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13 Supernatural Episodes That Would've Made Terrifying Horror Movies

Who doesn't love a good scary movie? After 15 seasons, "Supernatural" ended an impressive 327-episode run that ranged from horror and thriller to comedy and drama — sometimes on a weekly basis. Starring Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, the series tackled just about every paranormal occurrence imaginable, including ghosts, demons, angels, monsters, fairies, pagan gods, and even "Scooby-Doo."

Originally conceived as a "horror movie every week," the early seasons of "Supernatural" primarily dealt with local urban legends and a "road trip" mythology that revolved around the small towns littered across America. Though the series eventually evolved from its initial horror premise, many of these early episodes (and a few of the later ones) still have a genuine "scare factor" worthy of the genre. In fact, plenty of "Supernatural" episodes could have easily been their own standalone horror flicks.

Though the show may never live up to the likes of horror classics such as "Halloween," "The Exorcist," or the Universal monster movies — which the series paid tribute to in Season 4's "Monster Movie" — there's no doubt that "Supernatural" excelled at bringing motion picture quality horror to the small screen. It's no wonder that Padalecki and Ackles starred in horror features during the show's early years, namely the "Friday the 13th" and "My Bloody Valentine" remakes. With that in mind, here are some of the best "Supernatural" episodes that would've made truly terrifying horror movies.

Wendigo is a dark creature-feature

While the pilot is your classic "Woman in White" tale that feels straight out of a standard ghost story, the second episode of "Supernatural" takes a darker, more cryptid-related turn. In "Wendigo," Sam and Dean head to Colorado to help a pair of siblings find their missing brother, Tommy Collins, after he's taken by the titular creature — a cannibalistic being in the wilderness. Though the Winchesters are able to get the Collins family out alive, some of Tommy's friends aren't quite so lucky. 

The Wendigo itself is a terrifying creature, one who isn't easily defeated. A large but slender humanoid, the monster has leathery skin, talon-sized claws, and a hungry appetite. Based on Native American mythology, the Wendigo — which was once human — has an unquenchable appetite for human flesh that gives it incredible strength, speed, and even immortality. Plus, it can mimic people's voices, making this one of the scarier monsters on the show — it's no wonder we only ever see Sam and Dean hunt a Wendigo once.

"Wendigo" is a solid creature feature that could easily have held its own as B-movie horror in the same vein as "Dog Soldiers," "The Cave," or "The Descent." Its weakness to fire notwithstanding, this nearly unkillable monster is the perfect antagonist for anyone looking to watch a chilling story about camping deep in the back country.

Hook Man is a dark, religious slasher

In truth, just about every episode from the first two seasons would make for a great standalone horror movie, but there's something truly classic about the slasher behind "Hook Man." In this episode, the Winchesters travel to a college town in Iowa where the friends and loved ones of the young Lori Sorensen begin dropping like flies after being murdered and strung up by the legendary Hook Man. Combining classic slasher tropes with religiously fueled motives and twists, this is an episode that delivers.

As it turns out, this Hook Man is actually the violent spirit — as opposed to a vengeful spirit, this one just likes to kill people — of a man named Jacob Karns who went crazy during a moral panic in the 1860s. After he was executed for killing 13 sex workers in one night, he was sentenced to death, and his infamous hook was melted down and repurposed. Unfortunately, spirits can be tied to certain objects, and after the hook was reforged into items around Lori's father's church, Karns' ghost remained.

If slashers like "Nightmare on Elm Street," "Candyman," or "Bloodmoon" are your thing, then this is the "Supernatural" episode for you. With easily enough material for a religious slasher of its own, "Hook Man" excites, terrifies, and subverts your initial expectations all while delivering a clever take on the slasher genre with an instantly iconic villain.

Scarecrow is small-town cult horror

One of the best episodes of the first season, "Scarecrow" is "Supernatural" at its scariest. It seamlessly blends the series' overall demon mythology with a "monster of the week" story that could really have been its own horror movie. After a big fight during a case, Sam and Dean part ways; Sam heads west to find their missing father, and Dean continues working a missing person's case in small-town Indiana. It's here that Dean discovers the town's dark secret — one that the people of Burkitsville would die to protect.

