Scariest TV Episodes

TV's Scariest Episodes: Hushed Buffy, Bloody Supernatural, Horror Story Origins, Incestuous X-Files and More

Confession: We may be seasoned TV watchers, but some of our favorite shows still give us the chills.

In honor of Halloween (Eve), Team TVLine is sharing the episodes that have traumatized, scarred and haunted us.

From the Twin Peaks reveal that plagued our nightmares to a particularly bloody episode of Supernatural that one of us still can’t get up the nerve to finish, this gallery is sure to raise some chilling memories.

Click through our gallery below — or here for direct access — to find out which installments from Buffy, Doctor Who, Fringe, True Detective and more made our list. Then hit the comments to share your picks!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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39 Comments
  1. KC says:

    The X-Files “Home” was the single most scariest episode of any TV show I have seen. I watched when it originally aired and I will NEVER watch it again – I skip over it every time!

    • Courtney says:

      I was watching it recently and I was like …this seems pretty scary for a X-Files episode. It was gory and honestly hard to watch. I researched later and found out the episode was infamous. Makes sense.

    • SAM says:

      YES!!!!! Whenever there is a question about scariest movie/show on a website, I always refer to that one. I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it. Goosebumps right now…

    • sanchopanza says:

      Agreed. I never even think of it, I guess it’s repressed. I thought at the time that it was just too mean for The X-Files – that is, whoever wrote it was writing a horror movie instead and shoved it in our faces to say, “Take THAT, you dumb UFO freaks!”

    • Lerbert says:

      Yep. That one will be floating around in my mind forever. I watched X Files when it aired with my Dad and we reference that episode a couple times a year.

      And shout-out to the Dancing Dog aka Sparky…Moooom!

  2. peterwdawson says:

    Yeah Hush and Blink are definitely up there for me, I love it when what seems like a simple concept ends up being executed beautifully. “You’ve lost your voice.” “Statues can move.” Everything just builds on this beautifully.

  3. Al says:

    I am going also add the season 6 finale of Greys ( yes a little unconventional) but I remember watching that live and I was scared out of my mind

  4. madbengalsfan85 says:

    As much as I loved Don’t Blink, I think Silence in the Library is just a little more spooky

    • madbengalsfan85 says:

      Blink, not Don’t Blink (oops)

    • Amy says:

      The Vashta Nerada were pretty creepy. What hides in the shadows versus the monster hiding in plain site. Both scary as heck.

    • Red Snapper says:

      ‘Silence in the Library’ is another one of my favorites. I don’t find it as scary ‘Blink’, as I explain below nothing is scarier to me than a Weeping Angel, but it does creep me out a bit. Its up there as one of my favorites because its a good story and we meet the very awesome River Song for the first time.

  5. Angela says:

    Okay, now I kind of want to see that “Bloody Mary” episode. I’m way too much of a wimp to try out the legend myself, but the description of the episode has me curious.
    .
    In regards to shows/episodes NOT listed in here, “Criminal Minds” has definitely made quite a few episodes that made my skin crawl. Namely whenever Gubler’s in the director’s chair. “The Lesson” and “Mr. Scratch” were particularly disturbing and creepy episodes.
    .
    And then I’d also add episodes like “Omnivore”-first time we ever saw Foyet, and they did NOT hold back in making him horrifying, and “To Hell and Back” (especially creepy considering the real events that episode was inspired by). “Revelations” always puts me on edge a bit, too, especially when Hankel’s playing Russian Roulette with Reid.
    .
    “The Twilight Zone” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” also deserve mention. SO many scary episodes there. With “Twilight Zone”, it’s “Twenty-Two” (“Room for one more, honey” *Shivers*) and “The Hitchhiker” that always particularly scare me (and “It’s a Good Life” can certainly be added here, too). And with Hitchcock, I remember seeing an episode of his show called “An Unlocked Window”, and I basically watched the last half hour or so of it through my fingers (and that killer’s laugh…UGH). So. Freaking. Creepy.

    • Angela says:

      Adding on…also, if shows aimed at kids are going to be in here, you can’t go wrong with “Are You Afraid of the Dark” :D.

    • Joe says:

      The hitchhiker is the single scariest episode of twilight zone… 22 is great too…

    • steven says:

      Don’t forget the Eye of the Beholder episode.

    • sanchopanza says:

      I like your choices, Angela. Especially Alfred Hitchcock. I was of an age where I liked scary stuff but wasn’t quite secure with it yet. It came on late. There was a night when my parents were in bed and the house was dark except for the living room. My brother was out but coming home soon, and the episode had me so scared I found a hammer and sat there with it till he came in, rather than go down the dark hall to my room.

      • Angela says:

        Thanks :)!
        .
        Oh, yeah, I know that feeling. I’ve loved scary stories since I was young, too, but I definitely remember taking precautions to “guard” myself against the scary stuff I saw or read all the same. At least the scary stories I read or watched clearly did what they intended, so there’s that :p. But you poor thing, being so scared like that! Hitchcock’s stories would absolutely be downright frightening for children to see. Just seeing his shadow on the screen was enough to scare me-I even remember having a dream once that that shadow was chasing me!
        .
        I don’t blame you for not wanting to make the trek down the dark hall, either. I’ve had a thing about long, empty, and especially darkened, hallways ever since I was a kid-I used to run down the hall to my room at night sometimes after watching something scary. They can be quite creepy, for sure.

