Saturday, October 4, 2008

Not Just Gross But Actually Scary Horror Books

  • Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. All the proof you need that carnivals are evil.

  • House by Josh Simmons (graphic novel). This wordless descent into horror follows three teens as they explore a creepy old house and follow their curiosity just far enough to lose themselves forever.

  • The Boys are Back in Town by Christopher Golden. A high school reunion reveals dark secrets and unexpected terror amongst a group of friends. Time travel comes into play soon enough, and as things keep changing, only one guy remembers what really happened versus what everyone else "remembers" happening. Head-tripping horror.

  • The Last Apprentice: The Revenge of the Witch, Book One by Joseph Delaney. As the seventh son of a seventh son, it is twelve-year old Thomas Ward's duty to apprentice to the local spook. The job - to rid the county of witches, ghouls, and other things that go bump in the night.

  • World War Z by Max Brooks. Written as a collection of personal accounts gathered several years after humanity suffers through and survives a virus that turns much of the population into mindless, flesh eating zombies. Brooks goes well beyond the usual takes on the subject and provides a range of stories, from touching personal accounts to explorations of the political and military implications of the crisis. Don't worry; it's plenty gross enough, too, if you're into that.

  • The Shining by Stephen King. You have to read King if you're going to read horror and this is a great one to start with. You've got a terrified kid, a crazy parent and an abandoned hotel in the Colorado mountains during winter. If you ever wondered why it is important to formulate an escape route NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE, this book shows you why. Better than the movie; I promise.

  • Soulless by Christopher Golden. If you like zombie movies or supernatural stories, you will LOVE Soulless. It's so action-packed that I've taken to calling it a movie bound in a book. I love its exploration of family ties, and the questions it raised: Do we want to see our loved ones again after they pass away? If they return as zombies, unlike their living selves, would they be better left to rest in peace? And the book's climax - wow. Trust me, you'll devour this book in one sitting.

  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman. (Available in the original novel format or as a graphic novel illustrated by P. Craig Russell) Imagine a parallel universe in which all things are the corrupt creation of an Other Mother, an ominous, ageless being who wants to claim your soul and sew buttons for your eyes. Now guess what happens when she wants you to come live with her - forever....

  • Night Shift by Stephen King. Short stories from a master of horror. From "Jerusalem's Lot" with its Satan's Mass and Nosferatu to "The Woman in the Room" with its plodding medical patients, this one will keep your stomach muscles firmly clenched.

  • The Restless Dead: Ten Original Stories of the Supernatural ed. by Deborah Noyes. Stories of the undead: ghosts, vampires, zombies, necromancers and more from ten different authors. Find out why graverobbing is a bad idea, read a new twist on The Tell-Tale Heart, and more.

  • Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe. In his well-known poem "The Raven," an ominous bird perches within the room; the man within it will have peace "nevermore." But don't miss "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Cask of Amontillado." For creepiness, Poe just can't be beat.

  • Peeps by Scott Westerfeld. Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy gets infected. Boy helps save the world.

  • The Sandman, Volume 4: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman (graphic novel). The Lord of Dreams travels to Hell and back--literally--encountering myths come to life and horrors unimaginable. If you can think of anything scarier than the Corinthian--a monster with two vicious mouths where his eyes should be--I don't want to hear about it.

  • American Supernatural Tales edited by S.T. Joshi. From the burgeoning beginning of the genre (with Irving and Hawthorne), through its most hallowed practitioners (Poe and Lovecraft), along its sturdy backbone (Matheson and King) and into those with the freshest new takes (Ligotti and Kiernan), this is the best exploration of horror's history and themes around. There's something eerie, disgusting or downright terrifying in here for every taste.

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Jen Robinson said...

Great list, a.f. I had read the first couple of blurbs, and then I thought "Oh, the Shining should be on this list". And it was. Imagine this as a gift pack for a teen horror fan? Wow!

slayground said...

Great list! Hurrah for everyone who contributed to it.

Love is kinda crazy with a spooky little book like you...

Seth said...

Also The Ruins by Scott Smith. Is it a great book? Hardly. (Certainly not up to the level of A Simple Plan.) But it's lively and deeply spooky.

80s Queen said...

Thanks for the list! I've added a few more to my pile of horror books to read.

brett said...

this looks great. there is also a novel(i cant remember the authors name)called "house". it is a great book and although it isnt all that scary, i would recommend for any horror fan!