Ryan Murphy’s eerie anthology series American Horror Story first captivated fans with its ever-changing characters, mesmerizing cinematography, and refreshing transformation each season. The enthralling television series premiered on FX in 2011 and has just concluded its tenth season in August 2021 ⏤ with seasons eleven, twelve, and thirteen already confirmed. The series experiences a new setting and batch of characters each season, with many of the show’s cast portraying different characters each time. The horror miniseries has prominently featured Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe, Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Emma Roberts, and Finn Wittrock.
American Horror Story has obtained a strong following over the years and has been critically praised for its diversity, engaging tone, and masterful score. Here are 10 shows that provide spooky narratives equally as haunting as AHS.
Netflix’s Ratched is a captivating thriller series that keeps its eagle-eyed viewers on the edges of their seats amidst unexpected twists and turns. Developed by American Horror Story’s Ryan Murphy, the series follows Mildred Ratched, a nurse hired in a California hospital who tirelessly attempts to free her brother Edmund from psychiatric care after he murders several priests. The situation soon turns deadly as Mildred’s undermining experiments create trouble for all involved.
Seeing as both shows are the brainchildren of Ryan Murphy, fans of AHS will undoubtedly find much to enjoy when it comes to Ratched’s intriguing plot and string of complex characters. Both shows follow a similar premise of thought-provoking scenarios that test the cerebrally of its fans. Ratched also features a standout performance from Sarah Paulson, who beautifully shines in AHS as well. You can watch it now on Netflix.
The Haunting of Hill House
Upon its monumental arrival in 2018, The Haunting of Hill House easily became one of the most-watched Netflix series on the broad platform. Directed by Mike Flanagan, the supernatural miniseries is involved in another horror anthology, The Haunting, which aims to expose the fears of its viewers. The series follows five siblings whose supernatural experiences in Hill House during their childhood has affected them well into adulthood. The story alternates between two timelines, with plenty of flashbacks reverting back to the characters’ time at Hill House.
Much like American Horror Story, Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House received enormous praise for its memorable characters, production values, enticing makeup and effects, and directing. The characters are insanely complex and leave no other option but for fans to understandably empathize with them. Its gripping narrative and terrifying jump-scares certainly make it a series worth watching. You can watch it now on Netflix.
Castle Rock — like many high-profile projects of the modern age — is derived from several stories created by author Stephen King. Created by Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason, the psychological horror series premiered on Hulu in 2018. Set in titular Castle Rock, Maine, the series follows a string of characters wrapped up in the realm of mythological darkness which intertwines with several stories. The enthralling series only lasted for two seasons, though its lingering impression is memorable in the wide genre of television horror.
Like American Horror Story, Castle Rock focuses on an ensemble cast of outrageous characters who change each season and are portrayed by the same members of the cast. The series follows a similar premise in that it places its scintillating characters in terrifyingly good situations to better shape the story. Its heart-stopping two seasons feature a memorable performance from It’s Bill Skarsgård. You can watch it now on Hulu.
Scream Queens was a pretty big deal when it first aired on Fox back in 2015 and it continues to resonate with horror fans to this day. Created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan, the enticing black comedy slasher series follows Kappa Kappa Tau, a college sorority house that finds its members targeted by an unknown serial killer using the school’s Red Devil mascot as a disguise. While it only lasted for two seasons, its legacy still stands as one of the best short-lived series of all time.
Even though the elements in American Horror Story and Scream Queens are slightly different, the shows breed a similar aspect of psychological thrills and witty humor transformed into genuine moments of horror. As terrifying as AHS can be, it also includes its fair share of hilarious moments. (“Surprise, bitch,” anyone?) This echoes in Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens and it even features several memorable performances from Emma Roberts and the “scream queen” herself, Jamie Lee Curtis. You can watch it now on Hulu.
The Haunting of Bly Manor
Serving as the follow-up series to The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor equally seeks to succumb its viewers to fear and trigger a fight-or-flight response. Created by Mike Flanagan and based on the 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, the gothic horror drama follows an au pair hired by a man to watch over his niece and nephew at the mysterious and intimidating Bly Manor. While working at the estate, several supernatural experiences begin to haunt the young employee.
