From true crime to horror: five spooky shows with autumnal vibes to stream this fall

By Lucy Verlaque

Elm Staff Writer

The weather is cooling down and Halloween displays are making their storefront appearances. It is time to get into the fall spirit, and there is no better way to prepare for the season than binge-watching a spooky television series. Here are five shows to get you in the mood for autumn.

Stranger Things

Since the release of its first season in 2016, “Stranger Things” has been a massive hit among television viewers. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it was the most streamed show of 2022.

The Netflix Original Series takes place in the 1980s in the fictional small town of Hawkins, Ind. When a young boy suddenly vanishes one night, a group of friends begin to unravel a dark mystery leading back to a top-secret government lab.

The first two seasons of “Stranger Things” are set during autumn; season two specifically focuses on Halloween. With other-dimensional monsters and blended themes of sci-fi, thriller, and horror, this supernatural drama is the perfect spooky season watch.

The Haunting of Hill House

Loosely adapted from Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name, “The Haunting of Hill House” was created by Mike Flanagan and released on Netflix in 2018.

According to IMDb, the show “flash[es] between past and present” and follows “a fractured family confronting haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.”

Between the complex characters, intricate plotline, and chilling cinematography, “Hill House” is more intense than your average ghost story. Not much is spookier than a haunted house, but Flanagan’s intertwining of paranormal and psychological horror makes for an especially eerie viewing.

The Haunting of Bly Manor

The second installment in Flanagan’s “The Haunting” series, “The Haunting of Bly Manor” was released on Netflix in 2020 and is inspired by Henry James’s 1898 novella, “The Turn of the Screw.”

Though based on a new story, “Bly Manor” features much of the same cast as its predecessor, such as Victoria Pedretti, who plays protagonist Dani Clayton. Dani is hired by a wealthy man to govern his niece and nephew at their family estate, Bly Manor — an English country home that is as haunted as Hill House.

Coming off the heels of “Hill House,” viewers might find “Bly Manor” somewhat predictable, as Flanagan employs many of the same techniques that made the former successful. However, the adaptation of the source material is fresh and the gothic themes are great for getting in the autumn mood.

What We Do in the Shadows

Following their 2014 movie of the same name, creators Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi developed “What We Do in the Shadows” as a mockumentary TV series on Hulu.

The comedy horror series was released in 2019 and follows a group of four vampire housemates who live in Staten Island, N.Y. Living with the group is their human familiar, Guillermo, who must balance his hopes to become a vampire himself someday with his family ancestry of vampire slayers.

For viewers who prefer comedy over drama, the show’s parodic representation of paranormal elements makes for a humorous experience while still embodying an over-the-top gothic aesthetic.

Only Murders in the Building

Released in 2021 and available to stream on Hulu, “Only Murders in the Building” is set in New York City and seamlessly blends comedy with mystery. The “highly anticipated third season” was released on Aug. 8, according to The Economic Times, giving viewers plenty of new content to binge.

Three true-crime loving neighbors, played by Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez, are brought together when a man is found dead in their apartment building. They form their own true-crime podcast as they attempt to solve the mystery behind his death.

Though there are no supernatural forces at play in this series, the whodunnit-style murder mystery makes for an ominous plotline. The autumnal atmosphere of the setting and characters’ cold weather outfits, particularly Gomez’s collection of coats, also contribute to the overall fall vibes of the show.

While these five shows offer a variety of genres and lovable characters, streaming services are bound to release new content during the month of October. For fans of “Hill House” and “Bly Manor,” Flanagan’s latest project, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” releases on Netflix on Oct. 12.

This fall, cozy up in bed and turn on a new drama or horror show that is bound to offer a respite from work and plenty of scares.

Photo by Riley Dauber.

Photo Caption: Hulu recently released the third season of their original comedy true-crime series “Only Murders in the Building.”

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