As you plan your Halloween slumber parties, you’ve no doubt DVR’d shows like “The Walking Dead” and “American Horror Story” to watch late into the night. But for real chills, why not watch some of TV’s most unintentionally scary characters?
We’re talking about the ones who are so overacted or just plain wrong that they send a chill down your spine. Sure, zombies and witches are scary. But so is misplaced talent.
Here are the characters we consider the most unintentionally scary on television. You may want to sleep with the lights on.
JACK CRAWFORD, “HANNIBAL”
The scary one on “Hannibal” is supposed to be the cannibalistic killer in the title. But Laurence Fishburne‘s Jack Crawford creeps us out more, mostly because Fishburne seems to overact at the oddest times. Fishburne seems like he’s always about to scream at people for no reason — and sometimes he does — which is a strange quality in a character Scott Glenn played as icily controlled in “Silence of the Lambs.” We’re not saying Fishburne shouldn’t put his own stamp on the character — of course he should — but a rooted, restrained Crawford would help make the rest of the show feel more authentic. Is he secretly a killer too?
SIMON ROBERTS, “THE CRAZY ONES”
Robin Williams adds an edge to this wholesome CBS family comedy by playing the ad executive lead as a raging narcissist. He can’t just get Kelly Clarkson to do an ad — he needs to perform a song for her, filled with childish double entendres. And he keeps bursting into weird voices and expecting people to tolerate it. And there’s a giant picture of him painted on the wall. Roberts is what Jack Crawford would recognize as a sociopath, devoid of empathy or — oh wait. Robin Williams plays almost all his comic characters this way. Nevermind. (Seriously though: Despite his reputation as a standup, Williams is much better at drama than comedy. Is that okay to say?)
ANN COULTER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR
Coulter’s beliefs are too silly to be scary, but her commitment to her frankly weird routine is chilling. It’s like watching Andy Kaufman continuing to lip-sync the “Mighty Mouse” theme long after everyone has left the theater. Ann, we get it: You have nothing left to prove.
CARL GRIMES, “THE WALKING DEAD”
The pre-pubescent protagonist is trying to survive AMC’s zombie apocalypse alongside his heroic dad, Rick, and the rest of the prison gang, but there’s just something about him that suggests he could grow up to be as cold, calculating and viscous as The Governor. Maybe it was that time he shot that kid in the face last season, ratted out Carol for teaching kids survival skills this season, or just the simple fact that he killed his own mother. Sure, someone had to put a bullet in Lori’s head, but that’s enough childhood trauma to turn anyone into a serial killer.
JERRY GURGICH, “PARKS AND RECREATION”
Forget Pawnee — Jerry Gurgich is the nicest man in the entire midwest. He is the constant butt of the jokes and pranks of the Lesley Knope-led Parks and Recreation department on NBC’s show of the same name. And Gurgich takes it all in stride, even relishing somewhat in his role of the the office annoyance, even though to normal people, Gurgich would be lauded as a sweetheart. And that is why the gentle giant will most certainly snap one day. Even having an abnormally hot wife can only keep a tortured man calm for so long.
MARGARET SCHROEDER, “BOARDWALK EMPIRE”
There are plenty of scary people in HBO’s Atlantic City-based mob drama, but Margaret Schroeder is likely not the one that comes to mind. Exactly. Schroeder was introduced to the show as a battered woman who may or may not have wanted Nucky Thompson’s perhaps overboard interference. She was careful to toe the line in the period piece where that was expected of women. But she’s also gotten her hands a little dirty over her story arc. Schroeder has been gone for a while before recently resurfacing with some secrets. It’s the quiet ones you’ve really got to worry about.
MATTHEW ‘RICKETY CRICKET’ MARA, “IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA”
Yes, Cricket has been portrayed as a pathetic sad sack on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” but as his relentless romantic pursuit of Dee Reynolds proved, he’ll let nothing stop him in the pursuit of his goal. Plus, he quite literally has nothing to live for and has developed a superhuman ability to ingest illegal stimulants. Can you say super-stalker?
MARNIE MICHAELS, “GIRLS”
While most people would assume Adam or his increasingly-unstable love interest Hannah would be the first characters on “Girls” to commit a violent crime, it’s Marnie who should worry viewers the most. The girl has an idealistic view of what her future should be, and is absolutely petrified of it being anything less than happily-ever-after. She’s putting so much pressure on herself to be perfect, she’s bound to snap — and maybe will next season. Christopher Abbott, the actor who played her boyfriend, Charlie, has left the show. Assuming he dumps her, she could have conceivably murdered him.