For the past several years one of my favorite writers, Neil Gaiman, has been heading up a REALLY fun tradition that he’s started called ‘All Hallows Read‘. It’s a fun little addition to the yearly Halloween festivities that focuses on spreading the love for scary stories and great horror books. As an avid horror reader (and watcher, my love for horror movies is deep and never-ending) I 110% support this fun tradition!
I’ve read so many great horror stories that it’s hard to narrow things down, but I thought, in the spirit of All Hallows Read, I’d share some of my favorite books as well as a few favorite horror movies to help me get back on the horse with this whole blogging thing. I swear, for real, I’ll start writing more often. But for now, let the scary begin!
- I am Legend by Richard Matheson – This one is a GREAT one. Terrifying in that it’s not only a unique take on the ‘scary illness takes over the world and changes EVERYONE’ story, it is topped off by being narrated by the very LAST person on Earth! Perfect writing and the perfect story that sticks with you in your dreams. I can’t think of anything more terrifying than that kind of loneliness. Excellent story.
- The Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston – Since everyone is talking about Ebola, they’re talking about Richard Preston’s other fantastic book ‘The Hot Zone’, but, I believe this one is the more terrifying of the two. This one is deeply troubling. It’s about Smallpox and the stranglehold it had on the world of the past and how incredibly dangerous it is and it could be. Preston is great about discussing the implications on the world if Smallpox were to escape the tightly regulated confines it’s locked in and burn through our modern world that lacks any kind of immunity or vaccine to this incredibly deadly disease. Scary and real.
- Hell House by Richard Matheson – ANOTHER excellent work by Matheson. This one is DEFINITELY the scarier of the two, by far. Where as ‘I am Legend’ is terrifying in it’s loneliness, this one is terrifying in it’s presence. A group of paranormal researchers takes on a notoriously death dealing haunted house and finds our what it really means to be horrified. Matheson is such a raw writer and this is just perfectly chilling.
- The Handmaiden’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – A world where women are no longer allowed to read, where a woman is at the mercy of her overseer. Where she’s is only as valuable as her womb, her body and her charms. She is silent until she must please men. It’s a terrifying peek into a future where men rule and women are prizes. Pieces of flesh to be traded and batted around at the whims of a world dominated by men. Enraging and chilling.
- Edgar Allen Poe – First of all, it needs to be this illustrated version. The illustrations are not only beautiful, but incredibly haunting. Poe is the only writer I’ve ever read that has managed to scare me enough to not want to read a story again. His stories and poems are haunting and beautiful as well as terrifying. Something that everyone should read.
- Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz – I was read this when I was in elementary school by the most incredible librarian of all time. She wore so many bangles on her arms that it sounded like bones rattling and I can still hear her whisper ‘Taily bone, taily bone…‘. Chills. Really. Still.
- The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – The way women were treated by men in the past is just as terrible as the terrifying future presented by Atwood. After a terrible event brings on a case of depression, a woman is locked in a room with nothing to do other than slowly lose her mind.
Horror Books to Read –
- Anything Lovecraft – I’m not sure how this one happened, but I’ve haven’t read a smidgen of Lovecraft, it’s a downright TRAGEDY and it’s going to be fixed. Like now.
- WAY more Stephen King. I’ve got several of his books under my belt but I’m not nowhere near as read up as I need to be. I want to take on his whole catalog, as he is truly a national treasure, I need to dive in.
- The Terror by Dan Simmons – I’ve read another book by Simmons, this one is supposed to be one of the horror greats, I’m excited to read it.
A few favorites that are a little off the beaten path that I’ve seen lately. There are the staples (The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining, etc) that you can argue with, but there are also the little gems that you find every now an again when you’re just cruising for a scary movie to watch on Horror Movie Saturday, an event in our house that I treasure dearly. Here are a few to catch:
- Killer Legends – A SUPER spooky documentary that goes through a few of the more common urban legends that a lot of American kids heard at one point or another. This is by the same people who filed Cropsey, P has seen it, but I haven’t. He is NOTORIOUSLY difficult to creep out and he said Cropsey made it skin crawl and he had nightmares for several weeks after he saw it. Basically: GOLD.
- Skinwalker Ranch – A found-footage gem that gets under your skin right off the bat. This is one that just gives you the willies and forces you to pay attention throughout the whole film. Keep an eye on windows behind the subjects and such.
- Sinister – I had my doubts about this one and waited a really long time to watch it. Honestly though, creepy as HELL. At the end you kind of find yourself feeling really weird about the way the murders take place. I kind of love that.
- The Sacrament – If you grew up in a Christian household, as I did, this one is hits REALLY close to home. My family raised my brothers and I in a Southern Baptist church and a lot of what comes up in the movie is super familiar. It’s the ending that made me sick. In a ‘woah, I’m glad my parents were intelligent’ sort of way. A really slow burn that is worth it.
- The Taking of Deborah Logan – This one came out of NOWHERE. Honestly. It just popped up in my suggestions for Netflix and P and I watched in Halloween night. Utterly TERRIFYING. Really. Watch it.
And for the three ultimate terrifying movies that a surprising amount of people haven’t seen yet Insidious, The Conjuring and The Fourth Kind. These are part of a VERY small list of movies that I wont watch at night, by myself or for fun. They’re just too much. I can point to specific scenes in each that make me jump out of my skin and freak me out in the middle of the day in a group of people. I love them all and recommend that completely, just watch with a friend, during the day so that you can do something fun afterwards.
There we have it! A late, but really fun to write list of my favorite spooks and creepers. Trust me, I love anything scary and seek it out all the time. Do you have anything you’d recommend? I’m always up for suggestions, and I cant count the times I’ve found myself without a good scary flick on Horror Movie Saturday. Help a gal out!