Much like American Horror Story, the second season of The Haunting anthology series features several familiar cast members from the first season, including the massively talented Victoria Pedretti, only this time, the cast is portraying different characters with their own set of drawbacks that keep viewers engaged and aware. As such, the anticipation for thrilling situations is in full swing, which will undoubtedly keep fans glued to the screen. You can watch The Haunting of Bly Manor now on Netflix.
Archive 81 is the newest sensation absolutely tearing it up on Netflix’s streaming service. Developed by Rebecca Sonnenshine and produced by Saw’s James Wan, the supernatural sci-fi series follows VHS conservator Dan, who is hired to restore damaged video footage based on an apartment building that mysteriously burned down. During his journey, Dan realizes that he’s somehow stuck in an unusual timeline where he can communicate with the woman on the tapes, Melody.
While American Horror Story and Archive 81 are far from the same on the surface, their premises include bone-chilling scenarios that captivate viewers’ attention. Both shows are equally filled with action-packed situations where main characters have to rely on their courage and unsung need to be the hero. Archive 81 is perfect for those who enjoy a good thriller and solving the plot before it’s been fully revealed. You can watch it now on Netflix.
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of Netflix’s massive sci-fi hit Stranger Things. Created by the Duffer Brothers, the captivating series debuted in 2018 and immediately received a cauldron of attention and acclaim. The ’80s-inspired series initially follows a group of residents in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana where the recent disappearance of a young boy, Will Byers, kickstarts a string of unusual experiments and otherworldly creatures coming from Hawkins Lab. Over time, the seasons begin to focus on a majority of the characters’ conflicts rather than just Will himself.
Like American Horror Story, the drama series focuses on conflicting circumstances for its large string of beloved characters, placing them in situations that sometimes appear inescapable. On the other hand, it’s these colorful characters that make Stranger Things such a glorious television series that will be talked about many years after its unpredictable conclusion. You can watch it now on Netflix.
Over the years, Black Mirror has been highly regarded as one of the best television series of the 2010s. Created by Charlie Brooker, the anthology series premiered on Britain’s Channel 4 in 2011 for the first two seasons before eventually ending up on Netflix. The enchanting series provides each season as a stand-alone by focusing on dystopian near-futures and utilizing speculative fiction within the larger landscape of science fiction.
Black Mirror is arguably the most similar series to American Horror Story in terms of its cast being recast as different characters each season with an entirely new narrative for each episode. The show has also featured several popular celebrity guest appearances, including Miley Cyrus, Anthony Mackie, and Jon Hamm. You can watch it now on Netflix.
Another anthology series quite similar to American Horror Story is Syfy’s Channel Zero. Part of the reason for the series’ popularity is that its storylines are based on notable creepypasta stories that have terrified folks on the internet for years. Created by Nick Antosca, the thought-provoking series premiered in 2016 and ran until 2018 for a total of four gripping seasons. Each one is dedicated to a specific timeline of events derived from creepypasta posts of years past.
Channel Zero is likely the most similar series to American Horror Story in terms of frightening moments and the basis of presenting it as a horror anthology. Additionally, the show follows a similar premise, much like many others on this list, where each season introduces a new storyline that wholeheartedly terrifies its viewers. More so because Channel Zero includes much less comedic moments than American Horror Story. You can watch it now on Shudder.
The Twilight Zone
The Twilight Zone remains one of the most easily recognizable and iconic horror television series of all time. Created and narrated by Rod Sterling, each episode allows viewers to understand the central characters as they experience unimaginable journeys of sheer terror and unexplainable horror. Each episode is different from the last, but leaves the same unsettling feeling that makes the ’60s series a classic to this day.
For all intents and purposes, The Twilight Zone laid the initial groundwork for all other anthology horror series to follow. Its gripping storylines and lovable twists blend with the bizarre and macabre and made it a staple in the genre of horror for decades. As a result, the series was recently remade by horror-genius Jordan Peele, though it didn’t quite stick with viewers the way the original did ⏤ a reminder that you simply cannot beat the classics, no matter which decade they’re from. You can watch The Twilight Zone now on Amazon Prime Video.