What better time of the year to snuggle up to a classic horror story? It’s Fall and although October may be over in just one day but bookworms, lets pay respect to books and authors that enjoy illustrating stories that make the hair on our forearms rise. We may want to add a little pep to our November reading lists.
IT, Stephen King
Stephen King is the you-know-what of horror. This book might be the scariest, and has the added bonus of being about fear itself — the scariest thing of all. There’s also a murderous clown.
The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty
You’ve seen the movie, right? Well, the book is a hundred times more frightening.
Ghost Story, Peter Straub
Straub is a master of contemporary literary horror, and Ghost Story, his breakout book. The Chowder Society, a group of old men who gather to tell each other ghost stories, are set upon by the horrors of their past.
American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
This is one of the most disturbing modern classics around, so upsetting that in some countries it still has to be sold shrink-wrapped. Sure, there’s all the violence and upsetting sex, but what’s really terrifying is that the inside of Patrick Bateman’s head might be the inside of anybody’s.
Hell House, Richard Matheson
This writer finds haunted houses scarier than vampires. And, as Stephen King commented, “Hell House is the scariest haunted house novel ever written. It looms over the rest the way the mountains loom over the foothills.”
The Best of H. P. Lovecraft, H.P. Lovecraft
Any Lovecraft, who is the Captain of the heebie-jeebies (At the Mountains of Madness would be a solid choice, but “Best of” covers all the bases). This is a man whose guiding principle was “cosmic horror,” so you’d better believe he’ll chill you to your bones.
House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
This book actually gives the reader the feeling of claustrophobia via the very act of reading. A singular, expansively existentialist horror story that will invade your mind for years to come.
The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson
Here’s another haunted house story — or perhaps the haunted house story, so often is it referred to as the best in its category. It’s the oldest houses that have the most ghosts.
The Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris
Here’s another example of a film so famous it outshines the book in the public imagination. But here’s some news: the book’s way scarier.
Carrion Comfort, Dan Simmons
Simmons has a number of strong contenders, but this one might just be the scariest. In this world, a tiny cadre of humans have The Ability — that is, they can psychically control anyone, even from a distance. Don’t buy it? The novel won the Bram Stoker Award, The Locus Poll Award for Best Horror Novel, The World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and The August Derleth Award for Best Novel. Just saying.
For more of the most frightening books of all time, here.
What are YOUR favorite horror or scary books to read?