Look, all Doctor Who fans know how terrifying “Blink” is. The Weeping Angels are incredibly scary villains, but you don’t need me to tell you that.
In a show as long-running as Doctor Who, there’s a lot more scares to be had. So in honor of Halloween, here are the scariest episodes of the modern series that aren’t Blink.
(Note: We’ve also excluded the other main Weeping Angel story arcs – “The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone” and “The Angels Take Manhattan.”)
A classic haunted house story featuring the Eleventh Doctor and Clara. The duo launch a paranormal investigation alongside a psychic medium. “Hide” combines classic haunted house scares with a creepy parallel world shadow dimension.
9. Knock Knock
Another haunted house story, this time with the Twelfth Doctor and Bill. “Knock Knock” gets the edge over “Hide” thanks to the added claustrophobia of the living walls and a forced lockdown. Plus, there’s a more personal element at play with Bill being the one to move in to the house. Oh, the too-real horrors of student housing.
8. The God Complex
“The God Complex” is an inventive sci-fi twist on the haunted hotel story. When the Eleventh Doctor arrives with Amy and Rory, the TARDIS mysteriously disappears, leaving them as stranded as the other occupants. And in this hotel, there’s a room for everyone – a room that contains what they fear the most. Hypothetical fear drives this story – wondering what could be behind each door proves more terrifying than actually finding out.
7. The Witchfinders
When the Doctor travels back in time in her new female form, of course she’ll get marked as a witch and be persecuted by the town. Of course. But mass hysteria isn’t the only enemy Thirteen and her fam find themselves up against. There’s a dark force at work here, raising the dead and possessing their bodies.
6. The Unquiet Dead
Speaking of raising the dead… In only the third episode of the revival, the Ninth Doctor and Rose find themselves investigating ghostly possessions alongside Charles Dickens. The swirling, glowing spirits, the bodies breaking out of coffins, the group séance, and the ultimately tragic ending all combine to make “The Unquiet Dead” good and creepy.
5. Night Terrors
If you’ve always been scared of dolls, “Night Terrors” was made for you. Eleven takes Amy and Rory to investigate a psychic cry for help from a frightened child. They end up getting sucked into a dollhouse where the (not human) kid sends all his worst fears. There are…a lot of creepy dolls. Which should really serve as a lesson to all parents to stop giving those to kids.
4. The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances
Four words: Are you my mummy?
“The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances” arc is iconic for a lot of reasons (it introduces Captain Jack Harkness!) but the gas-mask wearing child remains one of the creepiest adversaries in the Whoniverse. And watching people’s faces contort and change to grow those gas mask faces? Definitely horrifying.
3. Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
This Tenth Doctor and Donna adventure introduces one of the best-ever one-off monsters: the Vashta Nerada. The idea that a shadow – not every shadow, but any shadow – could contain a swarm of invisible, flesh-eating creatures? Well, that sticks with you. Are the skeleton-in-a-spacesuit effects a little hokey? Sure. But the ominous threat of what lurks unseen in the dark still makes this arc one of Doctor Who’s all-time scariest stories.
2. The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit
Even though Doctor Who has included some pretty wild monsters, I don’t think anyone could have predicted a showdown between the Doctor and Satan himself. But that’s exactly what the “Impossible Planet/Satan Pit” arc gives us. These two episodes have the hulking demonic form of Satan, evil red-eyed Ood, and a terrifying possession wrapped up in a ticking-clock story.
After flesh-devouring shadows and the actual Devil, you may wonder how the unseen copycat in “Midnight” could come out on top. First, unknown terrors are always the scariest. Nothing works harder to scare us than our own imaginations. Plus, “Midnight” represents a strong departure from the standard Doctor Who story. While the Doctor loves to taut the inner goodness of humans, the travelers in this episode work hard to prove him wrong. Because in the end the real monster on Midnight isn’t some unknown entity – it’s people. People actively choosing to turn on each other, to do harm instead of good.
And that’s more real and terrifying than any sci-fi monster.
So, did the story that scared you most make our list? Let us know in the comments. And if you’re a fan of the original Doctor Who, check out the scariest episodes of the classic series here.
Need even more scares for your Halloween binge? THS has you covered. Check out Fright-A-Thon for even more content.