1) It -Stephen King
A promise made twenty-eight years ago calls seven adults to reunite in Derry, Maine, where as teenagers they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Unsure that their Losers Club had vanquished the creature all those years ago, the seven had vowed to return to Derry if IT should ever reappear. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that summer return as they prepare to do battle with the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers once more
2) The Shinning- Stephen King
Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr. Halloran he was a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.
As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?
Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel – and that too had begun to shine…
3) Hell House -Richard Matheson
Can any soul survive?
Regarded as the Mount Everest of haunted houses, Belasco House has witnessed scenes of almost unimaginable horror and depravity. Two previous expeditions to investigate its secrets met with disaster, the participants destroyed by murder, suicide or insanity. Now a new investigation has been mounted – four strangers, each with his or her own reason for daring the unknown torments and temptations of the mansion
4) The Haunting of Hill House- Shirley Jackson
It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers-and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
5) The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty
Regan, the 11-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing inWashington, D.C.; the child apparently is possessed by an ancient demon. It’s up to a small group of overwhelmed yet determined humans to somehow rescue Regan from this unspeakable fate.
6) Jaws – Peter Benchley
The classic, blockbuster thriller of man-eating terror that inspired the Steven Spielberg movie and made millions of beach goers afraid to go into the water. Experience the thrill of helpless horror again -
7) Ghost Story- Peter Straub
For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past — and get away with murder.
Curfew –Phil Rickman
On the border between England and Wales lies the tiny town of Crybbe, not picturesque enough for the tourist trade, quietly sliding into decay. Max Goff means to change all that. Goff has made millions in the record business, but his heart is in New Age philosophy. He has learned that Crybbe was once a spiritual center of sorts, surrounded by ancient standing stones that were emblems of power. He means to replace the stones that have fallen – or been destroyed, as many of them were – and establish a thriving New Age community that will draw tourists and students from all over the world. What Max Goff doesn’t know is that the standing stones of Crybbe were destroyed in the sixteenth century for a very good reason. Some of the endearing customs of the town – such as tolling the church bell for curfew each night – are actually deadly serious rituals. The people of Crybbe know that evil has been kept at bay here by the old ways, and that there’s nothing quaint about them. And the power about to be unleashed by Max Goff is nothing like the soothing music and herbal remedies he associates with the New Age. This is the power of the old age, pent up for centuries and about to be released with deadly fury!
9) The Woman in Black – Susan Hill
Set on the obligatory English moor, on an isolated causeway, the story’s hero is Arthur Kipps, an up-and-coming young solicitor who has come north to attend the funeral and settle the estate of Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. The routine formalities he anticipates give way to a tumble of events and secrets more sinister and terrifying than any nightmare: the rocking chair in the nursery of the deserted Eel Marsh House, the eerie sound of pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, and, most dreadfully, and for Kipps most tragically, the woman in black.
10) Dracula – Bram Stoker
A dreary castle, blood-thirsty vampires, open graves at midnight, and other gothic touches fill this chilling tale about a young Englishman’s confrontation with the evil Count Dracula. A horror romance as deathless as any vampire, the blood-curdling tale still continues to hold readers spellbound a century later.
11) The Fog – James Herbert
A peaceful village in Wiltshire is shattered by a disaster which strikes without reason or explanation, leaving behind a trail of misery and horror. A yawning, bottomless crack spreads through the earth, out of which creeps a fog that resembles no other. Whatever it is, it must be controlled.
12) Phantoms – Dean Koontz
CLOSER…They found the town silent, apparently abandoned. Then they found the first body strangely swollen and still warm. One hundred fifty were dead, 350 missing. But the terror had only begun in the tiny mountain town of Snowfield, California. AND CLOSER…At first they thought it was the work of a maniac. Or terrorists. Or toxic contamination. Or a bizarre new disease. AND CLOSER…But then they found the truth. And they saw it in the flesh. And it was worse than anything any of them had ever imagined
13) The Amityville Horror – Jay Anson
The Lutzes moved into their dream home on December 18th, 1975. Four weeks later, they fled in terror. The home was the scene of a mass murder a year before, and the Lutzes claimed paranormal phenomena caused them to fear for their lives and forced them to abandon the home. Touted as a true story.
14) Watchers – Dean Koontz
From a top secret government laboratory come two genetically altered life forms. One is a magnificent dog of astonishing intelligence. The other, a hybrid monster of a brutally violent nature. And both are on the loose
15) Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes . . . and the stuff of nightmare.
16) Psycho – Robert Bloch
It was a dark and stormy night when Mary Crane glimpsed the unlit neon sign announcing the vacancy at the Bates motel. Exhausted, lost, and at the end of her rope, she was eager for a hot shower and a bed for the night. Her room was musty but clean and the plumbing worked. Norman Bates, the manager, seemed nice, if a little odd.
17) Silence of the Lambs- Thomas Harris
A serial murderer known only by a grotesquely apt nickname-Buffalo Bill-is stalking women. He has a purpose, but no one can fathom it, for the bodies are discovered in different states. Clarice Starling, a young trainee at the FBI Academy, is surprised to be summoned by Jack Crawford, chief of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science section. Her assignment: to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter-Hannibal the Cannibal-who is kept under close watch in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
Dr. Lecter is a former psychiatrist with a grisly history, unusual tastes, and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind.
18) Pet Cemetery– Stephen King
When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son — and now an idyllic home. As a family, they’ve got it all…right down to the friendly cat.
But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth — more terrifying than death itself…and hideously more powerful.
19) Interview with Vampire- Anne Rice
In a darkened room a young man sits telling the macabre and eerie story of his life – the story of a vampire, gifted with eternal life, cursed with an exquisite craving for human blood.
20) The Ruins – Scott Smith
Trapped in the Mexican jungle, a group of friends stumble upon a creeping horror unlike anything they could ever imagine. Two young couples are on lazy Mexican vacation–sun-drenched days, drunken nights, making friends with fellow tourists. When the brother of one of those friends disappears, they decide to venture into the jungle to look for him. What started out as a fun day-trip slowly spirals into a nightmare when they find an ancient ruins site . . . and the terrifying presence that lurks there.
21) Dark Harvest – Norman Partridge
Halloween, 1963. They call him the October Boy, or Ol’ Hacksaw Face, or Sawtooth Jack. Whatever the name, everybody in this small Midwestern town knows who he is. How he rises from the cornfields every Halloween, a butcher knife in his hand, and makes his way toward town, where gangs of teenage boys eagerly await their chance to confront the legendary nightmare. Both the hunter and the hunted, the October Boy is the prize in an annual rite of life and death.
Pete McCormick knows that killing the October Boy is his one chance to escape a dead-end future in this one-horse town. He’s willing to risk everything, including his life, to be a winner for once. But before the night is over, Pete will look into the saw-toothed face of horror–and discover the terrifying true secret of the October Boy.
22) The Rising- Brian Keene
A father must travel cross-country to find his son after a plague has turned nearly all of America’s population into zombies.
23) Drood – Dan Simmons
On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens–at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world–hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever. Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, and the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying? Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens’s life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens’s friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), DROOD explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author’s last years and may provide the key to Dickens’s final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
24) House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth — musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies — the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.
25) Heart Shaped Box – Joe Hill
Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it. The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity
How many on this list have you read? My all time scary book is #1 Stephen King’s It, I read that book when I was 12 years old, and 26 yrs later it still scares the heck out of me.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy Halloween night.
Oct 31, 2012