10 horror shows to replace the ‘Hannibal’ hole in your stomach

No matter your horror tolerance, there's something for everyone.

4:00 pm EDT, September 2, 2015

Need a new fix? Here are 10 horror shows like Hannibal that are sure to scare and gross you out!

Season 3 of Hannibal ended this week, and it’s very likely to have also been the series’ end. Hannibal was a brilliant horror show that had clever writing, beautiful cinematography, complex characters, and yes, it even had gross moments. Now that it’s over, you’re bound to be hungry for more horror, so here’s a variety of shows like Hannibal that are sure to satiate your appetite.

Related: Hannibal series finale recap

‘American Horror Story’

american horror story asylum

American Horror Story has the benefit of each season being a separate story. You don’t have to watch every episode just to watch season 3, you can start with any season. Each season is quite different from each other, so what you love most isn’t necessarily what somebody else loves. Although there seems to be a general consensus that season 1 is the best.

Each season is hit or miss for most people, but you’re sure to find at least one that strikes your horror fancy. Season 1 is a haunted house, season 2 is set in an insane asylum, season 3 is about witches, and season 4 takes place at a freak show (scary clown included). Even if the writing suffers at times, the cast is always phenomenal, and fortunately, many of them return for subsequent seasons.

‘Bates Motel’

bates motel

This show treads the line between horror and thriller. A prequel show to Hitchcock’s classic horror film Psycho, Bates Motel shows Norman Bates in his teen years and how he came to be the psychotic man we’re familiar with. It’s incredibly suspenseful and you can’t help but be sickly intrigued by Norman’s relationship with his mother, Norma. The acting is well done by all, but Vera Farmiga as Norma is hands down the performance that carries the show.

The addition of Dylan, Norman’s brother, works really well too, as he is often someone the audience can associate with, an outsider looking in on some of the crazy that’s rampant in the town. It’s much more like classic horror, less gore/slasher (although there is some of that), more psychologically scary, and definitely an intriguing watch.

‘Being Human’

being human uk

There are both UK and US versions of this show, but this author has only seen the UK one.

Being Human is of the horror genre, but it also has very light and humorous moments. The premise of this show revolves around a werewolf, vampire, and ghost living together in one apartment and trying to fit in with the rest of society. It’s well written with a great balance of darkness and lightness, seriousness and humor, and sadness and happiness. The characters are endearing right from the start, and the occasional guest stars are wonderful as well.

It does suffer towards the end of the show’s run, but fortunately those in charge knew that and swiftly ended it before things got really bad. Of the 5 seasons, 1 to 3 act as one story, season 4 another, and season 5 yet another, so it’s not entirely necessary to watch them all.

‘Darknet’

darknet tv show

The only downside to this show for horror fans is that it’s only one season, six episodes, 30 minutes each. Each episode is a different story, but all center around a morbid website called Darknet.

For mere 30 minute narratives, each episode is incredibly suspenseful. It’s a smart show with time jumps and character jumps, and it always keeps you guessing with surprise twists. It can be gruesome at times, and it’s plenty creepy. There aren’t cheap thrills or scares like we’re used to seeing in ‘horror’ these days. Instead, it’s the kind of stuff that will make you check under your bed before going to sleep.

Go for the gusto and watch with the lights off, it’s much more fun that way.

‘Harper’s Island’

harper's island

This show is perfect for a rainy weekend or if you’re just in the mood for something fun. Harper’s Island is a single season whodunnit, that was intended on being only one season, so there is a conclusion. It may be cheesy at times but it’s thoroughly entertaining to watch and try and guess who the killer is. Despite only having one season, the death count is incredibly high, so if you think you’ve guessed the killer early on, they’ll probably die.

Some familiar faces include Katie Cassidy (Arrow, Supernatural), Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs), Matt Barr (One Tree Hill, Sleepy Hollow), Brandon Jay McLaren (The Killing, Falling Skies, Graceland), and Jim Beaver (Supernatural.)

