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If you’ve read any of my other articles, especially recently, you’ll have realized that I’m really into horror. Regardless of the time of year, my life revolves around it. Horror movies, horror shows, horror soundtracks, horror novels – I can’t get enough of them. I’m the kind of person who will sit at a holiday gathering leafing through my copy of The Exorcist.
As a Skyrim fan, I predictably long sought a way to combine my love of horror with the game. Usually, this just meant exploring certain ruins and doing certain quests. It wasn’t until somewhat more recently, though, that I got into modding Skyrim, which opened whole new ways of bringing terror into the world of Tamriel.
I found quite a few mods that helped me achieve my goal. I’ll be showing you some of the best horror mods for Skyrim in this post.
Using a Mod Manager
I want to start by discussing how you install mods. There is a community workshop on Steam where you can get mods, but I’ve found it’s severely limited, and you won’t find most of the mods on this list there.
Instead, I choose to use the Nexus Vortex Mod Manager. It makes installing most mods easy – just search for the mod, click the download button, and then enable your mod once it’s installed. All of this you can do within the mod manager. Because it’s so easy, all the mods I put on this list include links to their respective Nexus Mods pages.
A word of caution, though: installing an abundance of mods can really screw up your game. I won’t pretend to understand the technical side of it, but sometimes if you install, say, 100 mods, some of them won’t work well together. It can cause your game to crash, fail to open entirely, or just lead to new and interesting bugs.
Using a mod manager can reduce that possibility. However, it’s still prudent to test your game by opening it after installing each mod. That way, if the game crashes or won’t open, you’ll know it’s something to do with the last mod you installed, and you can just disable it.
I’ve tested most of these mods together, but not all of them. Be sure to check them all as you install them. I’ll try to include videos of each mod if there are any, otherwise I recommend just checking out the mods’ pages for pictures showing how they look.
Best Horror Mods for Skyrim
Darker Interior Ambient Fog
Have you ever looked out your window upon a fog-wreathed day and thought to yourself that it just looked perfect for a zombie apocalypse or something? No? Just me?
Anyway, fog is ideal for setting an eerie atmosphere. It’s one of the many things that made Silent Hill 2 so creepy, after all. There’s something about fog concealing everything around you, making it impossible to tell what might be looking back at you…and trust me, if you install some of the other things on this list, there very well might be something looking back at you.
Darker Interior Ambient Fog adds that element of the unknown to interior settings, like caves and dungeons. This will help heighten the atmosphere as you explore Skyrim by darkening the fog you find. No more will you run across bright swaths of mist that look like they come from a fairy’s home, which could be vital if you’re also using lighting mods.
Click here to check out Darker Interior Ambient Fog on Nexus. >>
The Evil Mansion
There are some horror games that have made a lasting impression on the genre as a whole, weathering the test of time. The Resident Evil franchise surely fits that description. Although its quality hasn’t been consistent over the years, it’s widely accepted that at least a few of its titles are terrifying classics.
Well, whether or not anyone asked for it, there is a way to combine Resident Evil and Skyrim with the Evil Mansion mod. This mod puts the creepy Spencer Mansion in Skyrim, allowing you to explore and investigate all its grisly secrets.
Plus, once you’ve eliminated all the threats in the mansion, you can keep it for yourself. Who wouldn’t want to live in a house that was once filled with monsters?
Click here to check out the Evil Mansion on the Nexus. >>
Dark Forests of Skyrim
There’s a reason that so many horror stories and movies take place in the woods. Think about it: there’s something unutterably frightening about deep forests filled with shadows and sounds from creatures you can’t see. A forest can be beautiful, sure, but it can just as easily be a massive hiding place for the unknown.
Dark Forests of Skyrim takes that ominous theme and runs with it. After installing this mod, you’ll discover that many of the lush woods in Skyrim have been transformed into foggy, skeletal regions that looks like they came right out of Pet Semetary.
It doesn’t change their overall function or add new monsters. However, like Darker Interior Ambient Fog, it can darken the atmosphere of your game.
Click here to check out Dark Forests of Skyrim on Nexus. >>
The Falkreath Hauntings
Falkreath is one of my favorite holds in all of Skyrim. I think it just lends itself to a horror setting better, because it seems swampy and creepy naturally.
