The UK has a long history of horror production. Hammer Studios was founded in 1934 and has been an internationally renowned horror producer ever since. However, it’s not just horror movies that are coming out of the UK, there’s also an incredible range of TV horrors that have made their way onto the airwaves over the years.
With shows about vampires, werewolves, and ghosts cohabiting, stories of priests battling the supernatural, and tales of a ghost-based apocalypse, there’s plenty of genre fare for fans to dig into. force-feed and for those who don’t know him. These are some of the best television horror shows the UK has to offer, including some that audiences outside the UK may not have heard of.
Before true bloodStephen Moyer could be seen in the 1998 television series Ultraviolet as a beautifully haired Vampire Jack. Joining Moyer’s amazing hair was none other than Idris Elba (Vaughan) and Jack Davenport (Michael) in a world where vampires exist and the government and the Vatican have teamed up to drive them out. When Michael’s best friend Jack goes missing the day before his wedding, Michael doesn’t realize he’s about to be drawn into the world of vampires and their experiments on humans.
Through his connection to Jack, Michael ends up helping the government team of vampire hunters investigate the nightmares the vampires are preparing for the human race, including humans with synthetic blood and a vampiric disease spreading through the population. . Ultraviolet only lasted 6 episodes, with Fox attempting to make an American version in 2000. It didn’t make it past the pilot. Is Ultraviolet a bit dated? Yes, but it’s also a fascinating mix of Blade and underworld who absolutely needed more episodes.
2007 miniseries Jekyll was the idea of Doctor Who writer and showrunner Steven Moffat. Conceived as a sequel to the original short story, Jekyll tells the story of Tom Jackman (James Nesbitt), a man who has experienced terrifying transformations into a violent, animalistic alter ego. Unsure of what’s going on, Jackman separated himself from his family, hired a psychiatric nurse to watch over him, and created a fortified basement to protect those he loves.
It turns out that Jackman is a direct descendant of the original Dr. Jekyll and inherited his transformative curse. As the series progresses, it features an absolutely stellar performance from Nesbitt as the cheerful, impulsive, and violent Hyde who, at one point in the series, kills a lion simply to assert his dominance. Jekyll is a gory adventure through a ridiculous premise that, with a weaker writer and cast, absolutely couldn’t have worked. Fortunately, this one is right.
Featuring a who’s who of British talent before they hit the stratosphere, fades was a short-lived show about the coming apocalypse. The show starred Iain De Caestecker as Paul, Daniel Kaluuya as Mac, and Natalie Dormer as Sarah. Paul is a loser plagued by apocalyptic visions of dead landscapes covered in ash. He soon discovers that he can actually see what the show calls “Fades”. The portals between the realms for the passage of the dead have ceased to function, trapping the spirits of the dead on Earth. A spirit, Polus (Joe Dempsie), has become consumed with revenge and the destruction of the world as he clings to the light of life.
While dubbing those who can see Fades as “Angelic” is a bit trivial, the show itself is a tense, chilling ride to an apocalyptic fate that seems inevitable. The acting is breathtaking, Polus is terrifying in his pursuit of life, and the ending will leave viewers shaken and wishing there was more.
Created by the mind of Charlie Brooker, the mind that brought the world black mirror and the TV series news shot and Screen Blanking, Dead Set is a satirical look at the world of reality TV and what happens when the zombie apocalypse comes, but people live in a bubble. Set on the night of the eviction at the Big Brother UK house and featuring the presenter and previous contestants, things go from bland reality TV to gore-fest nightmare in the blink of an eye as the fast-spreading zombie infection sweeping the nation finds the isolated workshop.
Unbeknownst to the contestants in the house, bloody devastation is inflicted on those outside the house as they bicker over inconsequential nonsense. Filled with silly reality TV personalities, social politics and a glimpse of true humanity, Dead Set was a smart, bloody entry into the zombie-saturated genre.
Following the unlikely friendship between a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf, To be human was one of the most innovative and touching series to come out of the BBC in a long time. Ghost Annie (Lenora Crichlow), vampire Mitchell (Aidan Turner) and werewolf George (Russell Tovey) are roommates in Bristol trying to navigate a supernatural world through the lens of “normal” humanity. At the heart of the series, it is about the chemistry of the 3 main characters and their search to belong to a world to which they do not belong. Along the way, it happens to be bloody, mayhem, and absolutely nerve-wracking to watch werewolf transformations. Russell Tovey sells the agony of his transformations in a way that’s almost impossible to watch.
Although the last 2 seasons have strayed from the heart of the series and suffered from it, the first 3 seasons remain among the best television shows produced in the late 2000s. Needless to say, the American remake did not have everything quite captured the heart of the original.
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