While the plot with Sam is certainly important, it's the scarecrow-fueled monster story that's of note here, particularly because the townsfolk make sacrifices every year to the Vanir — the Norse god of wisdom and fertility who possesses their local scarecrow — who in turn blesses their land and health. It's a pretty grim tale that shows the downside of isolation and desperation, not to mention the depravity of man, but there are plenty of great moments that make this one of the most interesting episodes of the show.

Part "The Wicker Man," part "The Village," and part "Jeepers Creepers," there's no doubt that "Scarecrow" features one of the greatest monsters that "Supernatural" ever put to screen — one who will haunt your dreams for years afterwards. It's too bad this one wasn't its own horror film — most evil scarecrow movies aren't this good.

Faith is a spiritual trial by fire

Many horror movies that tackle topics of faith and religion do so by examining extremists and fundamentalists who lure people into their cultish death traps. While that can certainly be a solid critique, it's often more interesting to explore the lives of genuinely faithful ministers who just get caught up in the wrong thing; the "corrupt minister" is a bit overplayed. "Faith" does this in a surprising and compelling way, exploring these deep spiritual topics honestly and openly — just with a Grim Reaper attached.

After a monster hunt goes south, Sam and Dean meet up with a faith healer named Roy who cures Dean's heart condition, only for an innocent person to mysteriously die in the elder Winchester's place. As the boys investigate the preacher, they befriend a young woman named Layla Rourke who's dying of a brain tumor. Forced to choose between saving Layla or some other innocent, Sam and Dean struggle to uncover the mystery behind Roy's miraculous healings, and what he may have unleashed to accomplish them.

If you enjoy the topics of religion discussed in "The Rite" or the "Conjuring" films, or the "Final Destination" movies, then "Faith" is perfect for you. While there aren't any demons here, there is plenty of talk about the power of faith, and sometimes even the darkest of horror stories need that little bit of light.

The Benders is a backwoods thriller

In the dark corners of Hibbing, Minnesota, there lies a possibly inbred family hoping to hunt you for dinner ... at least according to "The Benders." No question, this is one of the most disturbing episodes in all of "Supernatural." The show handles the people-hunting-people story extremely well, making the Bender family as irredeemable as they are sadistic.

After Sam and Dean learn of a young man's disappearance, they arrive in Hibbing to investigate only to quickly discover that this isn't a supernatural case at all, it's just people — which actually makes it even scarier. Unfortunately, Sam is quickly kidnapped, forcing Dean to stay behind and team up with local deputy Kathleen Hudak, who lost her own brother to the Benders years prior. As the two uncover the mystery surrounding the Bender family, they open themselves up to this crazy and masochistic world of human hunting.

If thrillers like "Deliverance," "Ready or Not," and "The Most Dangerous Game" are just backwards — and backwoods — enough to be made, then there's no reason "The Benders" couldn't be too. It's creepy, scary, and will make your skin crawl all over. As Dean says, "Demons I get. People are crazy."

No Exit is a perfect blend of spirits and serial killers

One of the scariest serial killers in American history, H.H. Holmes was best known for his wicked Chicago-based death trap dubbed the "Murder Castle," which, in theory, allowed him to travel between rooms and store his victims in his torture chamber. In reality, his castle was anything but, though Holmes himself was still one of the most prolific serial killers in the country — he confessed to killing 27 different people before his execution. Some have even speculated that he and Jack the Ripper were one and the same.

It's a wonder that more horror films about Holmes haven't been made, but then after the "Supernatural" episode "No Exit" — where the Winchester brothers team up with fellow hunter Jo Harville to hunt Holmes' ghost — what more could you do? The ghost of H.H. Holmes isn't the only violent serial killer spirit the Winchesters faced during their 15 seasons, but he would be the scariest; he took his victims to a hidden chamber in his former Philadelphia home to torture them for weeks before killing them.

