Oct 202015
 

Everyone likes a good scare during the Halloween season. Many cable channels feature marathons of horror films during this time of year. Personally, I love catching classic horror movies on Turner Classic Movies as they’re uncut and commercial-free. It seems that no matter where you turn, some website or group has compiled a list of horror movies that they think you should watch this ghoulish season. I figured it was time to jump on the bandwagon, but instead of focusing on horror movies, I thought it would be interesting to focus on creepy Halloween sci-fi episodes.

There are a good number of classic (and more recent) sci-fi shows that have featured some Halloween-themed horror. Some of these episodes were commissioned for Halloween, but others just happened to be eerie due to the story being told. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’ll allow you to get some seasonal chills in just under an hour. Plus, you’ll be watching some great classic sci-fi.

Star Trek Catspaw

Star Trek

Our first entry on our Halloween sci-fi episodes list comes from Star Trek: The Original Series. Catspaw is an episode that was written for Halloween and features our intrepid Enterprise crew encountering some witches on Pyris VII. This is a fun episode that pulls out all the classic horror tropes of moldering dungeons, black cats, a spooky castle, and witches. Another solid choice is Wolf in the Fold, which features Jack the Ripper as an entity that can inhabit bodies at will. This leads to poor old Scotty being accused of murder. Later Star Trek series also had their share of chills. Star Trek: The Next Generation has Schisms, a skin-crawling tale that features alien abduction and medical experiments. An actual ghost comes calling in Sub Rosa, an episode that features Beverly Crusher delving into her family history and encountering a ghost that’s been part of the family tree for centuries. Lastly, we have Impulse from Star Trek: Enterprise. All we have to say about this is Vulcan zombies. Enough said.

Doctor Who

Over the decades, there have been a number of episodes of Doctor Who that fit the bill for Halloween viewing. Our first story is Pyramids of Mars. How can you go wrong with mummies, an evil Egyptian god, mind-control, and Sarah Jane brandishing a rifle? You just can’t, and Sutekh is one of the great villains of the classic Doctor Who era. If you’re looking for a take on Frankenstein, then you can check out The Brain of Morbius. This episode reeks with gothic goodness on an alien world. The monster that houses the brain of Morbius creeped me out as a youngster with one good arm and one big claw. For some claustrophobic terror, there’s Horror at Fang Rock where the Doctor and Leela have to contend with a murderous shape-changing alien while stuck in the confines of an isolated lighthouse. Going back to the Jon Pertwee era, there is the tense and dark The Daemons. This is another atmospheric tale (made better by being black and white) that features a demonic enemy creature, some Devil worshipping, and the Master. For the modern Doctor Who fan, the penultimate story of chills and dread is the incredible Blink that introduced the Weeping Angels. Then there’s the Silence (from the episode titled Silence) that features another iconic alien race. Both the Weeping Angels and the Silence are new Doctor Who at its best as both alien races are utterly unique and insanely creepy.

Buck Rogers Space Vampire

Buck Rogers

Good old Buck Rogers is another entry on our list of Halloween sci-fi episodes. It seems that while very little of the modern day survived to the 25th century, vampires managed to do so as we found out in Space Vampire. A surprisingly tension-filled episode, we get a cool looking vampire that is killing people on an isolated space station. This episode is actually quite heavy for little kids, and it definitely gives a big tip of the hat to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It freaked me out when Wilma Deering is crying due to the horror that she experienced.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

While Buffy battles vampires every week, it took a special episode to make a viewer cover their eyes due to what they were watching. Hush features the most outright creepy creatures of the entire show in the form of the Gentlemen. The visuals of this episode are striking with the grinning Gentlemen as they float around town as they’re accompanies by their straightjacket-clad henchmen. What really hammers the horror home was that the episode was mostly silent. As we’re so used to sound, having an extremely silent episode that features ghoulish creatures cutting the hearts out of their victims, who are unable to scream, is nightmare inducing.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Hush

X-Files

Our last entries on our list of Halloween sci-fi episodes comes from the X-Files. While the show normally dealt with alien conspiracies, there are two episodes that ratchet up the terror in a spooky way. The first one is Home, the infamous episode that features a family of inbred monstrosities. This is, hands down, the most frightening episode of the X-Files, and Fox refused to repeat the episode in reruns. I honestly cannot watch it again as it literally scarred my psyche when it first aired. Watch it at your peril and make sure you leave the lights on. Our other episode is How the Ghosts Stole Christmas. This episode aired during the Christmas season but added a haunted house to the mix. Mulder and Scully investigate a house that is haunted by the ghosts of a couple who chose to die in a murder-suicide in order to stay together. They then try to lure couples who move into the house to do the same. This is a taut episode that features the incredible talents of Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin as the murderous ghosts.

There you have it, my friends. A good number of Halloween sci-fi episodes that should give you the requisite chills and thrills that this holiday demands. To be honest, I’ve only scratched the surface of what is available from old and current TV series, and this list should provide a nice marathon of horror on a blustery Friday or Saturday night. If you have any suggestions for other Halloween sci-fi episodes, let us know in the comments below.

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