Friday, October 30, 2015

Books for Halloween

Thought I would look for some Halloween type books for you. I have read my share of scary books, but I lean toward Casper and Wendy. Truth is, some of them really scare me. Part of me thinks those things could happen.

Scariest movies for me?
The 13 Ghosts - Saw it when was I was about 10. Caused nightmares and sleep walking.  I have watched it since and did not have quite the same effect on me.

The Exorcist: Saw most of it once at a drive in circa 1974-75? Covered my face for much of it. Didn't sleep for a week. Never saw it again.

Poltergeist: Saw it once. That is enough

The Shining: Once was also enough for this movie.

Yes those are "old" movies. I don't go to those type of movies anymore. I like some of the old 50's scary movies though.  They leave more to your imagination, like a good book.

Here is a list of scary books I found for you.

Twice Told Tales“The Minister’s Black Veil” from Twice Told Tales, by Nathaniel Hawthorne 
Though this is not a ghost story, per se, the villagers in this short story by The Scarlet Letter author Nathaniel Hawthorne are traumatized when their minister suddenly appears in town wearing a black veil over his face. His parishioners fear something horrible must have happened to him, and when he refuses to remove the veil under any circumstances, his fiancĂ©e leaves him. Many have theorized that the terrifying image must be Hawthorne’s comment on the idea of original sin.

Tales of Mystery and Imagination“The Fall of the House of Usher” from Tales of Mystery and Imagination, by Edgar Allan Poe
Poe is, in many ways, the master of horror, and any one of his ghost stories could be included on this list. We’re particularly fond of “The Fall of the House of Usher,” however, which tells the story of two hypochondriacal siblings, Madeline and Roderick, who believe their house is alive. Things only get worse when Madeline dies and our narrator comments on how rosy her cheeks look as she lowered into the tomb.  (I have watched this movie a few times. Vincent Price was always so good.)

Haunted Looking Glass“The Dream Woman,” by Wilkie Collins from The Haunted Looking Glass, edited by Edward Gorey
One man’s haunting by a young woman with “light gray eyes, a droop in the left eyelid, flaxen hair with a gold-yellow streak in it, white arms, and a little lady’s hand with a reddish look about the fingernails” turns out to be much more of a premonition than he could have ever imagined in this short story by the author of The Woman in White.

Haunting of Hill HouseThe Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson
American horror writer Shirley Jackson takes the idea of a haunted house to the next level in her novel The Haunting of Hill House, published in 1959. A doctor brings three subjects to a supposedly haunted house for a study in the paranormal. One of the subjects, Eleanor, seems to be more effected by the strange events in the house, leading the other people to wonder if the house has some kind of hold over her.
(Read this and saw the movie. Pretty scary)
Turning of the ScrewThe Turn of the Screw, by Henry James
Henry James’ absolutely terrifying 1898 novella tells the story of a governess who comes to care for two children, Miles and Flora, who live in a country estate in England with their uncle. The governess immediately notices the presence of not one, but two ghosts in the house. When she learns their identities, she must struggle to keep the children safe from ghostly threats. (This sounds familiar...Just the cover looks scary.)

ShiningThe Shining, by Stephen King
Though most are familiar with Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation, it’s important go to back to the source material, Stephen King’s 1977 novel. The Shining tells the story of a family who hope to escape their recent hardship by house-sitting a giant hotel over the winter. What they don’t realize is they aren’t alone, and that most of the guests in the hotel have never checked out.
(Very scary movie)
October Country“The Lake” from The October Country, by Ray Bradbury
The stories in this collection by Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury are all terrifying, especially “The Lake,” which Bradbury wrote when he was only 22. In his introduction he describes the joy he felt when he “knew at long last, after years of dumb obfuscation, I had turned inward, discovered whatever might be original in my head, and caught in on paper.” (Turns out, the contents of said head were pretty disturbing.) “‘The Lake,'” Bradbury writes, “published in Weird Tales some months later, has never been out of print and has been anthologized dozens of times.” (Bradbury also did Star Trek. And he had a t.v. series before - Ray Bradbury Theatre. We have it in DVD. Kind of Twightlight Zone type stories but a little scarier)

Scary Stories in the Dark“Cold as Clay” from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, by Alvin Schwartz
The stories in Alvin Schwartz’s three-volume Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark are deeply disturbing, and the horrifying illustrations by Stephen Gammell make them even scarier, despite the fact the books are meant for young readers! Based in folklore, the stories collected here may seem vaguely familiar. We love “Cold as Clay,” about a young woman’s visit from her boyfriend, who claims to need to take her to her father. As she climbs on the back of his horse, she exclaims, “You’re cold as clay!” I hope you are not ill.” Oh, brother. (Hmmm I believe this book is in the box of books my kids had. Maybe I will take a look.)

House of LeavesHouse of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski
This cult novel, published in 2000, is filled with winding footnotes, appendices, and terrifying wormholes that mimic the interior of the house at the center of its narrative. Shortly after moving in, the Navidson family finds doors open onto walls, strange rooms appear and disappear, leading to a maze like structure called the anteroom. Danielewski owes much to the strange true story of the Winchester Mystery House and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House—but ultimately the House of Leaves is also an allegory of the modern, dysfunctional family.
Ghostly“The Pink House” from Ghostly, by Rebecca Curtis
Rebecca Curtis’ short story “The Pink House” begins like many classic horror stories—a woman tells the story of her haunted house to a group of friends on a stormy night. On the day she moves in, she discovers a man’s ring in the bathroom, which she then gives to her boyfriend, who starts acting very strangely. When she learns the history of the house from the local bartender and puts two and two together, the result is terrifying

What ones have you read?


  1. The only ones I've read are The Shining (loved it) and The Turn Of The Screw (incredibly creepy). I have tried to read House Of Leaves - could not get into it. A little too, too for me - not so scary but definitely odd and hard to read.

    I saw another blog post about Ghostly and that makes me want to pick that one up. And I've seen The Exorcist and Poltergeist. Happy Halloween, Gayle!

  2. Some classics showing on TCM tonight. We are going to watch a couple.