It’s that time of year again! Albeit slightly different this time. No Halloween parties or scary children knocking at your door, which will provide you with ample time to read some scary stories! Horror is a genre of literature that doesn’t get enough love. Everyone’s heard of Steven King and Bram Stoker, but when I was doing some research for this post I was amazed by how many of the horror stories out there that I’d never heard of! There’s loads out there to get your teeth into, more than I had never imagined! I thought I’d share some of my favourite scary books, so even though we’re stuck inside we can still have a great Halloween reading some scary literature. Here are my top eight horror books to tear into this Halloween!
American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis
This one could be considered to be quite topical with the likes of Donald Trump in the American Whitehouse, and the presidential election just round the corner! Although not strictly speaking horror, Ellis’ novel American Psycho is nothing less than terrifying. Equipped with more wall street stereotypes than a sales team and enough blood to fill a swimming pool, American Psycho is a look at the psychologically damaged, privileged and prejudice-ridden world in which characters like Patrick Bateman exist. I’d recommend this book, but only if you’re not squeamish… This is not a “nice” book!
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dracula is perhaps the most iconic villain to ever exist. Dracula is easily recognisable and become a huge staple of pop culture. The vampire has become a creature which has captured readers and writers imaginations for centuries… Literally centuries! Bram Stoker tells his story through the diary entries of his characters, providing the reader with a disjointed and eerie account of the goings on at Bran Castle in Transylvania.
The Shining by Steven King
The Shining was one of the first horror novels I got my teeth into. Steven King chronicles the journey of Jack Torrance, a sane hotel caretaker who turns complete deranged nutcase, while he and his family are trapped in the Overlook hotel. The Shining is extremely topical because isolation is perhaps its most prominent theme, a theme which all of us are having to deal with during this strange time. The Shining is perhaps a more psychological look at the horror genre, but also sprinkled with elements of the bizarre and fantastical. This is one of my favourites!
Anything! by H.P. Lovecraft
H.P. Lovecraft, is one of the horror genres founding fathers. The writer even established his own subgenre of horror, known as Lovecraftian horror or Cosmic Horror. Lovecraft, although a bigot and by all accounts a terrible person, created one of the most frightening creatures in the world of literature: Cthulhu.
This god-like creature inflicts madness and death on anybody that interacts with it, but Lovecraft didn’t stop there! There’s a whole Cthulhu mythos associated with his work, he created hundreds of these giant creatures which hibernate in the uninhabited parts of our earth ready and waiting to rise again and wipe out humanity with their unstoppable power!
The October Country: Stories by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury is perhaps an author known more for his Science Fiction, but he has also written many great horror stories too. The October Country is an anthology of some of these grisly and dark little tales, originally published in 1955. Stories like The Small Assassin and The Jar are masterful little tales which I really enjoyed the first time I read them. Bradbury is a master of the short story and a great companion for any reader looking for short snappy reading.
Ok I haven’t read these ones but they look awesome:
Truth be told I’m a bit of a horror noob! I’ve probably seen more horror movies than read horror books. With that being said however, I stumbled across these stories which piqued my interest:
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirly Jackson
I found this book after first watching the Netflix adaptation, and am ashamed to say that I haven’t read it as of yet. Shirly Jackson’s novel is definitely on my list this Halloween. Regarded as one of the finest horror novels to ever exist, heralded by none other than Steven King, and according to the Wall Street Journal, one of the greatest haunted house stories ever written. I’ll definitely be picking this up, and I’ll let you know how I get on!
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
Rosemary’s Baby is another one of those incredible horror novels which lead to a resurgence in the genres popularity in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Levin’s book sold over 4 million copies worldwide, making it the highest selling novel of the 1960s — that’s one “hell” of an achievement, if you’ll pardon the pun! Along with the novel itself television and film adaptations took the world by storm and Rosemary’s Baby has become a staple of the horror genre.
The Other by Thomas Tryon
The Other is a bit of a wildcard on this list, but I found the subject matter fascinating and wanted to include it. Thomas Tryon’s books became a surprise bestseller in 1971 when it was published, and has received huge critical acclaim. Although not as successful commercially as the other novels on this list, The Other is seen as an incredible addition to horror genre. The novel focuses on the bizarre and sadistic relationship between two twins, one is well-behaved and the other is a complete sociopath. I can assure you this psychological horror will be on my bookshelf soon!
What do you think?
Let me know what your favourite horror novels are in the comments down below. I always love to learn about new books, new authors and new opinions. So don’t hesitate to tell me my list is wrong, let me know what your list would be!