Do you like to be scared? Not the oh-my-gawd-there’s-a-madman-with-an-axe-chasing-me-down-the-corridor type of scared, but the ‘safe’ scare of a good horror film or book, the type of scare where the monster stays safely inside the cinema or the pages of your book? I do. While you’d never catch me on a rollercoaster, the thrill ride of literary or filmic horror is something I actively seek out. With this in mind, and in the belief that I’m not alone in this, I thought I’d share with you my top five favourite scary books and films. This post will be about the books and I’ll share my scary movies next week.
The Opener of the Way by Robert Bloch
This collection of short stories by the writer of Psycho scared me witless. One story involving scarab beetles, while perhaps predictable in the 21st century, affected 18-year-old me so much I didn’t want to keep the finished book in the house. I tried giving it to several friends and each refused to keep it. In the end, I had to do the unthinkable and put it in the bin. Not my bin, you understand, but a public bin, far away from where I lived. Just in case.
Drood by Dan Simmons
You can read a review I did of this book here. While not exactly a horror per se, the psychological effect of being in a train accident for a fictional Charles Dickens and the jealousy the writer engendered in Wilkie Collins proved a very unsettling read. I loved this doorstop of a book.
Wayward Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch
You may have seen the recent TV adaptation of these books. I watched one episode and was so disappointed I didn’t watch anymore. The protagonist in these books wakes up beside a river with no idea how he got there. Nor has he any idea who he is. His past is a total blank. We follow his attempts to connect with a past he isn’t sure exists and the attempts the town makes to prevent him doing so. If you aren’t a fan of 1984’s Big Brother or social engineering, you may find these books as horrific as I did.
Frankenstorm by Ray Garton
If you are a fan of the Asylum production company (Sharknado, Big Ass Spiders) you will love Frankenstorm as much as I do. It’s a big, silly, non-stop ride of a book and I loved it. A fuller review is here.
Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh
First things first: this is not a horror story, but the inevitable fate of the narrator, a misfit girl with a crush on the pretty girl in her class, is so truly horrific that I can think of no better word to describe it. You’ll guess what happens quite early on, I’m sure, but you won’t care that you do. The true horror comes by watching your prediction becoming true. Brilliant.
So, that’s my choice – well, today’s anyway. I might choose five different books tomorrow. I’d love to know what your favourites are. Which tales of horror would you recommend?