So when I found the Falkreath Hauntings mod, I just about went through the roof in excitement. As the name implies, this mod adds some supernatural encounters to a few specific areas in Falkreath hold.
One includes the dreadful Spectre o’the Woods, an evil-looking spriggan that wanders through the woods. Another one is the Falkreath cemetery, which the mod populates with sorrowful ghosts. At any rate, it does an excellent job of making a grim setting even grimmer.
Click here to check out the Falkreath Hauntings on Nexus. >>
Vigilant with English Add-On
Wander around Skyrim for long, and you’ll come across one of the roving Vigilants of Stendarr. Have you ever wished you could join them in their battle against the Daedra?
Well, with the Vigilant mod, you can! This is an incredibly long, gorgeously detailed quest and story mod that lets you experience the difficult process of becoming a Vigilant of Stendarr.
My description makes it sound basic, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This mod is simply amazing, and made Skyrim feel like a brand-new game. I seriously spent hours upon hours playing through this quest line.
Not only does it add a Vigilant of Stendarr fortress, but you even get to explore the hellish and vaguely Lovecraftian world of Oblivion. There are even new weapons, armor, and conjured summons in this mod. As if that weren’t enough, the mod is divided into various episodes, and one of them has you exploring a haunted house that appears to have been the scene of a bloody tragedy…
Please note, however, that the mod is not originally in English. As such, you’ll need to include the above-linked English add-on so you can understand all the amazing dialogue in it.
Click here to check out Vigilant on Nexus. >>
The Evil Dead Mod
To be honest with you, I was never a big fan of the original Evil Dead movies. Campy horror just isn’t my cup of tea, I guess, so I preferred the remake.
Nonetheless, I couldn’t resist adding the Evil Dead Mod to my game, and I don’t regret it – even if it has killed my character more than a few times. After you install the mod, a portal will be added near Falkreath that takes you to another world.
The dark and shadowy world is filled with creatures and areas based on the Evil Dead movies. Before you enter, though, make sure you’re well-equipped to survive in incredibly hostile environments, because you’ll get attacked pretty much as soon as you step in.
Click here to check out the Evil Dead Mod on Nexus. >>
If you’ve ever thought that the monsters in Skyrim are too easy or basic, then I’ve got the perfect mod for you: the aptly named Monster Mod. It adds hundreds of brand-new, fresh-feeling creatures to the game.
Not all of these monsters will be lore-friendly. For the most part, however, they’re designed to not be too outlandish with the setting while still keeping you on your toes.
On top of breathing new life into your world, Monster Mod will make surviving that much harder. Horror, of course, shouldn’t be easy, and this mod can help put the “survival” in “survival horror.”
Click here to check out Monster Mod on Nexus. >>
There are quite a few settings that lend themselves well to horror: deep water, dark forests, empty desert expanses…and underground tunnels. There’s nothing like a huge, damp, shadowy tunnel to send chills careening up and down your spine.
And that’s exactly what Skyrim Underground brings to your game. It creates an expansive underground network of passages you can use to travel all over Skyrim.
The tunnels are filled with creepy crawlies and mysteries, including at least one underground castle that I found. Explore it enough, and you’ll also find fully voiced monster merchants, as well as brand-new loot.
Click here to check out Skyrim Underground on Nexus. >>
The Horror Over Skyrim – Shadow of Oblivion
The Horror over Skyrim – Shadow of Oblivion is like a complete overhaul to Skyrim. I knew it was promising the moment I stumbled across it and saw that the description began with a Lovecraft quote: “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
This isn’t just your basic retexture or the addition of a couple NPCs. It’s a comprehensive, in-depth mod that adds new spells, items, and over 200 NPCs with their own unique fighting styles. Additionally, it includes customized weather that’s created to make Skyrim look darker.
That’s far from all. Seriously, this mod essentially gives Skyrim a complete Lovecraftian makeover. Because it’s so extensive, I recommend trying it out by itself before you attempt to add other mods. The description notes that it’s not compatible with particular types of mods, such as those that alter races, weather, or factions.
