With the abundance of creepy shows on TV, some may argue that even the baddest of the bad on CW’s The Vampire Diaries are just too good looking to be scary. That fact, combined with all of the angsty romance (the Damon, Elena, Stefan love triangle), witty repartee and complex story lines (doppelgangers, Travelers and curses, oh my!) isn’t always conducive to making this show full of supernaturals especially frightening. And, while Vampire Diaries fans probably prefer their fright light and Damon shirtless, the show has had it’s share of goosebumps-inducing episodes. Here’s a look back at 10 of The Vampire Diaries’ scariest episodes.
#10 “A Few Good Men,” Season 1
Elena’s search for her birth mother and Alaric’s wife, Isobel, coincided with Alaric’s finding out the details surrounding her supposed death. Isobel proved to be a shadowy, malignant figure who compelled a poor guy to deliver messages, commit murder and then stand in front of speeding vehicles. Add to that the tomb vampires roaming around and Ric’s death and subsequent reincarnation, and this episode is a standout when it comes to goosebumps.
#9 “The Turning Point,” Season 1
A new vampire appeared, and he had multiple agendas. A member of one of the founding families, and a vampire hater, Logan Fell became collateral damage in the hunt for the Salvatores. When changed by a mystery vamp, he started skulking, stalking and killing like a pro. Logan didn’t last long, but he was an insidious presence for the extent of his undead existence. A very dark episode with a bone chilling ending.
#8 “Resident Evil,” Season 5
Grams shows up and gives Bonnie an ominous warning about The Other Side, the residents of Mystic Falls start getting boarded by Travelers, and tall, dark and creepy Markos made his debut as an understated but effective antagonist. This episode marked the beginning of the end of Mystic Falls as viewers knew it. The supernatural purgatory was like something out of a sinister fairy tale complete with an insidious villain from the past.
#7 “Pictures of You,” Season 4
Bonnie’s foray into magic way above her pay grade made her one of the scariest things about season 4. That coupled with Elena’s lack of humanity led to an almost deadly showdown between the former besties at their senior prom. Let’s not forgot Silas skulking around disguising himself as the deceased little Gilbert among others. There’s even a scene slightly reminiscent, although far less violent, from the movie Carrie.
#6 “Down the Rabbit Hole,” Season 4
The supposed final stop on the search for the cure for immortality was a remote island off the coast of Novia Scotia. In addition to the resting place of Silas, the group is being hunted by other enemies all with a vested interest in getting to Silas’ tomb first. Tricked by hallucinations, lost in an underground tunnel with only the thing that goes bump in the night to guide those seeking an invaluable elixir. The results are bleak: two members of the hunting party meet their ends, one her mind, and eventually, another, her humanity.
#5 “Before Sunset,” Season 3
Only the Original witch could create a creature so fearsome that Klaus would want to leave town. Alaric was such a threat that it forced the Salvatore brothers to work with their arch enemy and even resulted in Elena literally sticking her neck out for Klaus. Alaric’s new found singular focus caused him to wreak a lot of havoc. Both Gilbert siblings’ lives hung in the balance. Lots of serious dark magic, Carolyn tortured with number two pencils, and multiple near death experiences. A faux, surprise happy ending set fans up for a shocking season finale.
#4 “The Birthday,” Season 3
Thanks to Klaus’ training, sweet puppy Stefan returned to his Ripper ways. He killed and tortured with no signs of remorse. Stefan even left behind a gruesome tableau of two of his victims it seemed to even turn Alaric’s stomach. On top of Stefan’s bender, Jeremy was seeing the ghosts of girlfriends’ past thanks to his sojourn to the great beyond and back again. Some pretty grisly imagery by The Vampire Diaries standards for sure.
#3 “The Sun Also Rises.” Season 2
It was a climactic episode an entire season in the making. This was the first time that it was obvious that a major character wasn’t going to escape unharmed. Watching Klaus brutally sacrifice Jules and then turn his attention towards Jenna. Jenna’s fear during her transition and the realization of what awaited her and her niece was palpable. Despite Stefan’s last ditch effort, Jenna was staked after a feeble attempt to save herself. The combination of lives hanging in the balance mixed with Klaus’ cold determination made this episode both frightening and heartbreaking. The Vampire Diaries broke from its Hail Mary format and illustrated that sometimes the bad guy wins.
#2 “The Last Dance,” Season 2
The arrival of the elusive Klaus had the entire Mystic Falls crew on edge. The fact that he cleverly chose to disguise himself in the body of everybody’s favorite history teacher made his presence that much more disturbing. Klaus was big on cryptic messages and mind games, and he was creative when it came to torture, having Katherine self-mutilate under compulsion. His stalker tendencies resulted in an unforgettable showdown between himself and Bonnie. A great introduction to a villain so good at being bad, he got his own spinoff.
A couple falls victim to something sinister on a country road late at night. There’s smoke, crows and shadowy figures. A Mystic Falls girl gets attacked in the woods at a party. The first episode of The Vampire Diaries had all the elements of a horror movie. Jeremy was a drug addict and the pain of he and Elena’s parents death was fresh for both. The tone of the show’s premiere was very dark and quip free. Before Damon became an anti-hero, he was a ruthless villain, a smoking hot bad guy, but evil nonetheless.
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.