When people talk about scary Doctor Who episodes, they invariably talk about “Blink” and the Weeping Angels. But let’s get over that, shall we?
Chances are, even if you’re only remotely interested in Doctor Who, you’ve seen those episodes, or at least heard of them. So forget “Blink.” Forget those stone statues. Forget everything you think you know about Doctor Who’s quirky brand of science fiction. If you want to get real, Doctor Who is a sci-fi horror show that is just pretending to be a funny, happy-go-lucky time travel show. The best Doctor Who episodes will make you afraid of the dark. So, when you think of it like that, it’s actually very hard to pick five of the scariest episodes of the show. (And impossible if you considered the classic series.)
So, only focusing on the new version of the show, here are five very scary Doctor Who episodes for Halloween.
This is a recreation of a segment from Inverse’s Multiverse newsletter distributed October 24. Subscribe for free to get weekly streaming recommendations.
“Midnight” — Season 4, Episode 11
When David Tennant boards a space bus on a planet made of crystal, nothing can go wrong … until a weird ghost alien starts copying everything everyone says.
This is one of the best Doctor Who monsters ever, because it’s basically you.
- Watch “Midnight” on Amazon Prime.
“The Waters of Mars”
This episode is technically David Tennant’s penultimate story as the 10th Doctor, even though it’s a special and not part of any particular season of the show.
Creepy water zombies — who look like they need Chapstick really bad —make this story scary, but it’s extra scary because Tennant loses his cool and acts like a raving lunatic in one of his most chilling performances as the 10th Doctor.
- Watch “Waters of Mars,” part of Tennant’s 2009 specials, on Amazon Prime.
“Listen” — Season 8, Episode 4
A brilliant Peter Capaldi episode that imagines an alien who is basically responsible for every creepy ghost story ever.
Even creepier is the twist ending about the origin of this particular ghost story and what it means to the wider lore of Doctor Who.
- Watch “Listen” on Amazon Prime.
“Heaven Sent” — Season 9, Episode 11
Capaldi’s best episode of Doctor Who is one of the strongest episodes of the entire series.
The Doctor is trapped in a haunted castle that is half escape-the-room, half eternal hell. It’s like Sartre’s No Exit, except there’s just one character.
- Watch “Heaven Sent” on Amazon Prime.
“It Takes You Away” — Season 11, Episode 9
From the newest season of Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor finds a blind girl alone in a house surrounded by terrifying noises.
What’s really going on is even scarier, and it winds up becoming one of Doctor Who’s most creative “ghost” stories.
- You can buy “It Takes You Away” on Amazon for $2.99.