‘Hemlock Grove’

hemlock grove

This show is definitely not for everyone.

Netflix’s dip into horror produced mixed reactions among viewers, some absolutely loving it and others despising it. Hemlock Grove has the gore, unnatural, and weird in spades, but for some, it’s a bit too kooky. It takes various classic horror elements including vampires, werewolves, and Frankenstein’s creature, but spins them into something a little different. You’ll often be asking yourself what on earth you’re watching, and probably even wondering what’s going on, but somehow you can’t look away.

Arguably the best part of the show is the relationship between the two teen boys Peter (Landon Liboiron) and Roman (Bill Skarsgaard), who start an unusual friendship and take it upon themselves to figure out who or what is brutally killing the local girls.

Either it’s so bad it’s good, or it’s just bad, but the only way to find out is to try it. At the very least, watch until the first werewolf transformation because that is one of the grossest television moments ever.

‘In the Flesh’

in the flesh

A very different take on horror from the rest of the shows on this list, In the Flesh isn’t particularly gory or frightening in the ‘too scary to watch with the lights off’ kind of way. On the surface it’s a zombie show, but it isn’t about barricading yourself from a horde and shooting them down like target practice.

In the Flesh presents a cure for zombies, a way for them to stay ‘alive’ and curb their desire to eat people. They also have make up and contacts to help them blend in with society more. Despite the progress, life isn’t easy for them. Prejudice is still rampant among some members of the community and acceptance isn’t always easy to come by. The horrors of this show are much more about human mentality than decapitation, and it’s a fresh take on the zombie trope that’s swarming in media lately.

‘Penny Dreadful’

penny dreadful

Horror at its finest. Penny Dreadful takes classic gothic literary characters and does what it wants with them, while staying true to their original stories. It’s the perfect balance of remaining faithful to source material while taking creative liberties to help blend each story together. The characters include Victor Frankenstein and his creature, werewolves, Dorian Gray, witches, vampires, and Mina Harker.

It’s sufficiently eerie and gory, with a great story that doesn’t get overwhelmed by its own supernatural rules. The acting is superb across the board, but the real show stealer is Eva Green as Vanessa Ives. She’s the perfect leading lady and she elevates everyone she shares the screen with. Whether you’re into horror or not, this is definitely a show to try.

‘The Strain’

the strain

Based on Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s novel series, The Strain is a vampire show, but less supernatural. Instead, vampirism is a virus that’s spreading and turning people into a vampiric monster. And we’re talking ugly vampires that can give you nightmares, not pretty people with pointy teeth.

It’s gory enough with an interesting plot, even if the characters leave something to be desired. The cast is quite well-known though, with Corey Stoll (House of Cards), David Bradley (Harry Potter), Kevin Durand (Vikings, Lost), and Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) to name a few. The show has a lot going for it, as long as the writing can keep pace.

‘The Walking Dead’

the walking dead

All right, unless you’ve been locked in a barn for five years, you’ve heard of this show.

Season 1 is amazing. It’s also only six episodes and each of them keeps you glued to the screen. A binge watch is a must. After that… Let’s just say it peaked in the first season. Portions of other seasons were good. It certainly picked up in the latter half of season 5, so hopefully that’s a sign of better things to come.

If five seasons is too daunting for you, you can always try the spinoff show Fear the Walking Dead which is only two episodes in so far. It stars Kim Dickens (Gone Girl, House of Cards), Cliff Curtis (The Dark Horse, Training Day), Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), and Alycia Debnam-Carey (The 100).

Honorable Mentions

  • Black Mirror (although maybe not technically horror, it’s brilliantly scary in its own way)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Masters of Horror
  • Scream
  • Supernatural
  • The X-Files

What other horror shows like ‘Hannibal’ will you try?

Related: Quiz: What would Hannibal serve you at his dinner table?

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