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The Best Original Horror On YouTube

There is no shortage of great horror films and television shows available to watch, but sometimes the best horror is found outside the realm of Hollywood — in fact, it can be no further away than your nearest smartphone or web browser.

While YouTube is most commonly associated with vloggers, comedy channels, and Let's Players, there is a healthy amount of original horror content on the service for even the most devout fans. Plenty of found-footage and alternate reality games, or ARGs, have made names for themselves on the platform, with many subverting genre expectations and adding new, unique elements to the genre. 

Because many of these videos are harder to trace back to a creator than a typical film or series, there is a certain mystique surrounding YouTube horror. Many times, this results in debates over what is simply a scripted video versus what is real. Additionally, creators have fewer creative restrictions since they aren't held to studio standards and can focus on creative and interactive modes of storytelling.

No matter what type of horror you're looking for, there is more than enough to choose from on YouTube. With so many horror entries, it can be a bit overwhelming to separate the truly great horror videos from the lackluster ones. With all that in mind, here are just a few of our picks for the best original horror on YouTube. 

Marble Hornets

Slender Man started as an image posted on the Something Awful forum, but for many fans of the character, the Marble Hornets YouTube series served as an introduction to this delightfully creepy legend.

First posted in June 2009, Marble Hornets is an 87-part series following Jay Merrick as he delves into strange events that occurred during the production of a student film. While looking through tapes of the unfinished project, it becomes apparent that Alex, the film's director, grew increasingly paranoid during filming sessions. Jay realizes that Alex was being stalked by "The Operator," who is functionally the same as Slender Man. As Jay dives deeper into the footage, he becomes targeted by the Operator and receives threatening, cryptic messages from a YouTube user called totheark. Determined to uncover what happened on the set of Marble Hornets, Jay is undeterred and remains committed to uncovering the truth behind the Operator, no matter the cost. 

With hours of entertaining content, Marble Hornets is one of the most engaging and well thought-out ARGs on YouTube. Though the main story has an impressive amount of entries, sister channel totheark adds an additional 39 episodes to the series. Both channels work together to create a compelling narrative while allowing viewers to take part in the story by uncovering hidden messages and clues.

With a carefully constructed storyline, creepy imagery, and wide cast of characters, Marble Hornets is required viewing for horror fans.

Don't Hug Me I'm Scared

Created by filmmakers Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling, Don't Hug Me I'm Scared is a YouTube show that appears innocent on the surface, but reveals itself to be consistently trippy as well as sneakily disturbing.

Each episode begins innocently enough. In the beginning, the main cast, Red Guy, Duck, and Yellow Guy, mind their own business, only to be interrupted by a wacky character, such as a talking notebook, who attempts to teach them some sort of lesson. The series is structured like an educational children's show, but the videos quickly devolve into insanity with surreal, uncomfortable imagery and distorted music. 

Don't Hug Me I'm Scared fosters a sense of existential dread, an impressive feat for a series with cute, colorful puppets as main characters. Considering that each new entry is more unsettling than the last, it's more than likely we are in store for some truly terrifying episodes in the future. And hopefully, we will get more answers to contextualize the insanity shown onscreen. 


On March 12, 2017, the Petscop YouTube channel uploaded its first let's-play style video about an obscure game known as Petscop. According to the series' narrator and apparent player, Paul, Petscop is an unfinished video game that was initially planned for the original PlayStation. In the first installment of the series, Paul shows the small bit of the game that is accessible to players.  At the end of the video, he enters a code that allows him to access unfinished areas of the game. With new content unlocked, Paul can fully introduce the world to the secrets hidden within Petscop

In addition to the mysteries surrounding Paul and his YouTube channel, Petscop hints at possible links to real-life murder, and even a Dr. Seuss book within the game. The allure of an obscure, ominous video game has amassed an avid fan group that tirelessly works to decipher every secret within Paul's videos. With very few concrete answers about Paul, Petscop, and the meaning of the game itself, the Petscop series will leave you eagerly waiting for new clues with each fresh installment.


