosts, or historical references.
Sleepy Hollow airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. EDT on Fox.
But if you are really into the supernatural, then chances are you are already watching the CW series of the same name. Supernatural has been on for a seriously long time, first premiering in 2005. The series follows bothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), who are ghost and demon hunters. Show creator Eric Kripke developed the series for years, being interesting in urban legends since childhood. That means the series includes terrifying monsters and creatures like vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, dragons, and all kinds of demons.
If the season 11 trailer is any indication of what's in store for the Winchester brothers, then fans certainly won't be disappointed.
Supernatural season 11 premieres Wednesday, Oct. 7, on the CW.
The Walking Dead
How can we talk about horror series without spotlighting The Walking Dead? For five seasons, The Walking Dead has earned its rightful place as arguably the best zombie series on television. Based on the comic book and developed by Frank Darabont, The Walking Dead follows the story of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), who wakes from a coma to find the zombie apocalypse has arrived. He becomes the leader of a gang of survivors who fight for their lives to protect themselves against the walkers.
But of course, you probably already knew that. The Walking Dead is a drama that is full of shocking moments, and doesn't hold back when it comes to the decrepit undead.
In its sixth season, Grimes and the gang must fight the walkers head-on as they circle in on Alexandria, and the group begins to question how much they can trust their leader.
The Walking Dead season 6 premieres on Sunday, Oct. 11 at 9 p.m. EDT on AMC.
And the success of The Walking Dead has lead to its spin-off, Fear The Walking Dead, which serves as a prequel to the popular series. The series just wrapped up, so get ready to binge-watch if you are looking for more zombie content. Fans can also check out Fear The Walking Dead: Flight 462, a web series that will air during the commercial breaks during season 6 of the main series. If you already fear flying, then you may want to stay away from this one since zombies attack on an aircraft in midflight. But horror fans will definitely want to see this this spin-off take off.
Now it's time to turn down the lights and turn on one of these shows that will surely give you the good scare you are looking for.