The Best Horror Miniseries Performances, Ranked

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Throughout the history of the horror genre, there have been some amazing acting performances of all time. Portraits like Kathy Bates’ view of Annie Wilkes in Misery, and Duane Jones’ performance as Ben in night of the living dead deservedly taking the top spots when discussing horror performances. However, there have been just as many impressive performances in the TV world of horror, especially in the horror miniseries subgenre. Performances in miniseries (and as a whole) are usually overshadowed by movie releases, but having multiple episodes can often lead to better development and exploration of a character by an actor. The ability to have many hours of story to build gives actors a chance to really hit home with their performances, whether they’re trying to break our hearts or scare us. From phenomenal limited series like Midnight Massto occasional adaptations, such as Storm of the Centuryhere are the best acting performances in horror miniseries.


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8 Ben Mendelsohn – The Stranger (2020)

One miniseries that seemed to fly under the radar, and is often overlooked, is HBO’s the stranger, based on the novel by Stephen King. The story follows Detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn), who is still mourning the loss of his son, and takes it upon himself to be the lead investigator on a grizzly child murder case in his hometown. The evidence doesn’t quite match the facts, and we see that something more sinister could be going on. Typically, in stories like this, the detective is usually seen as a hardcore case hijacker who will stop at nothing to find his man. Mendelsohn brilliantly portrays the grieving father, using his depression and sadness to fuel his intent to solve the murder. Mendelsohn has recently appeared in supporting roles in films like Captain Marvel and Rogue One: A Star Wars Storybut in this miniseries, he really had the opportunity to flourish as the main character.

seven Colm Feore – Storm of the Century (1999)

Colm Feore is one of those actors who appears in a tonne of TV shows and movies, and the viewer says, “Where have I seen this before?” Well, one of his best and most memorable performances was as André Linoge in the 1999 miniseries. Storm of the Century. In this miniseries written by Stephen King, Feore plays a demonic alien who wreaks havoc and death on a small coastal town during a hurricane, intent only to stop once they get to him. have given one of their children to raise as their own. Some of the show’s effects are a bit dated, but Feore’s performance is iconic and chilling, as he sports coal-black eyes and mumbles his signature signature saying, “Born in lust, turn to dust. Born in sin, come!”

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6 Carla Gugino – The Haunting of Hill House (2018)

by Mike Flanagan The Haunting of Hill House is packed with incredible performances, and while the show dives deep into various members of its ensemble throughout episodes, the one constant focus is the haunting mental decline of Carla Guginothe character of Olivia Craine. The miniseries tells the story of a family that moves into an old mansion, hoping to renovate it and resell it. As the family begins to have paranormal experiences, they realize the old house is having an unusual effect on the family matriarch. Gugino’s ability to go from a loving, caring mother to a twisted, crazy conduit is incredible, empathetic, intense, and sad. Her performance earned her a Saturn Award nomination for Best Actress in a Streaming Presentation. She would go on to have a role in both Flanagan films The Haunting of Bly Manorand its forthcoming adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of House Usher.

5 Victoria Pedretti – The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)

After giving an excellent performance as a secondary character in Netflix The Haunting of Hill Housecast by Mike Flanagan Victoria Pedretti as the lead role in her second collaboration with Netflix, The Haunting of Bly Manor. In this mini-series, Pedretti plays Dani Clayton, and a young American woman hired to care for two orphaned children after the death of their au pair. Pedretti plays the role of smart, fearful, and caring, as she deals with the supernatural events that are going on in the old mansion she moves into. There’s an investigative, yet naïve feel to Pedretti’s performance, which makes the ending to the Emmy-nominated series all the more intense.

Related: These Are Victoria Pedretti’s Best Performances, Ranked

4 Kate Siegel & Zach Gilford – Midnight Mass (2021)

by Mike Flanagan Midnight Mass had an ensemble cast in which any of them could (and should) have been nominated for Emmys. However, two of the performances go hand in hand, with Zach Gilford like Riley Flynn and Kate Siegel like Erin Greene. Gilford plays Riley, a lost soul, fresh out of prison after accidentally killing a young woman while driving drunk. Siegel plays Erin, a pregnant teacher who escapes a physically abusive relationship. The two reunite on Crockett Island to start afresh, rekindling an old spark that began when they were teenagers, as they try to help each other overcome the events that haunt them. The two are absolute powerhouses in their scenes together, and their double monologue about what happens after death is one of the all-time great screen monologues.

3 Steven Weber – The Shining (1997)

Obviously Jack Nicholson’s performance in Stanley Kubrick the brilliant it’s a lot up to par, but Steven Weber does it brilliantly in the 1997 ABC miniseries adaptation of the brilliant. Unlike the film adaptation, the screenplay for this miniseries was written by Stephen King, and Steven Weber’s performance as Jack Torrance is much closer to the character in the original story. Weber does a phenomenal job showing the slow transition from loving father to possessed maniac over the course of the series. You can actually feel the actor struggling with both sides of mental health, while continuing to struggle with the unpredictable disease of alcoholism. The series won two Primetime Emmys, for Outstanding Makeup and Sound Editing, and even drew 19.7 million viewers when it premiered, 500,000 more than the game of thrones final. Steven Weber’s miniseries and performance definitely deserve more love.

2 Tim Curry – Computer Science (1990)

An all-time terrifying performance in horror, Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown in by Stephen King THIS is as iconic as it gets. Curry steals every scene he’s in, using his natural facial expressions to bring a heightened level of terror to the killer clown. Curry’s portrayal is responsible for heightening fears of coulrophobia around the world, and he is certainly the most memorable part of the 1990 miniseries. In the 2021 documentary Pennywise: The History of ComputingCurry explained how he refused the use of multiple layers of prosthetics on his face, in favor of using his own ways to create both the silly and terrifying visual aspects of the entity.

1 Hamish Linklater – Midnight Mass (2021)

At the top of the list is Hamish Linklater like Father Paul of Midnight Mass. Not only does Linklater give an all-time horror performance as the strange priest, he’s able to carry entire episodes with his flowing, hypnotic words, while simultaneously providing a cautious and comforting presence to characters and audience alike. . It’s a shame Linklater wasn’t nominated for an Emmy for this role. Linklater essentially plays two roles, one as a comforting face to the other inhabitants of Crockett’s Island, and the other with ulterior motives, of which only the audience and a few other characters are skeptical. His monologue moments are intense, deep and thoughtful, and the internal battle between good and evil he portrays couldn’t have been done better. Linklater does an absolute masterful job in this role.

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