Are you looking for a read that will give you a little fright? With Halloween just around the corner, now is the time to pick up a book that gives you that spine tingling, goose bump raising, heart pounding scare. From the real, to the deranged, to the downright creepy, any of these suggestions is bound to keep you up all night reading.
Inspired by real events, The Exorcist is classic in horror writing. Written in 1971 by William Peter Blatty, the book follows the demonic possession of 12-year-old Ragan MacNeil. After a series of strange events, Father Lankester Merrin and Father Karras are ultimately given the task of trying to perform the exorcism on the child. It is said that Blatty wrote his book because of an actual exorcism that was performed in 1949 on a young boy from Maryland. The book also inspired the making of the popular movie with the same name, which has been scaring generations of watchers since the 1970’s.
Author Stephen King is renowned for his horror and suspense novels. Many of King’s books are perfect for this time of year, but one of the scariest, which still makes people frightened of clowns to this day, is It. “It” is a shapeshifting monster that can change shape based on the phobias and fears of its victims. Often portrayed as a clown, “It”, also known as Pennywise, lives in the sewer system of Maine and preys on its citizens every three decades. This was the bestselling book in the United States in 1986 when it was written, and famous director Guillermo del Toro has expressed interested in making a new film adaptation of this novel.
We have seen a surge in vampire novels recently, especially since the rise of the Twilight series, but nothing compares to the original dark cloaked figure, Dracula. A classic in the Gothic horror genre, Dracula has been inspiring generations in realm of darkness since it was written. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is living in Transylvania in the late 1800’s and the story begins with the capture of the legal practitioner Jonathan Harker. The plot continues with Harker and his fiancée Mina Murray, and also introduces us to the infamous character of Professor Abraham Van Helsing. All of the ‘superstitions’ regarding vampires that we know today: fear of light, power of garlic, and stake through the heart, are all ways in which the people attempt to destroy the vampires in this novel.
Unbeknownst to many people, critically acclaimed suspense writer Joe Hill (pen name) was actually born Joseph Hillstrom King, and is the son of Stephen and Tabitha King. Heart Shaped Box is Hill’s debut novel, and revolves around musician Judas Coyne who is a collector of morbid memorabilia. He eventually purchases a dead man’s suit which is haunted by its ghost, and from there a series of frightening events takes place. Hill also wrote NOS4A2, a novel about Victoria McQueen, the only person ever to escape the terrifying world of Charles Manx. Years pass, and Victoria is looking to forget the troubling past, but Manx is looking for revenge on the only person who was ever able to get away from him.
Chuck Palahniuk is most famous for his novel Fight Club, and has increasingly become more popular for his chilling and disturbing story telling. Haunted is series of 23 mini-stories that Palahniuk first debuted during a book tour for his book Diary. Reports from that encounter state that almost forty people fainted while he read the short story “Guts”. As a sequence of stories, Haunted follows a group of people who are at a weekend retreat. The stories are extremely gory and horrifying, and have the reader shaking not just because of the extreme violence but also because of the supernatural terror. This is certainly not a read for the faint of heart!