Best Horror TV Shows: International Series on HBO Max, Netflix

These are just a few of the slick and disturbing series that have hit international television screens in recent years.

It has long been likely, and in the last year almost almost certain, that Netflix’s true television strength lies in its international series. Aside from the rare organic word-of-mouth feel, these programs rarely get the publicity or attention that their star-studded, algorithmically optimized counterparts enjoy. For other streaming services with similar wealth in their libraries, those international series also tend to be afterthoughts.

However, with the fall upon us and the annual search for stories that pair well with cooler nights and décor the color of dying leaves, it’s also a perfect time to try out the perfect global TV for the season. Particularly when it comes to horror series, these shows have a knack for blending the universal and the specific. They tap into what makes us uneasy, digging into our subconscious from painfully particular perspectives.

Some are designed to weigh heavily on your soul, while others are better for a quick fix. What follows isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of options, but for those looking to expand their seasonal viewing lists, here are half a dozen series to consider (plus a few non-synopsis reasons to do so).

1. “30 Coins” (HBO Max)

30 HBO Max Coins

“30 coins”

Manolo Pavon

Priests and horror have gone hand in hand for a long time, and there’s a bevy of recent shows that have taken that tradition and really follow it. There’s “Evil” in the US, and Paramount Plus has “The Envoys” to go along with Netflix’s “Diablero,” a pair of shows that show clergy confronting the unexplained in towns across Mexico. But as wild as each of them can be at points, there really is no other show on television that can live up to the audacity that director Álex de la Iglesia and co-writer Jorge Guerricaechevarría offer with “ 30 coins”.

Even with the show’s cheeky opening credits sequence and the very idea behind its title, to call this a mere biblical horror riff would be to undersell the show. Yes, its characters face an ever-growing collection of supernatural terrors brought on by the search for Judas’s scattered pieces of silver. But Iglesias treats this series like a metaphysical sandbox to dump whatever grotesque he can get his hands on. Possession, hauntings, aliens, portals, Ouija boards, broken bones, and a relic-fueled conspiracy – if you want your horror screamed from the rooftops (where the characters drop shortly after), this is the place to start. And if all of that isn’t enough to entice you, maybe the new main cast member for the show’s upcoming season 2 will be enough to get you going.

2. “Ares” (Netflix)

Ares Netflix Pink


The opening minutes of “Ares” are a perfectly executed horror series intro. It’s confident, stylistically sharp, and topped off with a jarring right turn that demands you notice. It’s also a pretty effective base for the series that follows. What begins as an ominous initiation process for incoming student Rosa (Jade Olieberg) gradually takes risks that go far beyond secret chambers and ritual robes.

As things begin to go awry for Rosa and her friends are drawn into a conspiracy along with her, “Ares” does an amazing job of letting fear build from preternaturally calm characters as they face the impossible. This is not a place filled with mass freakouts or relentless screaming. The horror of “Ares” comes from people so overwhelmed by what is in front of their faces that they can barely move.

See also  Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Set for Marvel's 'Wonder Man' Disney+ Series

Sometimes directors Giancarlo Sanchez and Michiel ten Horn stage those moments as if you’re listening to or looking at something you shouldn’t be aware of. These characters are as much in their heads as an unsuspecting audience member could be. All that’s left to do is indulge in a lavish and sinister display that slices through everything in its path like a jewel-encrusted knife crafted from another time and dimension.

3. “Blood Walk” (Netflix)

Bloodride Netflix Sacrifice

“Blood Walk”

Proof that not all horror anthologies are created equal, this Swedish collection of half-hour morality tales feels like the purest throwback to the TV scares of decades past. Even the kitsch framing device (presenting the main characters of these six episodes as fellow passengers on a doomed liminal bus) is a hint of the kind of stories that come after. They take place in very different locations, some of them sprawl across an eerie landscape, but they have the feel of old-school chamber pieces. Efficient scenarios, unexpected twists and endings that will give you a twisted smile to go along with the gut punch. Think of it as an “Inside No. 9” with an extra layer of blood on top for good measure.