  6. Steven says:

    Good ol’ Michael Ausiello throwing Santa Barbara in there. Made me laugh.

  7. Joe says:

    Actually the season 1 episode of supernatural, provenance, is scarier than bloody Mary and the scariest episode of the series imo…watched the last 10 minutes with eyes half closed…

    • Anna says:

      There are a couple of early Supernatural episodes (mostly from the first 2 seasons) that are genuinely scary – like watch through your fingers scary. Bloody Mary and Provenance are pretty freaking unsettling (I felt freaked out for months any time I was around old portraits), but Scarecrow and Playthings rank pretty high on the creepy meter, too.

  8. Spence says:

    Nothing for Walking Dead? The second episode of this season with the Wolves attack was pretty terrifying, not to mention the two-part horror-fest of Terminus in the season 4 finale and season 5 premiere.

    • sanchopanza says:

      I get your point. It’s not just the scary walkers and the carnage, but the horrible things people do to other people. That scene where the guy in Terminus was cutting throats while they bled into the trough…ick.

  9. sam says:

    The Bones episode The Headles Witch in the Woods scared me the first time I watched it so I skip over it whenever I do a rewatch. Silence in the Library also creeps me out.

  10. Ryan says:

    Before seeing the slides, “Home” was the first episode I thought of.

  11. Eran says:

    I was missing Six Feet Under’s season 4 episode, ‘That’s not my Dog’ from this list when David picked up that hitchhiker and it all turned into a night of the worst kind of psychological terror, imaginable. I’ll never forget the next day at the office. You could tell by the shell shocked faces around you, who had watched Six Feet Under the night before. That episode scarred me.

  12. Dark Defender says:

    “Blink” is near the top of my list.. But these 3 are right up there:
    .
    1. “To Serve Man” (Twilight Zone). Aliens invade, give a book to humans (bearing the episodes title) that needs to be deciphered and at the every end – they figure out “To Serve Man” is a cookbook. Scared the crap out of me as a kid.
    .
    2. “Marionette” (FRINGE). Creepy guy stealing body parts to resurrect his girl – who he has on strings. I can’t even look at the *NSYNC’s No Strings Attached album after watching this one.
    .
    3. “Thank You” (The Walking Dead). Seeing the swarm of zombies closing in on Glenn and Nicholas while they jumped atop the dumpster with seemingly no where to go? Was the scariest hour of television I have ever seen (bar none). My heart is still pounding just thinking about it.

  13. Robby says:

    Mike, totally with you on Santa Barbara. It was so great. Granted, I was put of that they canceled The Match Game/Hollywood Squares hour. It took time, but I loved SB.

    The scariest episode came when Cruz was going to marry Eden. But the episode before, his bride died. Cruz went nuts, finally kills himself. He goes to purgatory. When he gets to Heaven, Eden is there waiting for him. The pair try to hug each other, but they can’t, unless they go back to earth. They jump back to earlier that day. Both thinking it was only a dream.

    That freaked me out for years.

  14. Robby says:

    The Scariest episode of any is a later season episode of MASH. It was the episode when between floods of wounded, the gang takes a nap, only to have horrible nightmares. Even today, when I find it on ME-TV, I change the channel!

    • Dark Defender says:

      That M*A*S*H* episode was titled “Dreams”- and was one of the few they aired without a laugh track, which made it all the more eerie.

  15. jeff says:

    Six Feet Under’s “Thats my dog” stayed with me for a while.

  16. Red Snapper says:

    ‘Hush’, ‘Blink’ and ‘Home’ are three episodes that have always stuck with me. I remember watching them all when they first aired and they all scared me. Weeping Angels have become the scariest things to me. I have no idea why but they just creep me out. Any episode with them I watch with caution. The first time watching ‘Blink’ I kept checking the room for statues to see if they were moving even though I knew that didn’t own any sort of a statue. I still check whenever I watch an episode with them. I am now currently checking for creepy angel statues. I think I’ll watch at least ‘Hush’ and ‘Blink’ this weekend,

    • Angela says:

      Your thing about checking to see if they were moving reminded me of when I went to Madame Touissant’s wax museum in New York City on a school trip. I remember looking at all the wax statues of the celebrities, and I seriously expected some of them to blink. It was a little unnerving.

  17. Ray says:

    As much as I was freaked out over BOB in the mirror, it was him starting in the corner of the Leland living room and proceeding to crawl over every piece of furniture toward the camera with that EXPRESSION on his face that I still shiver to think about.

  18. Sheila says:

    ‘Blink’, while a great episode, wasn’t scary at all. I laughed like a loon when the angels were surrounding Sally. They became creepier in later episodes, but Blink was just comedic.

  19. Hege says:

    I agree completly when it comes to the Twin Peak episode. It scared the crap out of me when it aired. As for X-Files, I can’t even remember the episode… I do however remember the episode “Tooms”. That was scary.

  20. Imagecrafters says:

    Blink and Hush are the two best episodes ever!