The Best Horror TV Episodes of 2018, Chosen By the Bloody Disgusting Staff - Bloody Disgusting
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The Best Horror TV Episodes of 2018, Chosen By the Bloody Disgusting Staff

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*Keep up with our ongoing end of the year coverage here*

It’s been said quite a bit in recent years that we’re living in a “golden age” of television, and that’s certainly true when it comes to horror. This year has seen the birth of “The Haunting of Hill House,” “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” “Into the Dark” and “Castle Rock,” as well as the continuation of longtime hits like “American Horror Story” and “The Walking Dead.”

Needless to say, horror’s dominance over the small screen continued in 2018, and it’s a testament to how good small screen horror was this year that we couldn’t even trim this list down to a mere 10 episodes and feel good about it. And so, we ended up putting together a list of the *twelve* best horror TV episodes of 2018, collectively chosen by our writers.

Here’s what Meagan Navarro, John Squires and Daniel Kurland loved on TV this year.


AHS Apocalypse 806-1

“American Horror Story: Apocalypse” – ‘Return to Murder House’

  • Chosen by Daniel Kurland

When it was announced that the latest season of “American Horror Story” would function as a crossover season between the show’s “Murder House” and “Coven” years—arguably two of the show’s strongest seasons—fans were understandably excited. However, much like with every season of the show, “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” turned out to be yet another half-baked circle jerk of a season that simultaneously had too many ideas and too few. The execution and the conclusion of “AHS: Apocalypse” may have been problematic, but the season’s high mark was definitely ‘Return to Murder House,’ an episode so satisfying it could very well be the best episode from the show’s entire run.

‘Return to Murder House’ largely served as one big epilogue for all of the tortured spirits from “AHS: Murder House,” acting as a welcome homecoming to the “Murder House” crew. And it also gave those characters the peaceful closure that they weren’t able to get before. Really, it was a big ole love letter to the entirety of “American Horror Story.” and in spite of the season’s many faults, this incredible episode effectively justified the season’s entire existence. And that’s pretty impressive, don’t you think?


“Ash vs. Evil Dead” – ‘Judgement Day’

  • Chosen by Meagan Navarro

The penultimate episode of the final season of “Ash vs. Evil Dead” marked the beginning of an epic apocalyptic battle for Ash and the Ghost Beaters. Season 3 was also the first season to not have its final showdown set at the cabin, a welcome and refreshing change of pace. Moreover, it brought the series full circle by tying up story threads planted in season one, and Ash’s daughter Brandy finally followed in daddy’s footsteps proper with her own Deadite battle in a shed. Ruby was finally vanquished in a satisfying way, and the small glimpse of Kandar the Destroyer teased a larger-than-life fight for humanity. Everything that came before was building up to this grand finale, and we weren’t worthy.


“Castle Rock” – ‘The Queen’

  • Chosen by John Squires

As a whole, I was pretty disappointed by Hulu’s “Castle Rock,” which began with such promise but quickly fizzled out and was ultimately very unsatisfying in the end. The brilliant concept of telling new stories in the world of Stephen King is one with endless potential, but the debut season of “Castle Rock” hardly lived up to it. That is, until “The Queen” came along.

Driven by a Emmy-worthy performance from Sissy Spacek, the season’s seventh episode was one of the all-time finest episodes of horror television, depicting Ruth Deaver’s utterly heartbreaking struggles with Alzheimer’s in a brilliantly immersive way. As Ruth jumped between space and time and reckoned with past and present, we went through all of it with her, culminating in the total heartbreak of a confused Ruth accidentally killing the love of her life. Thanks to this episode alone, “Castle Rock” became unforgettable television in 2018.


