Welcome to The A-Z of Horror – an alphabetical window into to the horror genre. Over the course of 26 days, I’ll be taking a look at horror in all its facets and forms, offering up suggestions of what to watch, should you be in the mood for a real good scare.

Today: A is for Anthology

When it comes to horror, I absolutely adore anthologies; i.e. TV shows composed of a collection of short stories. Whether it’s Goosebumps and Black Mirror or Eerie Indiana and Tales from the Darkside, anthology shows offer something for everyone.

Three series in particular stand out as my go-to anthology shows: Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Tales from the Crypt and The Twilight Zone. Each of these shows never fails to creep me out, no matter how many times I watch them, and none of them require anything of me other than my attention.

If you’re new to Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Tales from the Crypt or The Twilight Zone, here’s what you need to know:

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Are-You-Afraid-of-the-Dark

Image: Nickelodeon

Are You Afraid of the Dark? was a Canadian children’s horror series, which originally aired on Nickelodeon from 1990 until 2000. The show comprised seven seasons, totaling 91 episodes throughout its run, with a fair few episodes offering up some genuinely creepy moments. Yes, even though it was a kid’s show, Are You Afraid of the Dark? could provide some (mild) scares. Episodes of note include: ‘The Tale of Apartment 214’ (1994), ‘The Tale of the Crimson Clown’ (1994), ‘The Tale of the Dead Man’s Float’ (1995), ‘The Tale of the Doll Maker’ (1994), ‘The Tale of the Dream Girl’ (1994), ‘The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner’ (1994), ‘The Tale of Laughing in the Dark’ (1992), ‘The Tale of the Night Shift’ (1996), ‘The Tale of the Phone Police’ (1994) and ‘The Tale of the Super Specs’ (1992).

Tales from the Crypt 

Tales from the Crypt TV

Image: HBO

Tales from the Crypt was an American horror series produced by HBO. The show ran from 1989 until 1996, taking in seven seasons and 93 episodes, and was filled with blood, gore and adult content – making it perfect for horror fanatics. The series became known for the huge amount of famous actors and directors it welcomed each week, ranging from the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Demi Moore to Kirk Douglas and Christopher Reeve. Episodes of note include: ‘Abra Cadaver’ (1991), ‘Death of Some Salesman’ (1993), ‘Four-sided Triangle’ (1990), ‘None But the Lonely Heart’ (1992), ‘People Who Live in Brass Hearses’ (1993), ‘Split Personality’ (1992), ‘Split Second’ (1991), ‘The New Arrival’ (1992), ‘Top Billing’ (1991) and ‘Yellow’ (1991).

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone

Image: CBS

Created and presented by Rod Serling, The Twilight Zone is arguably the granddaddy of all anthology shows, having first hit the airwaves in 1959. The show ran for five seasons, comprising 156 episodes, with Serling writing and/or co-writing 92 episodes. There are so many great stories in The Twilight Zone it’s difficult to single them all out, but notable episodes include: ‘It’s A Good Life’ (1961), ‘Night Call’ (1964), ‘Nothing in the Dark’ (1962), ‘The Hitch-Hiker’ (1960), ‘The Masks’ (1964) and ‘The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street’ (1960).

If you’ve never watched any of the above show’s and you fancy giving them a whirl, I’d recommend diving into the episodes I’ve picked out. Tales from the Crypt is easily the most gruesome, with Are You Afraid of the Dark? sitting at the other end of the spectrum.

Should you want to explore other anthology shows, why not try out the likes of American Horror Story or Channel Zero? Both of these shows use an anthology approach, but stretch the concept over the course of a season rather than just an episode.

Tomorrow: B is for…