Because of the success of, wait for it, the HBO version of Tales from the Crypt, a few other anthology-based horror TV shows received a shot. They even made a few specifically for children.
Body Bags was put together by Showtime, who then decided they didn’t want to do a show after filming began. The stories, directed by John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper (with uncredited work by Larry Sulkis) are more than fun than creepy or scary, but they create an atmosphere that would have made for an entertaining Tales from the Crypt clone.
Of the stories, each introduced by Carpenter as a deranged morgue attendant (he’s great), “The Gas Station” is a potent dark comedy gem.
Watch if: You want something a little silly, but not too cartoonish. Avoid if: You need your horror stories at least somewhat based in reality.
7. Three…Extremes (2004)
“Dumplings”, which was also released as a full-length feature on its own, is such an overwhelmingly hellish story, the other two sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
Nonetheless, as unforgettable as “Dumplings” (directed by Fruit Chan) is in its story and execution, both “Cut” and “Box” (directed by Chan-wook Park and Takashi Miike respectively) contribute in their own vital way to the whirlwind of madness that swoops you into this collection.
Three…Extremes is perhaps the darkest and scariest horror anthology movie on this list, which is certainly saying something.
Watch if: You want to say “Well…that was messed up” several times in a row. Avoid if: You have a weak stomach, or happen to be particularly sensitive to very, very, very disturbing sounds.
Of all the movies on this list to contain elements of comedy, Trick ‘r Treat, written and directed by Michael Dougherty, is the one that leans the heaviest on humor. Just don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security.
With stories that actually interact with one another at various points throughout, Trick ‘r Treat has comedic touches to spare, but also some moments that are genuinely and effectively pretty shocking. There is an appealing haunted house quality to the movie. It makes sense Universal has included the film in some of their seasonal Halloween offerings.
Watch if: You want to see an anthology horror movie that could easily become its own universe. Avoid if: You won’t be able to deal with the fact that we’re probably never going to get another one of these. Goddammit.
9. Fear(s) of the Dark (2008)
Quite frankly, there just aren’t enough black and white animated horror films out there. Once again, the French lead the way.
Fear(s) of the Dark, which is one delightful head wreck after another, is more than just a really unique way to present several horror tales on the subject of fear. Using its highly stylized animation, it is also a unique array of entirely new methods for expressing a gnawing, constant concern for the things we can’t see. Rationally, we know they aren’t there.
Fear(s) of the Dark is so good, it makes the impossible as plausible as that sound you just heard, which was almost certainly just the wind.
Watch if: You’ve been craving a truly unique animated horror movie. Avoid if: You aren’t willing to consider that an animated film can be scary.
10. Ghost Stories (2017)
Just in case you didn’t know already: The British are still doing good stuff in horror, and in anthology-based horror in particular.
Ghost Stories plays around with the formula a bit, connecting everything to a professor (Andy Nyman) who is determined to solve three unexplainable stories.
Martin Freeman doesn’t get enough credit for how well he can step into creepy, but the entire cast seems to have a good time with a story that is scary from top to bottom yet has an odd sense of humor about its take on horror. Must be that dry British wit.
Watch if: You like droll subversions of horror tropes. Avoid if: The above sentence just made you throw up a little.