“Channel Zero: The Dream Door” – ‘Love Hurts’

  • Chosen by John Squires

Not surprisingly, the team behind Syfy’s “Channel Zero” hit another home run with “The Dream Door,” the anthology series’ fourth (and quite possibly best) season. Like the previous seasons, “The Dream Door” managed to create an unforgettable new horror icon in the form of Pretzel Jack, a make-believe childhood creation that comes to life and wreaks havoc in the lives of its creator Jillian and her husband Tom. The season’s high point was ‘Love Hurts’ (episode 3), which really solidified “The Dream Door” as another stroke of brilliance for the series.

‘Love Hurts’ kicked off with an incredibly intense sequence of violence but culminated in most unexpected fashion, with the deadly Pretzel Jack and Jillian embracing each other with a hug. It’s the episode where everything started coming together, and it’s also the one that made it clear that Pretzel Jack is one of the best horror characters in years. We learned here that Pretzel Jack is Jillian’s “emotional defense system,” and the surprisingly emotional realization that the season’s villain and the season’s heroine are one and the same really took the story’s concept to a whole new level of compelling. The best horror stories use monsters as reflections of ourselves, and “The Dream Door” rather brilliantly knocked that ball completely out of the park.

“Channel Zero” remains the most exciting horror franchise going right now.


“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” – ‘Dreams in a Witch House’

  • Chosen by Meagan Navarro

Chapter five of Netflix’s deliciously satanic “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” evoked a sense of nostalgia for the monster-of-the-week episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And a little bit of A Nightmare on Elm Street, too. The episode saw Sabrina and the Spellman household under attack from the demon she accidentally loosed in the previous episode. That demon, Batibat, traps its victims in a deep nightmare state, causing Sabrina, her cousin Ambrose, and her aunts to face their worst fears. Batibat makes for a fun foe, but this episode also allowed Sabrina to shine as the hero for once, with only a little outside help from her aunts, Salem, and the mysterious Ms. Wardwell. It was all around an entertaining high point for the show’s debut season.


“The Haunting of Hill House” – ‘Two Storms’

  • Chosen by Meagan Navarro

Continuous long tracking takes, circling camera trickery, and intricate technical preparation that required over a month of choreography and rehearsal all culminated in what is arguably television’s finest hour in 2018. Right on the heels of episode five’s twist revelation behind the Bent-Neck Lady, standout “The Haunting of Hill House” episode ‘Two Storms’ brought the surviving family members together under one roof for Nell’s funeral. Narratively, it centered on two storms; a literal storm set in the family’s past at Hill House, and a metaphorical storm of raging emotions among family members with unresolved anger toward one another. Both storms brought the horror, driving further wedges between the Crain family and redefining what a haunting can be.

‘Two Storms’ was masterful horror at its finest.


“Inside No. 9” – ‘Dead Line’

  • Chosen by Meagan Navarro

Series creators Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton are masters of dark comedy and shocking twists, but the special Halloween episode of “Inside No. 9” that aired live on BBC Two on October 28 managed to top an already high bar of brilliance with a clever, meta episode of pure terror. What began as a live recording of an episode that sees its lead character getting into strange trouble over a cell phone he found in a graveyard becomes something else entirely as audio problems kick in. Cue the technical difficulties card and apologies from the network, as they insist the kinks are being worked through. Viewers that stuck through it found a meta horror story unfolding live in the studio, a site tied to rumors of serious hauntings. Similar to Ghostwatch, ‘Dead Line’ brought the dread and fear by way of live television.


“Into the Dark” – ‘POOKA!’

  • Chosen by John Squires

It’s up for debate whether the episodes of Blumhouse and Hulu’s “Into the Dark” are actually episodes of television or full-on feature films (honestly, I could make compelling arguments for both), but since “Into the Dark” is indeed a TV series, I don’t think anyone will have issue with me including its best episode (to date) on this list. While I wasn’t a big fan of the first two episodes, Nacho Vigalondo’s Christmas-themed ‘POOKA!’ totally won me over, centered on a new hit holiday toy that wreaks havoc on the actor tasked with bringing the character to life. ‘POOKAH!’ is a total mind-fuck with one hell of a twist, coming together so wonderfully in the surprising final moments that it’ll likely have you watching it again immediately afterwards.

