Five Best Horror Shows on TV

The 1960s gave us great spooky shows like The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Outer Limits. Shows of that caliber disappeared until the 1990s when we were blessed with viewing material such as Tales from the Crypt, Twin Peaks, and The X-Files. Then they kinda died again - until now.

The last few years have shown a steady rise in horror television - and I mean serious horror television, not vampire-slaying teenagers or mystery-solving children. We are now seeing grotesque monsters, ruthless killers, and professional gore FX. The most recent addition is ABC's The River, from Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity). I have yet to watch this one, but if you have seen it, please share your thoughts in the comments below!

The River is only the latest in a surge of horror television. Here are five you should be watching:

5. True Blood (HBO)

If gratuitous sex and blood are your thing, True Blood is the show for you. There are no sparkling vampires here, just blood-thirsty carnivores. We get throats ripped open, hearts pulled out, heads popped off, and more exploding bodies than I can even count. In addition to vampires, this world is full of werewolves, shape-shifters, witches, and various other mythical monsters. The show can be clichéd, silly, and heavy on the Sookie-Bill mush at times, but stick with it for the "Oh shit!" moments (two words: Russell Edgington). True Blood - currently on break - returns in June, Sunday nights on HBO.

4. Death Valley (MTV)

I was just as amazed as anyone that MTV has something worth watching. This overlooked horror/comedy/mockumentary follows a team of specialty SoCal cops as they handle complaints of zombies, werewolves, and vampires. The 'COPS' format is overdone, I know, but Death Valley really works. The cast is incredibly funny and the gore FX are jaw-dropping. These days, it is rare to see practical FX, let alone practical FX this creative and over-the-top, let alone on television! Death Valley's first season recently ended and word on a second season is still forthcoming.

3. American Horror Story (FX)

American Horror Story relies less on gore and more on genuine creepiness. Season 1 tells the story of a home haunted by the spirits of everyone who lived and died there. The first two or three episodes are clichéd but stick with it, as it gets very good as we see more disturbing history. Sex and children play a large role, as well, nodding to such horror classics as Rosemary's Baby and Don't Look Now. Season 1 has ended, but season 2  has been confirmed. Many of the cast members will return in different roles, as each season will revolve around a brand new scary story. This sort of format is really unique for television and leaves me so eager to see where AHS goes next!

2. The Walking Dead (AMC)

Based on Robert Kirman's fantastic comic books, The Walking Dead is full of zombies, but the title actually refers to the human beings. What could have been a simple z-horror has become an intense look at humanity in the face of extinction. Season 1 opened and closed perfectly, with a bit of a struggle in-between. Season 2, which began October 2011, has not been without its flaws, but since its mid-season hiatus, has been incredible. In addition to mind-blowing gore/zombie FX from legend Greg Nicotero & co., the show has some great drama and pants-shitting moments. The show is better than it has ever been right now, so if you are not watching, catch up before the spoiler goblins get to you! The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC.

1. Dexter (Showtime)

Here is a show that delivers equally on the visceral and the emotional. Dexter Morgan is a forensics technician who moonlights as a serial killer to suppress his need to kill. But he only kills murderers, so it's all good. Over the last 6 seasons, Dexter has faced off with some serious foes, resulting in moments so shocking they seemed like the end for our anti-hero. He has also faced some intense personal experiences that leave the audience shaken. If you have been missing out on Dexter, you are missing not just a t.v. show but an experience. This is the show to watch for horror fans or anyone else. Season 7 has been confirmed, but no date has yet been announced.

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