Nothing is scarier than scary stories written for children. That’s why the best scary stories are ageless, and Doctor Who can still scare the bejeezes out of us today.

A lot of the best Doctor Who episodes have good spooks to them, but all of the best episodes are straight-up scary. There are these elements of body horror, of creeping fear and terror, that are just marvelously scary. And sometimes, something just reaches out and grabs and you yelp and hide behind the sofa.

Characters show their true colors in the face of fear, and no one faces fear like the Doctor. He can stare down devils, give directions in the face of creeping evil, and run towards any form of danger no matter how much his survival instincts scream at him to turn around. Nothing scares like Doctor Who, and there is no one quite as brave as the Doctor.

12. Journey To The Center Of The Tardis

Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS Header

This episode may be unpopular, but it’s still bloody freaky. The Tardis, a place of safety and comfort, is suddenly full of terrifying charred zombies. The zombies are chasing people around the ship, with no particular motive and no hint of what they’re going to do to you if they catch you.

What the heck are they? Where are they from? Not knowing makes them scary, which is why Clara again and again demands that the Doctor tell her what they are. He resists, but bits and pieces leak out. He calls one of the monsters “she,” he insists that Clara not ask. And when the sensor figures it out, all he can do is apologize.

Knowing makes them even more terrifying, as you realize that the menace throughout the episode, the horrific creatures that have been stumbling around, have been Clara, the Doctor, and the one-shot friends the whole time.

The monster you’ve been running from is revealed to be yourself. Pretty spooky, am I right?

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This article was first posted on September 13, 2013