11 '90s Shows That Could Still Totally Scare You

by Michelle Lulic

There was a genre that existed in '90s kids and teens television that was completely unlike anything we have seen in the television scope of today: Horror-themed television. With the help of spooky theme songs, unquestionable monsters, and edge-of-your-seat mysteries, it's no wonder that the kids of the '90s slept with night lights on. In fact, even today, certain '90s shows are still totally terrifying. However, the uniqueness of shows like Goosebumps and Are You Afraid Of The Dark? were not only terrifying, but they were intriguing. If one of these horror shows came on while you were at a friend's house, who cared if you were scared? You all sat around the television and continued to watch it together anyway. It was just the thing to do, and the parents really didn't seem to notice it anyway. But, looking back, it's crazy to think that these shows could have even been deemed kid-appropriate.

Horror show writers — or, I'm sorry — general television writers of the '90s did not slack off or think ill of their seemingly-young audience. Instead, they decided to see just how many kids they could get to pee their pants. From episodes with killer dummies to mummy attacks to spooky potions, these shows went all out, which made for some intense after school watches and some unexpected nightmares. So, get ready to relive your messed up childhood. Here are eight of your favorite shows from the '90s that used to scare you — and probably still can.

1. Goosebumps (1995-1998)

Whether you read the books that the TV show was based on or not, Goosebumps was bound to give you nightmares if you watched it as a kid. Because, somehow, this children's show was able to sneak things in that the children's shows of today wouldn't dare touch. From Slappy the living dummy terrorizing his owner to an entire family basically dying on their trip to Horror Land to an episode where a mask gets permanently stuck to a kid's face, this stuff was no joking matter.

2. Are You Afraid Of The Dark? (1990-2000)

This show's content is still completely terrifying when you look back at it today. Some of the ghost stories told in the show included tales of soul-sucking mirrors, porcelain dolls coming to life, and who could forget "The Tale Of Laughing In The Dark" episode. If you're afraid of clowns, watching that creepy clown-filled episode could very well be the reason why. Just talking about it is tempting me to marathon the show right now, but I honestly don't even know if I can handle it.

3. Tales From The Crypt (1989-1996)

Tales From The Crypt was an HBO show that lasted technically began in 1989, but kept a strong presence throughout the early and mid-'90s. And while it was aimed at adults with its terrifying content from the popular E.C. comic books of the '50s, odds are you tried to sneak into the room while your parents were watching it at some point. Even the show's first episode ("The Man Who Was Death") was absolutely terrifying. Let's just say the pilot episode's plot focused on a former executioner who didn't know when to stop, and it just got more gory and disturbing from there.

4. Tales From The Cryptkeeper (1993-1999)

And with Tales From The Crypt being such a hit, why not turn the scary adult HBO show into something kid friendly? Tales From The Cryptkeeper was the exact same concept in the form of a cartoon for kids that aired on ABC. However, having the show as a cartoon and toned down a bit still didn't totally make the whole idea any less scary. Despite the show's light-hearted spin, episodes included tales about what could happen if you "cry wolf," encounters with monsters, and getting sucked into a grave site.

5. Eerie, Indiana (1991-1992)

If there is one town you didn't want to live in as a kid, it was Eerie, Indiana. Although the show was short-lived, it still packed on the terror with tales of this town just being not quite right. Ghosts in the local library, kids sleeping in plastic containers, and friends literally dying made this town — and Marshall's childhood — absolutely not okay. Yet the show seemed to be deemed family appropriate at the time. OK, '90s. Whatever you say.

6. Scooby-Doo

Scooby-Doo has crossed generations, so it's hard to say that this show is strictly a '90s thing. But our favorite crime-chasing pup definitely had an impact on the kids of the '90s. Show watchers were introduced to mummies, monsters, and numerous other out-of-the-ordinary ghost encounters. The Scooby-Doo franchise doesn't seem like it's slowing down anytime soon, which means it will be finding new ways to scare us, and make us laugh, for many years to come.

7. The Demon Headmaster (1996-1998)

As another kid's series based on books, The Demon Headmaster was a BBC produced show about a school teacher who is just plain evil. And, no, I don't mean in a homework-assigning sense. This headmaster did things like control his students, try to clone them, and just act overly suspicious. Watching this show today would be nothing less than cringe-worthy.

8. So Weird (1999-2001)

So Weird follows a preteen named Fiona who is deeply affected by the death of her father and, in response, obsesses over the supernatural world. While this show wouldn't be blatantly be considered "scary" per se, it definitely is a pretty disturbing concept when you look at the bigger picture. The fear factor is entirely in how this show was way too real to handle, especially as a kid.

9. The New Addams Family (1998-1999)

When the Addams Family returned to television in the late-'90s, it certainly was nothing new. However, that didn't stop this classic family from being disturbing. While I may not go so far as to say that this show was terrifying, it definitely makes me wonder how kids who admired and wanted to be like characters like Wednesday and Pugsley ended up even remotely normal. I don't even know what normal is.

10. Beetlejuice (1989-1991)

I guess I should have expected all of this coming from the mind of Tim Burton, right? Just the animation from the show's intro is creepy enough for me. There's nothing else that says childhood nightmares quite like a ghost coming to us from the "Neitherworld."

11. Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

As Buffy went on fighting off evil, fans always stayed on the edge of their seat trying to see if she could make it through. And, while the show wasn't necessarily terrifying, it was still full of the vampires and monsters that you certainly wouldn't want to encounter on your average day.

You can say that it's headed back in this terrifying direction with shows like Scream, Scream Queens, and, of course, American Horror Story. However, it seems as if the age ranges are going to remain bumped up a bit from here on out. And maybe that's for the best.

Images: Protocol Entertainment/Scholastic Productions; Giphy