Although The CW’s Supernatural had many hilarious moments and episodes, the series will always be rooted in horror, and because of this, every season of the show has some truly scary episodes. Supernatural follows brothers Sam and Dean Winchester who hunt monsters, demons, and evil entities for a living. The series ran for 15 seasons and had 327 episodes by its end.
While the earlier seasons of Supernatural may arguably be scarier than the later seasons, each of these episodes represents the most terrifying of their season. The episodes typically include particularly horrifying monsters, both paranormal and human-esque, both of which send chills down audiences’ spines. Furthermore, some of these episodes stand out in the horror department because of the plot implications they represent. Overall though, the current episodes are some of the most talked about installments of Supernatural to date and are sure to make most viewers uncomfortable in some capacity.
16 The Trap (Season 15, Episode 9)
At the sadistic hands of Supernatural’s evil villain Chuck, season 15 is filled with terror, however, this episode in particular makes a horrifying impression. In “The Trap,” Chuck tortures Sam by showing him the many ways in which his and Dean’s stories could end, and unfortunately, none of the endings are very pleasant. Chuck forces Sam to feel the pain of losing everyone he loves and having truly awful things happen to him and his brother such as becoming vampires. In this way, the episode is terrifying because it offers so many scary scenarios and also puts Chuck’s power to the test, proving just how strong he is.
15 Moriah (Season 14, Episode 20)
It’s no secret that Supernatural season finales offer some of the most shocking and tense content, and in terms of season 14, this is definitely correct. “Moriah” is the final episode of Supernatural season 14 and is the installment in which it is revealed that Chuck may not be such a good guy after all. In this episode, Chuck uses his godly powers to manipulate the WInchesters, and his betrayal is sickening for the brothers. Unlike the monsters the boys face week to week, Chuck has a supreme power that is horrifying in its scale. “Moriah” explores this power and, in turn, creates a terrible sense of dread.
14 Breakdown (Season 13, Episode 11)
Although Supernatural has a heavy focus on the paranormal, some of its most disturbing episodes are blatantly violent rather than building anticipation with ghostly entities. One such episode is “Breakdown,” wherein the Winchesters search for a kidnapped young girl and uncover the lair of a man that sells human body parts to literal monsters. The concept alone is horrifying, but to actually see the villain at work is a heart-stopping experience. This episode definitely offers a truly awful story and a scary character in Supernatural season 13.
13 American Nightmare (Season 12, Episode 4)
In some cases, Supernatural’s scariest episodes are often their most disturbing or sad once the mystery is finally uncovered. For example, in “American Nightmare” Sam and Dean explore two strange murders in a small town and find that a devoutly religious family with a psychic daughter is behind the crimes. Not only is the episode violent, but it also includes a backstory that is deeply upsetting and reflects real problems within American society, i.e. the name of the episode. In this way, “American Nightmare” evokes the very real dangers of prejudice and ignorance.
12 Plush (Season 11, Episode 7)
Viewers that have a fear of freaky mascots should definitely skip this episode of Supernatural. “Plush” follows a case in which a figure with a large rabbit head begins killing people. Although the story seems simple, that is only because the bunny rabbit mascot does plenty in terms of terrifying audiences. As many filler Supernatural episodes go, the Winchesters discover that a series of mascot costumes are being possessed by a ghost and ultimately fix the problem. However, by making fun costumes into creepy figures, the episode creates a particularly spooky atmosphere.
11 Soul Survivor (Season 10, Episode 3)
The only thing worse than demons in Supernatural is when the Winchesters are more terrifying than the monsters they hunt. In the case of “Soul Survivor,” Dean is possessed by a demon and Sam is desperately trying to rid him of it. The episode is difficult because it shows Dean in a precarious position, and it also reflects some aspects of a typical horror movie. When Dean frees himself from the chair he’s tied to, Sam must explore the halls of the bunker, expecting his demonic brother around every corner. In this way, the episode is stressful, scary, and pulls at the heart strings.
10 Holy Terror (Season 9, Episode 9)
Unlike most of the episodes on this list, Supernatural’s “Holy Terror” isn’t scary for its monster but for the events that occur and affect the Winchesters. During “Holy Terror,” Sam, Dean, and Castiel investigate the mass murder of a group of angels. At the time, Sam has the angel Ezekiel inside of him, creating a tense atmosphere for the brothers. Ultimately, the episode turns disturbing when Castiel is kidnapped and viciously tortured and Sam, possessed by Gadreel, kills Kevin Tran. Both of these events are upsetting in terms of the series’ plot and are also frightening scenarios that stand out among the season.
