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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Horror Reality TV Shows Ever Made

I’ve been sick as a dog this past week after bringing home a bug from my horror adventures at PanicFest. In my semi-delirious haze of sneezing out my eyeballs, bottomless teas, and naps on demand – there’s one guilty pleasure I always seem to gravitate to. Reality TV.  On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of small screen sinning for us horror fans. But once you dig through the ditches and burn through the witches, there are plenty of real-life frights to be found…

Reality TV has provided us with many horror-themed shows that will have you screaming at your screen. From prank shows to survival challenges, these shows take horror to a whole new level. So, put on your brave face and get ready for a guide to the best horror reality TV series of all time.


prank encounters horror reality tv

Prank Encounters

Air Date: October 25, 2019 – present

Hosted by Stranger Things’ Gaten Matarazzo, Prank Encounters is a prank show with a horror twist. Each episode features two strangers who believe they’re starting a new job, only to find themselves in a situation straight out of a horror movie. From haunted houses to creepy forests, the unsuspecting victims are put to the test as they try to escape the terrifying pranks.

Catch this one streaming on Netflix.


escape the night horror reality tv

Escape the Night

Air Date: June 22, 2016 – present

Hosted by YouTuber Joey Graceffa, Escape the Night is a web series that takes its contestants back in time to different eras, where they must solve puzzles and complete challenges to escape a deadly fate. In each episode, the contestants must work together to solve the mystery and escape the cursed mansion before it’s too late.

Find this murder mystery on Youtube Premium.



Boulet Brothers’ Dragula

Air Date: October 31, 2016 – present

This competition show features drag performers who compete in various gruesome challenges, from creating horror-inspired looks to performing in terrifying stunts to avoid elimination. The show is known for its unique blend of drag and horror, creating a one-of-a-kind viewing experience.

New seasons of this dragtastic reality series can be found on Shudder.


killer camp horror reality tv

Killer Camp

Air Date: 27 October 2019 – 8 December 2021

This UK-based reality show takes the format of a summer camp, but with a deadly twist. Each episode, the contestants are faced with challenges, and one of them is secretly the “killer.” The remaining contestants must work together to figure out who the killer is before they’re eliminated.

Find this series on the CW.



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hellevator horror reality tv


Air Date: October 21, 2015 – October 28, 2016

In Hellevator, teams of three must ride an elevator down to different levels of a haunted building, completing challenges and solving puzzles to earn money. However, the challenges become increasingly terrifying as the contestants descend further into the building, and they must face their fears to win the prize money.

Hellevator originally aired on the Game Show Network, and was available to stream on Netflix for a time, but is currently unavailable to stream. sadface.


scare tactics horror reality tv

Scare Tactics

Air Date: April 2003 – October 28, 2013

This hidden-camera show pranks unsuspecting victims into thinking they’re in a horror movie. From alien invasions to killer clowns, the pranks are designed to scare the victims out of their wits. The show was hosted by Tracy Morgan and featured various celebrity guests.

This series originally aired on MTV. You can currently rent it on Apple TV and Amazon.


scream queens 2008 horror reality tv

Scream Queens

Air Date: October 20, 2008 – September 27, 2010

This competition show featured 10 aspiring horror actresses competing for a role in a Saw movie. Each week, the contestants would participate in acting challenges and horror-themed photo shoots, and the judges would eliminate one contestant until the final Scream Queen was crowned.

Scream Queens is currently streamable on Tubi, Roku, and Plex.


13 fear is real horror reality tv

13: Fear is Real

Air Date: January 7 – February 20, 2009

In this show, 13 contestants are placed in a creepy, abandoned town and must face their biggest fears to win a cash prize. Each episode, one contestant is “killed off” in a gruesome way, leaving the remaining contestants to wonder who will be next.

The series originally aired on the CW, and is currently unavailable to stream.




Estate of Panic

Air Date: November 12 – December 17, 2008

This competition show takes place in a creepy mansion, where contestants must complete challenges to win money. However, the mansion is rigged with various traps and surprises to scare the contestants and make their challenges even more difficult.

This series originally aired on Sci Fi. You can currently rent it on Apple TV and Amazon.


room 401 horror reality tv

Room 401

Air Date: July 17 – August 21, 2007

In Room 401, unsuspecting victims are placed in a room with a hidden camera, and the producers create a terrifying scenario for them to experience. From haunted mirrors to possessed dolls, the show’s pranks are designed to scare the living daylights out of its viewers.

The series originally aired on the CW, and is currently unavailable to stream.


mtv's fear horror reality tv series


Air Date: September 21, 2000 – April 28, 2002

This show sends a group of young adults to a haunted location to investigate paranormal activity. Armed with only cameras and their wits, the contestants must spend the night in the haunted location and capture evidence of paranormal activity.

Editor’s Note: This show should have never been canceled. It was peak television. Not currently available to stream and was never released to DVD, but a little birdy tells me there are episodes available on youtube.


secrets crypt keeper

Secrets of the Cryptkeeper’s Haunted House

Air Date: September 14, 1996 – August 23, 1997

This show was aimed at a younger audience, but it still provided a healthy dose of scares. In each episode, a group of kids must navigate their way through a haunted house, solving puzzles and avoiding obstacles to reach the end.

Editor’s Note: If you’re part of the Nightmare on Film Street Fiend Club on Patreon, you’ve enjoyed a few of the available episodes as part of our Saturday Morning Cartoons Watchparties. Unfortunately, very few full-length episodes are available online.


So whether you’re bundling up with a cold and just want to laugh at some poor unwitting people getting pranked, or some contestants avoid fictional murder for another chance at a cash prize, or just plain looking for something to binge, this is the ultimate guide to horror reality tv. There aren’t many, but there are still some gems!

We’re going to be rounding up some of the best paranormal reality TV for a future article! Let us know your picks over on Twitter or in the Nightmare on Film Street Discord!

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