31 Days of Halloween: 7 short-lived, surprisingly good horror TV shows you probably forgot existed

The horror genre can be a tough nut to crack on television, and for every American Horror Story that becomes a hit — there are a whole lot more shows that meet a quick and terrible fate.

Looking beyond the obvious horror hits, and even the less obvious ones (i.e. Friday the 13th: The Series, 666 Park Avenue, etc.) that at least managed to snag a few fans, there are a few DOA horror shows out there that were actually worth checking out. From shows with stars before they found their niche (Haunted) to shows with premises that were just a bit too ahead of their time (R.I.P. Miracles), here are some deep-cut horror show's you probably forgot existed.

So hit up the streaming services, eBay and Amazon — because these are all worth a look this October.

Point Pleasant


This 2005 Fox series was basically the sweet spot between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Melrose Place. Yes, it sounds kind of weird — but it totally worked. Point Pleasant followed a teenager girl who shows up in a small town and turns out to be the Antichrist. Oops. The series embraced the soapy elements of the relationships at the heart of the concept, and was a good time for those who actually checked it out. Plus, the series came from executive producer Marti Noxon, who worked with Joss Whedon for several years on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So, bonus points.


Happy Town

This short-lived 2010 series from ABC made a hard push into Twin Peaks territory but didn’t find nearly as much success in the weirdness of it all. Set in the creepy little town of Haplin, the story picks up with the disappearance of several people due to the mysterious “Magic Man.” The mysteries got deeper as the (all-too-brief) episode run went on, and it seems the disappearances have something to do with a strange French film. The eight episodes that were produced had the excellent foundation for a creepy mythology, which could’ve at least carried this one through a compelling first season. Instead, Happy Town turned out to be a very short vacation stop for viewers.



A smart, creepy thriller about a cop who gets a little too close to the spirit world following a near-death experience. Haunted (briefly) served as a companion series to Buffy the Vampire Slayer following that show's move to UPN, but was axed after just a handful of episodes due to awful ratings. But, the show was great — and was planting the seeds for an excellent, genuinely scary mythology with some interesting themes and characters. Other random note: It starred Matthew Fox, just before he became a household name on Lost.


The River

The culmination of the found footage horror genre, this 2010 horror series basically took that format and reassembled it into the tale of a boat crew trying to make their way through the uncharted Amazon basin. The crew is comprised of the son and wife of a famed explorer who disappeared while searching for dark magic, who are lured to the area when his emergency beacon goes off. The show managed to pull off some genuine scares, and if you’re into the genre, proved an entertaining ride. The project was actually conceived as an “event series,” so it ran its course — though the creators had planned for a second season if it proved successful. Obviously, it didn’t.



Lasting just a few weeks on Fox in 2001, this series is quintessential early-2000s. It’s basically The X-Files filtered through Generation X, heavily influenced by the early days of the Internet. All things considered, the details don’t hold up too well in the modern day, but it’s almost like a genre time capsule of the era. Plus, it was actually a whole lot of fun, and had some nice mysteries baked into the premise. Interestingly, this is one of those shows that has the feel that it could’ve been a big hit, but, it wasn’t meant to be. Also of note: It starred a young Ethan Embry, decades before he joined up with the survivors of The Walking Dead this season.



It's a travesty this show didn’t make it beyond a short debut season. Starring a pre-Jericho Skeet Ulrich and Angus Macfadyen as investigators who essentially try to prove and disprove miracles, it dealt with heavy themes like religion, faith and fate — all filtered through these compelling characters struggling to make sense of the world. It ended on an excellent cliffhanger, which made the axe all the more depressing. It’s a show that absolutely had legs, but low ratings and crummy scheduling doomed it before it had a shot to find them. If you can find it, watch it.


The Fades

This series ran for just a few weeks in the fall of 2011, but it was one of the creepiest and coolest genre shows to hit the airwaves. The British supernatural drama followed a teen who could see the souls of those who can’t pass on (dubbed “Fades”) to the afterlife, and they’re piling up on Earth. After being stuck here a while, those spirits get angry — and the young man at the heart of the series gets pulled into a battle for the fate of mankind, itself. Also of note: You might notice some familiar genre faces in that cast shot above. A BBC Three production, the show's six-episode run won the BAFTA award for best drama series in 2012. 

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