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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Trailer Tuesday: Cane Strain

This week, it’s all about a TV tease for an upcoming show I have high hopes for. We’ve all seen movies where fans of the original book have bemoaned the quality of the screen translation, but for Guillermo Del Toro and Carlton Cuse’s upcoming FX series ‘The Strain’ a hardcore following in waiting has already devoured a trilogy of books like the bloodthirsty infected. Disappointment may result in a real-life apocalypse.

Although no full trailer has been released yet, the teaser campaign has started with the second clip below going for the enigmatic approach (the first tease was of a Manhattan skyline darkening). A cane descends on a city street and is littered with wrapped candy – the silver-tipped cane can only represent the weapon of choice for vampire plague survivor, Abraham Setrakian, who will be played by John Hurt in the show.

For those who haven’t read the books (and even for those who have), the trail doesn’t reveal much but Cuse’s proven TV chops paired with Del Toro’s original vampiric vision will hopefully result in a gory genre classic. ‘The Strain’ is set to debut for a 13-episode run this summer in the States, so look out for more previews soon.