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7 Creepy Series Like "American Horror Story" That Will Haunt You for a Long Time

Rahul is a TV addict who can never get enough of good shows. His all-time favorites are The Wire, Breaking Bad, and The Sopranos.

American Horror Story is a one-of-a-kind anthology. Horror films and TV shows don’t really terrify me to the level this show manages to do. Each season is comprised of 12 episodes and takes place in different locations and timelines. The first season took place in what seemed to be a haunted house, the second took place in an insane asylum and the third one is set in secret schools for witches in New Orleans—all telling outrageous yet really creepy stories.

If you can suspend your disbelief while watching this show, it will get you. What’s great about AMH is its ability to touch the deepest, darkest and most sensitive issues without being too cheesy or serious. It’s hard not to binge the whole season once you watch a couple of episodes. But what about after that? Fret not: I've got your fix. While we wait for the next season to air, here are some other shows like American Horror Story to keep you occupied.

1. Bates Motel

We all sniffed when we heard about what seemed to be an unnecessary TV show in the making: a prequel to Psycho, the iconic thriller from 1960s. Of course, we were wrong. Set in the present day, Bates Motel is a story of Bates’ troubled childhood, which turned him from a normal kid into a deranged monster. You shouldn't miss out on it if you are looking for a TV series like American Horror Story. It’s just as unsettling and creepy as AMH.

2. Hemlock Grove

While Netflix originals like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards get most of the limelight, shows like Hemlock Grove never get the chance to shine. I watched it recently and can tell you that’s it’s totally worth sparing a thought for this amazing horror-themed TV show. Comparing it to other sci-fi and horror shows is like comparing apples and oranges. It’s more like American Horror Story meets Twin Peaks. Give this show a go. The first season takes its sweet time to really get going, but the second season is a lot more gorier and bloodier—just perfect for gorehounds. While it’s not as scary as shows like American Horror Story and Wayward Pines, an interesting plotline and some good character development cements its place as one of the best Netflix originals.

3. The Returned

A couple of people come back to their town after being dead for more than a year, not remembering what happened to them. For them, it’s just another day, as they don't realize that one year has passed. Are they the same people they used to be? This creepy French drama explores the consequences of dead people coming back to life and how it changes the lives of those around them. Without resorting to the usual jumpscares that is usually associated with this subgenre, The Returned does an incredibly good job of being a show that is scary and unsettling in small doses. I can’t wait to find out more in the next season.

If you are looking for some shows like American Horror Story that are just as unsettling, dark and sadistic, The Returned should be your best bet.

4. Black Mirror

A lack of creativity has always been the problem with horror TV shows and movies: We always see same faces, same approaches and same generic concepts on our TVs. But Black Mirror is different. You need to watch only a couple of minutes to understand this. It’s the best surprise I have come across in the last couple of years. Black Mirror truly excels at being witty, different and genuinely creepy, compelling you to think deeply about the world we live it. It questions your behavior, routine, choices and code of ethics.

Each episode is different, taking place in a new location, with new characters and plot. But every episode emphasizes the devastating effect of today’s contemporary phenomena (reality shows, social media, smartphones, etc.) in the future, when they have evolved into something different than what they were meant to be. The writers have done an amazing job making the far-fetched ideas seem graspable.

Black Mirror perfectly manages to capture the absurd society we live in, which forces you to think about what our world would look like if things were just a little bit different. It never really explores and positive trends (would there be any fun in that?) but approaches everything pessimistically, showing its darker side. The result is a great mix of bleak drama, satire and comedy that cements Black Mirror’s place as one of the best TV shows like American Horror Story.

I don’t think Black Mirror is everyone’s cup of tea. It’s certainly made to appeal to only a particular class of audience—the same ones who love shows like American Horror Story and Twin Peaks. You may find some themes to be slightly uncomfortable, but considering the nature of this show, it perfectly fits the circumstances. A big thumbs up from me for staying true to its roots and maintaining a constant stream of quality content in nearly every episode. It’s unlike anything else on TV right now.