If you like serial killer-inspired horror movies like "Disturbia" or "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile," or if you're just a big fan of the "H.H. Holmes: Original Evil" documentary, then "No Exit" will both thrill and terrify you — as it should, because it's one of the scariest episodes on this list.

Croatoan is a zombie-like disaster

Zombie movies are all the rage, and they have been for quite some time; in fact, they can often feel like mindless rehashes of earlier films. The "Supernatural" Season 2 episode "Croatoan" is the perfect update to the zombie virus concept, establishing its illness as the cause of the Roanoke Colony disappearance hundreds of years prior. While the Croatoan virus showed up once or twice more on the show, this episode is by far the most compelling, and the most frightening.

Here, Sam and Dean head to a small town in Oregon after Sam has a vision of Dean killing an apparently demon-possessed man. Within a day, the townsfolk go crazy, the town isolates itself, and the Winchester brothers — paired with a small group of other survivors — are forced to hold their own against a horde of Croatoan-infected people. Unfortunately, there isn't a cure for this disease, though Sam himself seems to be immune due to some otherworldly presence in his body.

Be it "Night of the Living Dead," "Dawn of the Dead," or "The Evil Dead," there's a strong precedent in horror movies for zombie viruses, which makes "Croatoan" an excellent addition to the "living dead" collective. If "Supernatural" knew how to do anything, it was paying homage to classic horror while still making something that felt fresh and new.

Roadkill is a ghost story with a twist

If "Ghost Whisperer" taught us anything, it's that not all ghost stories are bad, though in the case of "Roadkill" there is still some horror to be found. This "Supernatural" episode follows Sam and Dean as they encounter a woman on the side of the road named Molly McNamara, who has lost her husband and is being chased by a vengeful spirit named Jonah Greely. As Molly and the Winchesters make their escape from Greely, they soon discover that she's more connected to the ghost than she would've liked to believe.

As with many of the best horror stories, "Roadkill" takes plenty of twists and turns, so many that — if you don't already see the end coming — it'll make your head spin. This episode is so good that it's one of the few that were remade for the "Supernatural: The Anime Series," with very little changes, and has remained a fan favorite since its initial airing. Plus, "Battlestar Galactica" legend Tricia Helfer guest stars as Molly, reminding us that we'd love to see her in more horror roles in the future.

If classic ghost stories like "Silent Hill," the dramatic thriller "The Sixth Sense," and Patrick Swayze's "Ghost" are your thing, then "Roadkill" might be the perfect horror story for you. It's a tale that effortlessly takes the basic ghost story formula and flips it on its head, which is why it would make a perfect horror movie on its own.

All Hell Breaks Loose is an apocalyptic thrill ride

"All Hell Breaks Loose" is the culmination of the mythology behind the first two seasons of "Supernatural" — between the apocalyptic stakes, the classic ghost town aesthetic, and the various demonic antagonists throughout, this one would make a killer horror movie.

The plot follows Sam and a group of other "Special Children" who are placed in a ghost town and forced to survive together at the behest of a Yellow-Eyed Demon. This demon has killed people in their lives — including Sam and Dean's mother — and hopes to use one of them to lead a demonic army. Along the way, Dean fights to find Sam and bring him back to the land of the living, even going so far as to work with demons. All of this culminates in a final battle between the Winchesters and their mother's killer — one of the show's proudest moments.

If you like apocalyptic horror like "The Omen," "Legion," or "End of Days," you'll agree that "All Hell Breaks Loose" is a crazy ride that — if adjusted slightly — has the potential to be its own killer hellscape of a horror movie. It's also a must-see "Supernatural" event for sure.

Jus in Bello is a frightening demonic thriller

For a show with plenty of demons, there are very few standalone demon-related episodes of "Supernatural." Even "Jus in Bello" ties into the greater mythology of the third season and plays a bigger part in the overarching story. Though episodes like Season 1's "Devil's Trap" or Season 7's "Repo Man" may give off classic "Exorcist" vibes, this episode does something a bit more interesting — and less classically demonic, at least in appearance and behavior — with its spiritual antagonists.

