Spooky TV Shows (And A Movie) To Watch Before Halloween

Each one is sorted by major monster categories: Vampires, Zombies and Werewolves.

Picture of glowing jack o lantern and wooden Halloween calendar
Aleksandar Cvetanović / Pexels

Each one is sorted by major monster categories: Vampires, Zombies and Werewolves.

It’s that time of year again — Halloween! October 31 is a timeless holiday, and this year it’s falling on a Wednesday. That means you have the weekend and the beginning of next week to get into the holiday mood and fill your body and soul with some scary nostalgia before it rolls around. That being said, be sure to check out these spooky TV shows and a movie before Halloween arrives.

1. Vampires: Van Helsing

Sometimes what’s on TV Friday night beats going out to fight noisy crowds in order to see a scary movie over the Halloween weekend (Halloween 2018, anyone?). Such is the case with the hellishly good vampire series Van Helsing, which is currently enjoying its third season.

For the uninitiated, the story-line of Van Helsing centers around Vanessa Helsing, who is related to the famed vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing. After being bitten by a vampire, she is resurrected to find that they are now in charge and humans are scrambling to survive.

The show itself is extremely well done, and Van Helsing returns with a brand new episode tonight on SYFY at 10 pm EST. Tonight’s episode is a crucial milestone, according to Fansided, because ratings have not been great for the season so far and tonight’s show needs to bring in an upsurge in viewers. With that in mind, the Van Helsing show-runners are hitting up social media and asking fans to really get behind Vanessa and the gang and show their support.

The show-runners also say that Sam the vampire is back tonight, and for edge-of-your-seat thrillers, it doesn’t get much more terrifying than it is when he shows his fangs. Keen-eyed horror buffs will note that Sam is played by veteran actor Christopher Heyerdahl. Van Helsing isn’t Heyerdahl’s first stint as a vampire, either, and he played bloodsuckers in both True Blood and Breaking Dawn.

The Inquisitr previously reported on the renewal of season three for Van Helsing, which owed its “resurrection” in part to a small, but loyal fan-base. Syfy ultimately chose to listen to vocal fans when deciding whether or not to move forward with a third season.

Tune in tonight and the rest of the season so those Van Helsing fans don’t have to work so hard to get a season 4! Where else would you get a chance to see an episode like “I Awake” that was on last Friday in which bad*** vampire hunter Vanessa fought against a gang of vampire martial arts experts in Hong Kong?

2. Zombies: The Walking Dead

Nothing could put you in the spirit of Halloween more than a television show that debuted on Halloween. That honor goes to AMC’s The Walking Dead which debuted on Sunday, October 31, 2010. The series is about a group of survivors experiencing a zombie apocalypse, and the scary show has been a ratings powerhouse for six seasons. TWD helped revive the zombie genre, much like the Twilight franchise did for vampires.

Seasons 7 and 8 saw a sharp decline for Walking Dead ratings for various reasons. For one, there is quite a bit of zombie fatigue after everyone jumped on the success of the revived genre with multiple zombie movies (both good and bad) and zombie television shows such as Z Nation and AMC’s own spin-off of The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead.

Another decline to The Walking Dead‘s viewership can be attributed to the Negan story arc, which like the Governor arc, was felt to be too long by many of the fans. However, Season 9 brings new blood to the series in the way of showrunner Angela Kang, who took the reigns after Scott Gimple was removed by AMC due to a huge ratings plummet in Season 8.

The first few episodes of Season 9 of The Walking Dead seem to be excellent if fans’ reactions are any indication. Additionally, they harken back to the days of when Frank Darabont was at the helm as showrunner and the show was stellar.

Plus, there are only two more episodes until Andrew Lincoln, who has been a part of the show since day one, says adios to his main character Rick Grimes. Seeing what Angela Kang has in store for his exit and what thrills she’s written into the rest of the season is some must-see TV for Halloween and beyond. New episodes of The Walking Dead air Sundays at 9 EST on AMC.

3. Werewolves: Howl

This is a tough one, but let’s cut to the chase, shall we? It’s hard to recommend a Halloween choice for a werewolf TV show or movie because they have been imagined and portrayed in so many different ways — and not always with a successful result. Many horror fans agree that lycanthropes should look like a realistic cross between a human and wolf, but let’s face it, many of them featured in cinema and TV fall short of that.

For instance, the CGI werewolves in Twilight Saga: New Moon, which burst into werewolf form like popcorn, don’t make the cut. To be fair, they are shape-shifters, which Aro from Breaking Dawn pointed out are entirely different creatures.

On the other hand, they can’t be too gnarly like the werewolves in Hemlock Grove. The werewolves in the Grove eat their “mansuit” after transforming, making you want to use the remote to fast forward to keep from retching. Hats off to Eli Roth — you have a gift.

Werewolves have been portrayed so many times on the television and the silver screen, and many of those would probably be terrifying if you met one on the moors a la American Werewolf in London-style. However, the reality is that most of the ones that have been done look like bad computer effects or a person in a hairy latex suit that’s filmed in a way so that you don’t see much of them.

The best werewolf film to watch on Halloween is probably one you’ve never seen before, and it is the tense lycanthrope-on-a-locomotive movie Howl. This spooky werewolf movie was a direct-to-video British indie horror monster movie that was released in 2015. The makeup job on the werewolves and gore in the movie is grimly convincing and Pat Torfe of Bloody Disgusting said that “Howl lives up to its title in many ways.”