To sum it up, Black Mirror is a cynical look at the worst of the human nature. Fascinating, unique and really creepy! Highly recommended for anyone who is looking for some good TV shows like American Horror Story.

5. Darknet

As a fan of the horror genre, I consider it hard to find anything out there that is truly spooky and original. Most movies and shows rely on cheap clichés for scares that are just not thrilling anymore. You already know what’s coming.

In that sense, this Canadian horror TV show is a breath of fresh air. There are no ghosts or demons, but the show still manages to evoke deepest and darkest of fears by playing off our modern concerns—the fear of others and the self. It gets us where we can still be gotten pretty easily.

If you're like me, you'll see Darknet as a diamond in a pile of mud. It takes a completely different route than what you are used to by now. Truly intriguing and chilling! Don’t miss out on it if you are looking for some good TV shows like American Horror Story—it's one of the creepiest.

6. Hannibal

When I heard that they were making a Hannibal Lecter TV series, I presumed that it was going be worse than the last one. If you look at the past, I was kinda right to expect the worst—each installment in this franchise has been worse than the one that came before it. Hannibal has been nearly tortured to death by too many idiotic sequels to Silence of the Lambs, and a TV series is all it needs for the final nail in the coffin. Thankfully, Hannibal turned out to be everything I didn’t expect it to be.

The show follows Agent Will Graham, who has an uncanny ability to think like a serial killer—thus he is incredibly helpful with solving homicide cases. He comes across as a really intelligent but vulnerable man, tormented by his own imagination, yet he has to live for the greater good.

Things take a drastic turn in his life when he comes across Hannibal Lecter, who is a psychiatrist in the daylight but a human predator once night falls. He preys upon Will's vulnerability, playing with his mind and making him do certain things he wouldn’t do otherwise. This mind game continues throughout the first season.

Things tense up a bit more when Will knows that Hannibal Lecter is a cannibal, but he still chooses to continue his therapy sessions with him, hoping that he can get to know more about his heinous crimes and trap him. The tension goes through the roof every time Will and Hannibal are facing each other. The cannibal knows that Will is trying to trap him, yet he plays it cool, giving Will a lot of chances to confess about the game he is playing here. Perhaps Hannibal considers Will to be worthy enough of his companionship, as Will is the only one who understands his true nature. He wants Will to join him at the party. Of course, Will has other plans.

The plot is too complicated—you will get puzzled if I try to summarize it for you. Just get into this show and enjoy a beautifully-written and well-played storyline. Even if you dislike police procedurals, Hannibal will feel a lot different to you. There is a lot more at stake for everyone than just solving weekly homicide cases. Fantastic show. Kudos to NBC for still keeping it on the air despite not getting the ratings a show of this caliber and scope needs. If you want to see the fate of Dr. Hannibal, you and your friends need to watch this, one of the best shows like American Horror Story.

7. Penny Dreadful

Set in Victorian London, Penny Dreadful promises to be a sophisticated and hardcore version of Supernatural, with a gothic vibe all over its episodes. Penny Dreadful is to horror what Breaking Bad is to drama—it sets a benchmark for other horror shows to come. And strong performances from Josh Hartnett and Eva Green give Penny Dreadful quite a significant edge over other shows of same subgenre. With elements of anatomy, psychology and history, this show promises to bring it all together in one scary package that will haunt viewers a long time after the credits roll. Even if you don’t like the horror genre, you should check it out.


Saeed on March 17, 2019:

I recommend Black Mirror to AHS fans

Krobahr on November 17, 2018:

Thanks for the list of TV shows that can start filling the void that begins to enlargen while the credits roll on the final episode of each AHS season. You and I share very similar tastes, and because I'm already ensconced in several of the TV shows you named in your review, I trust your take on others I would have blown off had I not found a guide. I am really looking forward to getting into Black Mirror; I would never have known about the anthological paradigm this show uses to make its point. I tip my hat to you in thanks and respect.