"Jus in Bello" has all the ingredients of an amazing horror film: protagonists (Sam and Dean) who understand the paranormal, a ticking clock, tons of demons, and an unlikely ally who at first doesn't believe in the supernatural, only to come around. That's exactly what this episode is — the Winchesters are locked in a police station with their longtime enemy FBI Agent Hendricks, and to survive the hordes of demons who have surrounded them, their only hope for survival is to work together. It's pretty intense.

If you always wanted a combination of the demonic Denzel Washington cop thriller "Fallen," the action-packed "Assault on Precinct 13," and your standard demon movie, then you're in luck. "Jus in Bello" is all this and more, and although it embraces the overall Season 3 plot, it remains a solid standalone "Supernatural" story.

Family Remains is all about dark family secrets

Okay, this one is absolutely terrifying and could easily be its own horror movie. Season 4's "Family Remains" follows the Carter family as they move into their new home in rural Nebraska. Of course, their house is anything but new and holds dark secrets that bring Sam and Dean Winchester to town to take care of. In an episode that feels like the start of every horror movie ever, our heroes believe the Carters' house is haunted, but it's so much worse than that.

If you haven't seen it, we'll refrain from spoiling the big twist here; let's just say you'll never see it coming, but when it happens, you might wish you never turned the episode on. Actually, there are a few different twists and turns in this one, but the big one will shake you to your core. Through it all, Sam and Dean are here to help, and even in some of the scariest moments, there's hope that the Winchesters and the Carters will make it through.

With vibes that recall "The Hills Have Eyes," "Housebound," and "The Amityville Horror," this episode will keep you up at night, wondering whether there's anyone — or anything — living in your walls. "Family Remains" will stick with you long after the credits roll, making you almost grateful that it wasn't a full-length feature film ... though it easily could be.

#THINMAN is a social media-fueled slasher

Fans were overjoyed when Season 9's "#THINMAN" aired as the Ghostfacers — "Supernatural's" own "Ghost Hunters" parody — returned after a four-season hiatus. Though Ed and Harry had been gone for a while, they jumped right back in to hunt down and find the mysterious Thinman, a Slenderman wannabe who kills like a slasher rather than a blurry creature. As Sam and Dean join Ed and Harry on their final hunt, the Thinman closes in and reveals itself to be something more, or possibly less, than they imagined.

Admittedly, Season 9 is nowhere near as scary as some of the show's early years, and much of the horror elements that made the show great initially are replaced with comedy and fantasy the longer it goes on, but there's a great horror movie hidden in this episode. Whether it's the idea that this slasher is born of the internet, or how these paranormal investigators travel around searching for something only to encounter a guy with a knife instead, "#THINMAN" is a great watch.

Of course, this one was largely inspired by "Slender Man," but "#THINMAN" also channels the likes of "The Bye Bye Man" and "Scream" as it makes you laugh and cower. It's not exactly as scary as Ed and Harry's previous appearances in "Hell House" or "Ghostfacers," but there's no doubt that the Thinman is supernatural slasher material.

Mint Condition is your classic Halloween-inspired slasher

Season 14 may not be the best place to look for a scary horror-fueled episode of "Supernatural," especially since the later seasons rely heavily on the series' overall mythology and less on "monster of the week" plots, but "Mint Condition" is a wonderful exception. When Sam and Dean investigate a case involving action figures from a Salem, Ohio comic book store on Halloween night, things go very, very wrong when a statue of Dean's favorite slasher — David Yaeger of the fictitious "All Saints' Day" — comes to life.

"Mint Condition" is a unique homage to the Golden Age of Slashers from the 1970s to the early 1980s. With a memorable killer like the Hatchet Man, and plenty of B-movie goodness, this "Supernatural" episode — like "Monster Movie" before it — does a great job of reminding us where horror has been so we can focus on where it's going next.

If you love slasher classics like "Halloween," "Friday the 13th," and "April Fool's Day," then you'll adore "Mint Condition" if only because it parodies and emulates these traditional formulas. Had this been a horror movie on its own, it would've been a supernatural bloodbath.