Click here to check out The Horror Over Skyrim – Shadow of Oblivion on Nexus. >>
28 Days and a Bit 5 – Zombie Mutation
If you know anyone who’s really into horror, chances are, they’ve got plans for how they’d try to survive a zombie apocalypse. Heck, you might even have some plans of your own.
You can test out your plan in the 28 Days and a Bit 5 mod. It’s designed to imitate a zombie apocalypse in Skyrim. Starting with a small outbreak, the zombies will spread to the farthest holds slowly, killing everything in their path.
You have the ability to tweak how powerful they are and where they spawn. Additionally, you can barricade doors to prevent the forces of the dead from getting into your shelter.
Wondering what will happen after you get infected? You can even test that out by enabling player infection.
Note: If you decide to use this mod, consider making a separate save file to test it out on, then disabling it when you play other saves. Your in-game world will likely never be the same after using this mod, since much of the population will be infected and killed.
Click here to check out 28 Days and a Bit 5 – Zombie Mutation on Nexus. >>
Clockwork is another detailed story mod, and if you complete it, you get an additional playerhouse. The house is gorgeous, sumptuous, and has a kind of steampunky, dwemer theme that I personally enjoy. In fact, out of all the playerhomes I have, the Clockwork mansion is probably my favorite.
It’s really only the first part of the mod, in which you’re trying to reach the mansion, that can be described as horror. Journeying through maze-like caverns filled with skulls and ambient sounds is a truly eerie experience.
The mod makes use of some artfully subtle touches, not cheap jump scares. If you download it, make sure to take a closer look at those skulls you see in the caves…and keep an eye out for mysterious floating apparitions that follow you wordlessly as Silent Hill-like sirens wail all around you.
Click here to check out Clockwork on Nexus. >>
Okay, what if you want to experience zombies without essentially ending Skyrim as you know it? Then this Creepy Zombies mod could be a better option for you.
As the name says, the mod just adds zombies as a new creature type in the game. It also sprinkles these undead creatures in throughout the map so that you might encounter them in a handful of locations. Generally, though, you’ll find them in swamps and cemeteries.
Beyond the zombies, the mod also adds wizards that you might run into at higher levels. These wizards are essentially necromancers that can create hordes of the undead to do their bidding.
Click here to check out Creepy Zombies on Nexus. >>
Vanilla Skyrim at night is surprisingly gorgeous. If you’re willing to take the time to stop and admire your surroundings, you might see brilliant northern lights, sparkling stars, and gleaming snow in the moonlight.
None of this, of course, is conducive to the creepy atmosphere we’re working towards. To make the nights darker – in more ways than one – consider installing Darker Nights.
The mod gives you various darkness levels to choose from, ranging from 0 to 6. You can choose the lower level, which has a 22% light reduction, if you’re concerned about it being hard to see.
Click here to check out Darker Nights on Nexus. >>
You know how Darker Nights makes the nights, well, darker? Darker Interiors essentially does the same thing, except on the inside of caves, buildings, and dungeons.
That may not seem important, but don’t forget that setting the atmosphere is crucial in horror. Combine this with a number of other horror mods, and you can make even the coziest cottage or friendliest inn look intimidating.
Click here to check out Darker Interiors on Nexus. >>
Overlord – Become an Evil Lich
Have you ever wanted to become a powerful undead lich with access to mind-boggling spells? Or is that another thing that’s just me again?
Anyway, Overlord was created to make that all possible. This mod adds lich as a playable race to the game. Of course, that’s far from all: it also includes over 100 new spells, a new perk tree, new location, new items, and new followers.
It might not be the creepiest experience you’ll ever have in Skyrim, but it will be one of the coolest ones. Why wouldn’t you want to be a walking skeleton?
Click here to check out Overlord – Become an Evil Lich on Nexus. >>
And that concludes my list of the best horror mods for Skyrim…part one, anyway. I think there’s enough that I could easily do a second part if anyone wanted to see more.
If you only downloaded one mod from this entire list, though, I would implore you to go with Vigilant. It adds hours of gameplay and basically a whole other world to the game. Plus, the haunted house episode really did scare me – I found myself making excuses not to have to open doors for fear of what I would find behind any of them.