And trust me, ‘POOKAH!’ is even better the second time around.


“Santa Clarita Diet” – ‘The Queen of England’

  • Chosen by Meagan Navarro

Season two of Netflix’s gory zombie comedy “Santa Clarita Diet” managed to be bigger and funnier in every way, and the fourth episode catapulted the mythology forward in a major way. We knew from season one that Sheila’s (Drew Barrymore) undead status was connected to the mysterious red ball she threw up, but ‘The Queen of England’ showed what happens when the ball is allowed to exist at room temperature. Meet Mr. Ball-legs, a spider-like thing sprouted from zombie Ramona’s barfed up red ball. Combined with new connections in regard to Mr. Ball-legs, Gary’s (Nathan Fillion) lonely severed head, and more Hammond hijinks hilarity, this episode was not just a season highlight, but a *series* highlight.


“The Terror” – ‘The Ladder’

  • Chosen by Meagan Navarro

AMC’s “The Terror,” the ten-episode series based on Dan Simmons’ novel of the same name, was a slow burn tale of terror about Captain Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition to the Arctic. As the two polar explorer ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror become stranded in thick ice, the crews face starvation, mutiny, cannibalism, and a mysterious monster, the season taking its time to unravel the narrative. This is why episode three delivered such a thrilling jolt of excitement. It marked the shocking demise of lead character John Franklin (Ciaran Hinds), expertly handled in one of the tensest sequences of pure panic and horror. Franklin barely has time to process his party getting slaughtered by the bear-monster before it ripped off his leg and knocked him down a deep hole, plummeting to his death.

We damn sure didn’t see that coming.


“The Walking Dead” – ‘Evolution’

  • Chosen by John Squires

As tired as the show has become in recent years, even many longtime haters of “The Walking Dead” were in agreement that the first half of Season 9 was home to some pretty damn strong episodes, including the sendoff episode for Rick Grimes and the follow-up episode to it, which jumped six years into the future. But I’d like to make a case for “Evolution” (the mid-season finale) being the strongest episode of the AMC zombie series this year, primarily because it was an hour of television that finally made “The Walking Dead” scary again.

“Evolution” introduced us to a new group of villains known as The Whisperers, shocking the characters with the crazy twist that a pack of zombies that were hunting them were actually human beings disguised as zombies. The encounter with this creepy new threat culminated in a dark, foggy battle in a graveyard that was one of the show’s most downright terrifying sequences to date. And while it may be too late to win back viewers who tuned out long ago, “Evolution” damn sure made the back half of Season 9 a must-watch for yours truly.

Here’s hoping the horror of “Evolution” was a proper reflection of what’s coming next.


“The X-Files” – ‘The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat’

  • Chosen by John Squires

The eleventh season of “The X-Files” may have ended with a disappointing whimper (even Gillian Anderson herself seemed quite disappointed by the finale), but the season was certainly not without its gems. My personal favorite episode of what may end up being the show’s final season? The Darin Morgan-penned/directed “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat,” centered on the fascinating idea of the Mandela Effect; in short, the phenomenon wherein we have strong memories of things from the past that either doesn’t exist at all, or simply aren’t how we remember them.

In the episode, Mulder and Scully are confronted by a man named Reggie, who claims to be a former member of their team. Later, Mulder eventually comes face to face with the mysterious Dr. Thaddeus They, a brainwashing doctor who’s been pulling America’s strings all along. As bonkers and fun as the episode was, it rather brilliantly used the Mandela Effect to touch upon the idea that none of us really know what’s real and what’s not anymore, making it a timely social commentary at its core. If you’re asking me, it’s an all time great episode for the show.

“Forehead Sweat” also operated as a more satisfying finale than the actual finale. Go figure.


It’s not actually a horror show but an honorable mention must be given to the ‘Mister Knifey-Hands’ episode of “The Goldbergs,” which brought back Robert Englund as Freddy!


AROUND THE WEB


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