And it makes sense to start from the top. The first episode finds a family moving to a rural community after facing some financial setbacks. The local secret of his new home is the kind of montage designed to test how far one of his characters will go and how far the audience is willing to follow him metaphorically. When violence inevitably comes (it’s right in the title), it’s more of an expression of what’s already set in motion. It’s the kind of episode that can work as a horror play or an entrance, depending on your appetite.

4. “Monsters of Krakow” (Netflix)

Krakow Monsters

“Monsters of Krakow”

Of all these horror series, “Cracow Monsters” is the one that also has one more foot in the realm of fantasy. But one of the strengths of this program is that those ideas work together. Set in a Poland caught up in a spiritual tug-of-war that only a select few know about, Alex (Barbara Liberek) stumbles upon a select group of students and the professor who tries to help them hone her special abilities. That’s where the similarities between this and That Franchise With an X stop, though. This is a show that isn’t afraid to get dirty, especially when things that crawl from the sewers and lurk in the corners of the morgue emerge from practical way.

It has its share of otherworldly forces, but it’s mostly rooted in that time-tested theme of disturbing nature. Alex and his new fellow folklore enthusiasts have to deal with the fallout of someone inventing something that should have remained hidden. So instead of choosing between focusing on one person’s entry into this world or pursuing a larger team approach, “Cracow Monsters” opts for both. Stories with apocalyptic implications can be tedious. “Cracow Monsters” presents ways to keep all those little successes and big consequences ingrained in people trying to make sense of it all.

See also  Netflix share price could rise 24% at new ad-supported level, says BofA

5. “Folklore” (HBO Max)

Some of the most effective horror comes from patience, an idea that drives so many stories in this collection inspired by tales/legends from different Asian cultures. Although united by the same general theme, it is a true creative anthology in a creative sense. Many of these hour-long episodes have a gradual build-up, unraveling the fates of some people in roughly real time. And often, when those quietly talked about forces become real, they come in forms not too different from the humans who brought them there.

They’re not just monsters for monsters’ sake. Each of these stories finds some human bias, weakness, or concern and channels it into the things we talk about but never see. The highlight of this group might be Yuhang Ho’s “Toyol,” a story that takes an ambitious Malaysian politician and turns him into a case study in ambition and the legacy one man’s actions can leave behind. It’s sharp, nasty, and goes way beyond splattering on a wall in the way he’ll leave you unsettled.

There are no easy resolutions here either. Dealing with any figure from myth is rarely as easy as defeating him. Whether it’s a ghost, a demon, or a resurrected being, they are often born out of generational trauma that no one person can correct. The fact that so many of these stories are designed to come from both the beginning and the end is perhaps their biggest advantage.

6. “Mariana” (Netflix)

mariana netflix



For a show with a literary-minded main character, “Marianne” has fun playing with the idea of ​​what makes a story. This French Netflix series begins with a blurry look at the reality of the work of YA bestselling author Emma Larsimon (Victoire Du Bois). Just as she is ready to move on to books aimed at an adult audience, a person from her past and a figure from her books begin to converge with terrifying results.

It’s almost impossible to talk about “Marianne” without acknowledging Mireille Herbstmeyer, whose performance is not only the show’s best special effect, but births a character who instantly makes her mark as a legendary and disturbing horror antagonist. There are times when Emma, ​​seeking to fill the gaps in her personal life with drinking and anything else that might distract her from professional expectations, can be her worst enemy. Having a woman with a penchant for making tiny leather purses is a pretty strong second place.

The show certainly makes some sly tonal shifts, dropping its own mystical mystery at points to remember that’s also great at establishing catchphrases. Emma’s hometown by the sea also makes for a very Castle Rock-y place that makes for some nice scenery when the horrible stuff isn’t happening in the foreground. Throw in a page-turning framing device that puts an exclamation point on some of the show’s most tense moments, and “Marianne” feels right at home (like so many of these horror series) at the intersection of light and dark. darkness.

Register: Stay on top of the latest movie and TV news! Sign up here to receive our email newsletters.

Leave a Comment