Local58 is a genuinely terrifying example of the best horror YouTube has to offer. Created by Kris Straub, the videos uploaded on the Local58 YouTube channel utilize a mixture of styles, ranging from found footage to animation. Each video serves as programming for a local public access channel, except everything has an eerie air due to the dark subtext and creepy content.

While most people would agree that public access television has the same effect as sleeping pills, Local58 does the complete opposite. Though it is never explicitly explained or shown, it quickly becomes apparent that some sort of calamity has befallen the world of Local58. Ranging from cartoons to PSAs, the series makes use of various mediums to showcase the terrifying and potentially doomed world in which Local58 operates. 

What makes Local58 so compelling is the craft that goes into each video. They're made to be period accurate, with appropriate amounts of visual and audio degradation, as well as artifacts that accompany legacy media such as VHS tapes. These effects add to the profoundly unsettling writing of the series to make for one of the best horror experiences on the YouTube platform.


POSTcontent follows an unnamed man who uploads vlog-style videos that grow progressively creepier. In the beginning, we are shown the man's home and introduced to a series of monstrous entities that reveal themselves to the protagonist. Mixed in with other odd details like the floor and furniture covered in plastic, perplexing video footage, and so forth, it is immediately apparent that something is off with the channel. Later videos are more upfront with their horror elements, escalating to footage of an apparent kidnapping and more threatening entities. 

POSTcontent is a series that gets better and more ominous as it goes on. Though not all the monsters pack as much of a punch as others, there is obvious creativity put into each design that makes even the lesser scares worthwhile. Not only are the entities themselves alarming, but the ambiguous motives of the protagonist and the circumstances surrounding him are also terrifying in their own right. The series is packed with plenty of dark, sinister occurrences that are likely to keep you lying awake at night, so if you plan on watching POSTcontent alone, it's probably best to do so with the lights left on. 


AshVlogs is an ARG surrounding the disappearance and probable murder of a young vlogger named Ashleigh. Though the series only started in March of 2019, the AshVlogs YouTube channel already hosts hundreds of entries. Considering that AshVlogs has so many parts, has additional content exclusive to social media, and involves other YouTube creators, the series may be intimidating to get into, but it's well worth the watch. 

The series begins simply enough: Ash starts a vlog on YouTube and uploads regular updates about her life and interests. Though the premise seems par for the course, things begin to stray into darker territory when Ash discovers she is being stalked by a person referred to as "Car Guy." Ash receives a strange hard drive, presumably from her stalker; once she delves into the content on the drive, all sense of normalcy disappears and is replaced with a much more sinister chain of events. 

Hi I'm Mary Mary

Being trapped in your own home is one thing, but the YouTube series Hi, I'm Mary Mary takes things to the next level by inserting a cast of terrifying figures that haunt the occupant. 

In the first episode, Mary wakes up in a familiar-looking house to find that all the doors leading outside are locked and all the windows are unbreakable. Her internet access is practically useless, given that she appears to be the only person online. However, when the lights go out at night, Mary encounters other figures in the house.

Instead of nameless monsters, there are several distinct entities that Mary encounters. Maria appears whenever Mary looks in mirrors and torments her about the way she looks. Another entity appears as a woman with a black cloth covering her head, and has the unique ability to talk directly to Mary. Other figures reveal themselves to all be adversaries of Mary as she tries to find a way out of the house.

What makes Hi, I'm Mary Mary compelling is the narrative surrounding the events taking place. Much of the imagery has inspired different interpretations of what Mary's entrapment could mean. While the story is intriguing in its own right, Hi, I'm Mary Mary delves deep into feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. These very real and complicated emotions add a sad dose of reality to an otherwise fantastical horror series. 

Louise Is Missing

Otherwise known as In The DarkLouise Is Missing is one of the earliest horror series to hit YouTube.

Shortly after moving from her home in Norwich, UK, to an apartment in London, Louise Paxton decided to start a vlog. Soon after Louise created her channel in late February of 2007, she uploaded a video documenting a stalker watching her from outside her window. 