9 Bitten (Season 8, Episode 4)
Although the earlier seasons of Supernatural had more of a horror movie feel, this season 8 episode harks back to classic horror films. In “Bitten,” Sam and Dean look into a case of werewolves on a college campus. The most unique, and horrifying, aspect of this episode is its use of found footage. Like many popular horror movies, “Bitten” tells the story through footage taken by the college students experiencing the horror. This not only makes the Supernatural episode stand out, but also adds a feeling of suspense and anticipation as the audience waits to see what happens to the unsuspecting victims.
8 Repo Man (Season 7, Episode 15)
The scariest episode of Supernatural season 7 combines both horror and plot to make for a tense and uncomfortable episode. “Repo Man” sees Sam and Dean visiting the site of a demon possession they solved four years ago. It seems as though the demon has returned to kill people, however, the brothers later discover that the man who had been possessed is actually the serial killer behind the case. In fact, the man wants to be repossessed and has psychopathic tendencies. This episode shows the evil tendencies of human beings all on their own. Additionally, the inclusion of Lucifer tormenting Sam throughout adds a creepy effect to the episode.
7 Mannequin 3: The Reckoning (Season 6, Episode 14)
Once again, this Supernatural episode explores another latent human fear: inanimate objects come to life. In “Mannequin 3: The Reckoning,” the Winchesters investigate a series of murderous incidents at a garment factory. As can be expected from an episode with a name such as this, the case goes awry as a vengeful spirit takes control of mannequins and other inanimate objects in order to kill her enemies. Like many stand-out Supernatural episodes, this one combines horror tropes with sad backstories. This episode in particular is terrifying for its use of Annabel-esque techniques, but also leaves viewers with an equally disturbing backstory as well.
6 My Bloody Valentine (Season 5, Episode 14)
Occasionally, the most terrifying Supernatural episodes are the weirdest as well. For example, “My Bloody Valentine” depicts a case where people begin killing each other for love. While the Winchesters suspect Cupid, it turns out that Famine, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, is behind the frenzy. Along with being somewhat strange, this episode incites fear both because of the shocking brutality in it and the overarching plot. Famine’s appearance has a worrying effect on the Winchesters, but Sam especially, which brings the tension of the episode to new heights.
5 Family Remains (Season 4, Episode 11)
Sometimes Supernatural’s creepiest monsters are the ones who aren’t paranormal at all. “Family Remains” is an interesting example of this wherein Sam and Dean deduce that a house is haunted by what seems to be a ghost, except as it turns out, she isn’t a ghost at all, but a real-life person. The moment when the girl steps over the Winchester’s salt circle truly encapsulates the fear of the brothers’ mistake and the unknown of what comes next. Additionally, the dark backstory attached to this episode is incredibly chilling as well. All in all, “Family Remains” is an eerie and sad depiction of a human horror story.
4 The Kids Are Alright (Season 3, Episode 2)
Over time, Supernatural was able to introduce some of humanity’s strangest fears and this episode in particular focuses on creepy children. In “The Kids Are Alright,” the Winchesters visit Cicero, Indiana where a mysterious death has occurred, but also so Dean can visit an old flame. Soon, the brothers realize that the children in this town are acting strangely and discover that a Changeling, a monster who steals and replaces children, is behind the mess. This episode pulls deeply on the classic evil kids trope and, in this way, it remains one of the season’s scariest episodes.
3 No Exit (Season 2, Episode 6)
Yet another stand out from Supernatural’s early seasons, “No Exit,” combines history, horror, and the paranormal. The episode follows Sam and Dean as they begin investigating a string of murders of specifically blonde women. As it turns out, the murderer is none other than the ghost of the first recorded serial killer, H.H. Holmes. What makes this episode especially frightening though is the inclusion of Jo, a young hunter who follows the Winchesters on their hunt, only to be targeted by Holmes’ spirit. In particular, the scene where Jo is buried alive shows just how high the stakes are in “No Exit.”
2 Bloody Mary (Season 1, Episode 5)
One of the earliest episodes of Supernatural is also one of the series’ most frightening. In Supernatural’s “Bloody Mary”, Sam and Dean are sent to a small Midwestern town where teenagers have begun summoning Bloody Mary as a fun game. Unfortunately, the legendary spirit is very real and begins murdering young people by traveling through reflective surfaces. This episode stands out because of its high intensity and memorable imagery. Supernatural viewers won’t easily forget the bloody streaks coming from Sam and Dean’s eyes or the intensely creepy spirit herself who looks just normal enough that when she strikes, she’s even more terrifying.