Telly Terrors

With only a week to go until Halloween, it’s time to sit in a dark room with some popcorn and get suitably terrified. Only, with the glut of premier TV horror available to fans of guts ‘n’ gore, that dark room doesn’t necessarily have to be a cinema anymore.

Sure, with ‘The Babadook’ and Joe Hill adap ‘Horns’ treating scary movie fans in the run-up to All Hallows’ Eve, the state of horror cinema isn’t looking too shabby – this week anyway. But with UK fans having been treated to the first outing to ‘American Horror Story’s suitably freaky ‘Freak Show’ this week, there’s as much chance – if not more – of being wigged out by the terrors in the tellybox.

american horror story

^ That guy is obviously nightmare-worthy, and will haunt the dreams of any sensible adult – let alone any unfortunate kiddies who tune in after bedtime, in a similar way Pennywise all but ruined my formative years after I stayed up too late one Sunday night in the ’90s.

Even so, if you haven’t caught the awesomely alarming anthology antics of Jessica Lange and co. (and Lange’s singing is sure to give you night terrors even if the homicidal clown doesn’t), you’ll be able to find some top quality horror without leaving the house thanks to TV’s recent embrace of entrails and entropy.

tv terror

‘The Walking Dead’ may be one of the biggest shows of the moment (and rightly so) but there is plenty more gore for TV fans to gorge on. ‘Sleepy Hollow’ adds a fantastical spin, ‘Bates Motel’ riffs on Hitchcock for a noir-ish serial killer origin story, while Bryan Fuller’s deliciously stylish ‘Hannibal’ is an all-the-trimmings feast for Lecter fans.

The genre has even carved a bloody niche on Netflix, with ‘Hostel’ man Eli Roth guaranteed a final third season for his hit-and-miss ‘Hemlock Grove’. Meanwhile, Guillermo del Toro’s vampire saga ‘The Strain’ is already proving infectious, whilst Eva Green lent a magnetic malevolence to Sky’s ‘Penny Dreadful’ which will hopefully deliver on its promise second time around. Even this year’s critical darling ‘True Detective’s crime saga was spun with Southern gothic, its denouement a descent into Hell itself.

Why all the post-watershed horror, why now? I don’t care, basically. Not since ‘The X Files’ followed in ‘The Twilight Zone’s bloody footsteps 20 years ago, keeping us up all night with classic episodes like ‘Squeeze’ and ‘Home’, has TV been in such a fantastically frightening state.

Halloween countdown starts here!

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14 for 2014: New on Netflix

netflix original content

Following in the footsteps of last year’s Emmy Awards, last night’s razzle-dazzle Golden Globes saw Hollywood recognising the influence of online streaming service Netflix. The international entertainment platform is reaping the rewards of its decision to produce original content; while Robin Wright grabbed a gong for her role in ‘House of Cards’ yesterday, David Fincher’s political thriller was nominated alongside other Netflix productions including ‘Orange is the New Black’ and the new season of ‘Arrested Development’.

So, a new year promises to bring more Netflix shows – and potential future nominees. As well as new seasons of ‘House of Cards’ (which starts next month), ‘Weeds’ creator Jenji Kohan’s black comedy ‘Orange is the New Black’ and Eli Roth’s barmy supernatural series ‘Hemlock Grove’, there’s even more to look forward to.

netflix 2014

From cult-bait comedy animation ‘Bojack Horseman’ to new shows focusing on Marco Polo and Pablo Escobar, there’s something for everyone. Geeks in the room? You’ll be back-to-back downloading ‘Sense8’, due in late 2014 and the brainchild of the Wachowskis. I’m hoping for the same gasp-inducing sci-fi showmanship that left me floored a decade ago when I first saw ‘The Matrix’. Let it be Netflix, let it be.