From there, Paxton further recorded her experiences with her stalker, and the possibility of a supernatural haunting entered into the narrative. This went on for a few months until the video titled "PLEASE HELP," by which point Louise had grown incredibly frightened by her stalker's repeated appearances at her apartment. Louise was with a friend when the power went out, and someone or something appeared to be after Louise. According to the video's description, Louise vanished from the house after she and her friend were separated. With only her phone and camera left behind, Louise's friend uploaded the channel's final video in the hopes that someone could help find the missing Louise. 

Being one of the earliest forms of YouTube horror, the disappearance of Louise Paxton also utilizes a website and a MySpace page dedicated to helping find Louise. Considering the series is so well done that many people actually believed it was real, Louise Is Missing should be at the top of any horror fan's watch list. 

Dad's Tapes

For horror fans looking for a lengthy series to dive into, Dad's Tapes is sure to satisfy. 

After the death of his father, Chris inherits a collection of VHS tapes. Each one begins unremarkably, usually featuring ordinary people going about their lives, but these peaceful segments are interrupted by video footage of a woman being tortured. Curious, Chris begins to investigate but hits a slight bump in the road when a peculiar (and now deleted) YouTube channel with the name "donotcontinue" begins harassing him. Now realizing that he has gotten involved in something truly dangerous, Chris has more than just the old tapes to worry about. 

Dad's Tapes has 88 parts, all packed with unsettling, scary content to enjoy. The series antagonist is incredibly intimidating and disturbing, and the more you see of his horrendous acts, the more terrifying he becomes. Chris' journey to discover his father's secrets and the meaning behind the tapes is a compelling journey that is a perfect watch for a dark and dreary night. 


One of the reasons horror is so effective is the sense of mystery it imbues in its subject matter. Simply put, when you don't know what is happening or why, it is easy to become frightened. It is precisely because of this impulse that KrainaGrzybowTV is one of the more unsettling bits of YouTube horror out there. 

The videos all depict "Smile Guide," a show on the fictional Kraina Grzybow (or Mushroom Land) television station, that is hosted by the series' main character. The first episode is titled "How to Effectively Apple" with subsequent episodes adopting a similar naming convention. 

Beyond unsettling circumstances, cryptic plot elements, and disturbing imagery, the entirety of KrainaGrzybowTV is in Polish. For viewers unfamiliar with the language, this has the interesting effect of making the viewer doubt what they know about the series. When the video titles, descriptions, and dialogue are all run through translation software, the results are frequently in broken or nonsensical English, making for a surreal experience.

No Through Road

If you're a fan of The Blair Witch Project and similarly styled found-footage films, you'll want to check out No Through Road.

The first entry begins with a message stating that four 14-year-old boys were found dead in their vehicle at an empty farm. Like similarly structured found-footage series, No Through Road is presented as the unedited account of the events that led to the teenagers' deaths. 

The series starts off after a very late night out. The group of friends tries to make their way back home by taking some lonely country roads. Though they are warned by a sign that there is no road through an approaching tunnel, the group proceeds forward. By the time they realize they're lost, they've already been driving in the wrong direction for some time and are unable to make sense of their surroundings. 

The events that transpire document the teenagers' final hours as they struggle to find their way home. While the first entry is the most well-known, there are a total of four entries to watch. The other three may not have gotten as much attention as the first, but they're still wonderfully creepy videos that will satisfy anyone hungry for horror.

This Room Does Not Exist

A cross between the Vlog Brothers and The Matrix with horror elements sprinkled in is probably the best way to envision This Room Does Not Exist. The series starts with a pair of amateur filmmakers trying out a revolutionary new form of virtual technology. From there, they get caught up in a technological mess where the characters get trapped inside of the virtual world.

Strangely, a separate set of characters send messages to each other in the space meant for video descriptions. Some of the videos even depict what these characters are up to, as well as their involvement in the main series. While these anonymous characters exist within the same story, they're not necessarily involved in the same way as the main cast. The characters talking to each other through the descriptions appear to be outside the influence of the virtual reality that entraps the others. As the series progresses, it seems that different characters exist in distinct planes or levels of simulation. Each character must fight to become free from the simulation while simultaneously avoiding the dangers of a world engineered by a hostile force. 

The short-form video and the layers of meaning make This Room Does Not Exist an unconventional, but engaging ride, especially for anyone who enjoys science fiction mixed with horror.