Way back when in 2005, Supernatural was a little show that could, rooted firmly in horror with its premise of two brothers that hunt all things that go bump in the night. Twelve seasons in (soon to be thirteen), it has evolved into more of a fantasy-focused series, with more and more time dedicated to the ongoing plot. So, to celebrate that I have survived 8 days of this season’s spring hiatus, here are my top 5 scary episodes of Supernatural. (NEEDLESS TO SAY, SOME SPOILERS AHEAD).
5. Time is on My Side (3×15)
This one really creeped me out. The second to last episode of the third season sees the Winchesters no closer to getting Dean out of the deal that will send him straight to Hell at the end of the year. This one is very tense as the stress and pressure of the impending date loom over the brothers. Sam finds what he thinks may be the answer in the form of a very creepy, very old, very murdery doctor who has found the secret to immortality. As with most things that seem too good to be true, the price is high…and bloody. That ice cream scoop-eyeball shot will haunt me forever.
4. Bloody Mary (1×05)
This one doesn’t really need explaining. What makes it creepy is that Bloody Mary in this episode is actually a vengeful spirit of a woman murdered in front of a huge, creepy mirror. Bent on revenge, she can move not only from mirror to mirror, but through any reflective surface, killing those who harbour guilt over feeling responsible for another person’s death. At this point in the series, the death of Sam’s girlfriend, Jessica, is still fresh. While he refuses to tell Dean why he feels responsible, the reveal to the viewer helps to kick off a major plot point that sets them down the road (so far) to an epic five season reveal.
3. Safe House (11×16)
By season 11, the relationship between Sam and Dean had seen a beating (or ten). In order to focus on re-aligning them as brothers and hunters, the show started moving back in the direction of monster of the week cases. What has made the last couple of seasons great is their ability to maintain the thread of continuous story through one off episodes. Safe House focuses on a case that Bobby and Rufus (who are pretty much THE BEST) worked five years prior; it appears that the monster was not dispatched as believed. The use of flashbacks in this one is really fun as they compare old hunters and new investigating the same case. What they discover is a Soul Eater, a monster that lives in the mirror dimension of an old house, crosses over into our version of the house, steals a person’s soul, and slowly feasts on it while their body rots in a coma. On top of that, it can take over the body it leaves behind, and seeing Dean with white eyes tell Sam, “I can keep you safe….forever” while brandishing a butcher knife is easily one of the creepiest moments in the series.
2. Skin (1×06)
The cool thing about the first season of Supernatural is that while it is light on ongoing plot, it establishes a lot of “monster rules” for dealing with creatures that will be encountered throughout the series. When an old college friend of Sam’s contacts him and lets him know that her brother has been arrested for murdering his girlfriend, they come to check it out and encounter a shapeshifter. This particular darling has been posing as loving husbands and boyfriends and then serial killing his way through their wives and girlfriends. When the shifter’s next disguise becomes Dean, it makes for a pretty freaking awesome, gooey, shifting scene. This episode also features one of my favourite opening scenes of the series. True to form for the first season, the episode uses the monster as a catalyst for the brothers to understand each other after several years apart, tapping into Dean’s belief that they can never leave the hunting life or bring anyone else into it, as well as his bitterness that Sam managed to escape it for a while.
1. My Bloody Valentine (5×14)
Season 5 was intended to be the last, and was the last for creator Eric Kripke, who had a plan to finish the story he wanted to tell at the end of the season. A lot of pieces were falling into place. Things started getting very biblical. In this season, the Winchesters are dealing with the fallout of the onset of the Apocalypse, and are forced to take on the Four Horseman. The episode opens with a couple who are, shall we say, ravenous for each other….and cannibalize each other while hooking up. It gets ickier from there. It turns out that Famine has rolled into town, and is causing people in this town to go “hungry” and binge on what they crave. What was cool about this one was that it could be anything….attention, love, or, in the case of an unfortunate lap-band patient, Twinkies. What pushes this one into creepy as hell territory is Famine himself, who is a frail, feeble old man being pushed around in a wheelchair. He himself consumes souls, rasping, “Huuuunnnnnnggggggrrrrryyyyyy….” when he’s ready to eat. (insert shudder here….I can still hear it). It’s a pretty heavy episode in terms of the characters, and Jensen Ackles nails that heartbreaking last scene.
Runners-Up: I know it feels like a cheat, but give me a break! They’ve aired 256 episodes so far, and narrowing it down to 5 (or even these 10!) is way too hard. The Benders (1×15), Croatoan (2×09), The Kids are Alright (3×02), Family Remains (3×11), Repo Man (7×15).