The Walking Dead is now completely done, but the universe continues to snarl forward with a bevy of spinoff series. The undead/resurrected zombie subgenre of horror can go a lot of different ways, from the downright ridiculousness of Shaun of the Dead to the unquestionably scary Train to Busan. But, where does The Walking Dead fall into that spectrum? Is The Walking Dead scary?
Of course, scariness is subjective but even I, a not-easily-spooked person, will admit that there are some legit frightening happenings in this series. In no particular order, here are the seven scariest episodes of The Walking Dead:
“On the Inside” (Season 11, Episode 6)
The show’s final season delivers one of the show’s best and most frightening episodes ever. Connie, a Deaf survivor, is surviving on the road with Virgil. That alone is scary enough considering how he tried to kill Michonne in the previous season. But when you toss in a group of feral cannibals on their trail and them taking refuge in a creepy cabin of horrors, it all adds up to a heart-pounding episode. Thankfully, we do get some joy at the end when Connie is reunited with some of her people, including her sister Kelly.
“No Way Out” (Season 6, Episode 9)
Alexandria goes through its worst nightmare in this episode. A herd of walkers is moving through the community, causing death and panic throughout its streets. Carl gets shot, Rick’s “girlfriend” and her son Sam are devoured, and it seems that they will all die. However, Rick goes into his “murder mode” heading out to hack walkers down like an apocalyptic superhero. Of course, Michonne and others from his group join him but the Alexandrians prove their might by getting in on this fight. The intensity and fear that anyone could die at any time (well, except Rick) doesn’t let up in this episode.
“The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” (Season 7, Episode 1)
This episode is one that quite a few fans watched once and will never, ever revisit. (It’s me, I’m fans.) It is a fateful day that Dr. Jenner warned Rick about: the one where he wouldn’t be thankful for staying alive. Negan and his barbed wire bat are absolutely terrifying as they beat Abraham and Glenn’s heads to mush. Rick’s tear-stained eyes, spiraling fear, and subsequent mental torture by Negan make your stomach fall to your feet. It is a brutal and absolutely the scariest episode of The Walking Dead for a lot of fans.
“A” (Season 4, Episode 16)
This season finale is full of frightening moments, specifically in its latter half. The Claimers have Rick, Michonne, and Carl in their clutches, threatening death and horrific assaults. We don’t know how Rick will save himself and his family but he finds a way. And whoa is it gruesome. Rick takes a bite of a criminal’s throat, blood spraying all over his face as he spits out a chunk of meat. He’s ruthless and looking really good in that brown jacket. (It is not better than his iconic hat but still a great piece of Rick clothing.) Then, the fear amps up in a different yet still unsettling way once we realize that Terminus is a very bad place. Rick declares they are messing with the wrong people in a dark train car, leaving us all on edge about how they will survive. The Walking Dead packs a mini horror adventure packed into one episode, which is why its on our scariest list.
“Evolution” (Season 9, Episode 8)
There’s nothing scarier than discovering that a walker is actually a living person wearing a skin mask. The Whisperers didn’t have a chainsaw but they did have the perfect camouflage to sneak up on a group of our survivors. Foggy surroundings in a graveyard and a sneak attack on poor Jesus reveals a new horror for everyone.
“Ghosts” (Season 10, Episode 3)
Sometimes, the scariest things are what our mind imagines. That’s what happens with Carol as she faces the real threat of the Whisperers along with some hallucinations. This episode plays into the horror trope of feeling like you are being constantly watched, followed, and/or surrounded by your worst fears. Reality and fiction are not that easy to distinguish, making all its fearful moments plausible.
“Beside the Dying Fire” (Season 2, Episode 13)
A barn on fire, a field full of walkers, and a desperate attempt for everyone to escape cap off an otherwise mostly chill season of The Walking Dead. There’s clear inspiration from Romero’s Night of the Living Dead here as walkers descend from all areas to Hershel’s farm. Some people go out with gruesome deaths while others find themselves alone in the woods, separated from their new found family. Many people may not consider this to be scary but they’d be singing a different tune if they were actually experiencing this pivotal event.