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THS Fright-A-Thon: The Scariest Classic Doctor Who Episodes

One of the best things about a long-running sci-fi series is the chance to craft some truly terrifying stories. And Doctor Who definitely delves into horror from time to time.

In honor of Halloween, we’re taking a look back at some of the scariest episodes from the series’ classic run. From ghosts to demons, vampires to monsters, check out the scariest serials from Classic Who below.

Ghost Light

Doctor Who "Ghost Light"

In “Ghost Light,” the Seventh Doctor and Ace explore a haunted house with ties to Ace’s past. Basically, this one’s got all the things you’d expect from a haunted house story – including a dangerous secret in the basement.

Image of the Fendahl

“Image of the Fendahl” reminds me a lot of The X-Files. It starts with an ominous, unexplained death in the woods near a scientific research base. When the Fourth Doctor and Leela arrive, they begin to uncover a cult plot; one of the researchers wants to resurrect an ancient alien and let it possess people to take over the planet.

Horror of Fang Rock

Another excellent Fourth Doctor and Leela episode? “Horror of Fang Rock.” Trapped in a lighthouse, surrounded by fog, the occupants start falling victim to a mysterious possession…and then dying. It’s the perfect blend of gothic horror and a sci-fi ticking clock story. 

Also, you get to see Leela threaten to cut out someone’s heart while wearing a cozy sweater. If that doesn’t scream “ideal October vibe,” I don’t know what does.

The Dæmons

Doctor Who  "The Daemons"

The one where The Master summons a demon in his latest attempt to make an evil ally to destroy Earth. (Man, I love season 8.) “The Dæmons” fulfills all your spooky séance needs: ceremonial robes, ominous chanting, strange symbols, and an unknown, ultra-powerful force at play. Plus, there’s a gargoyle minion terrorizing the town.

State of Decay

If you’ve only watched modern Doctor Who, you’re probably unaware that Time Lords and vampires are ancient rivals. (Have I mentioned I love Who lore?) In “State of Decay,” the Fourth Doctor faces off with a trio of powerful vamps in a medieval town. The vampires in question are holed up in a spooky tower. Also, they’re trying to make Adric one of them and straight-up sacrifice Romana II. How’s that for spooky?

Curse of Fenric

Ok, the plot of “Curse of Fenric” is WILD and at times difficult to follow (Vikings? WWII? The church? The Moffat-level timey-wimey plot twist?). But the monsters are definitely some of the scariest in the Whoniverse. In this adventure the Seventh Doctor and Ace go up against an evil entity, Fenric, and his Haemovores, which are sort of vampire/zombie/ghoul creatures who feed on the blood of humans.

Brain of Morbius

Putting aside the Morbius Doctors debate, “The Brain of Morbius” is an excellent horror episode. It’s basically Time Lord Frankenstein: there’s a mad surgeon hacking up bodies from different species and re-assembling the parts into a new creature. And when he decides the Fourth Doctor’s head would be the perfect one for his creation, Sarah Jane and the Doctor are in trouble.

So, what do you think of our picks? Did the Doctor Who serial that scared you most make the list? Let us know in the comments.

And if you want more ideas for your Halloween binge watch? Check out Fright-A-Thon, our celebration of all things spooky and scary.

By Jessica Lancaster

They say write what you know, and I definitely know how to be a nerd.

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