Happy reading! Is there a name more synonymous with horror? The story of Dr. Frankenstein and the anguished, tragic monster he unwittingly creates has become a cultural icon, both macabre and quintessential. Lovecraft-style cosmic horror. The titular Pym stows away on the Grampus, a whaling ship headed for southern waters. Could you really call a list of the best horror books complete without a nod or two to the genius of Edgar Allan Poe?
Sibling dynamics are given new meaning in this work of gothic fiction that centers on the spooky Usher household. Roderick is a sick man with acute sensitivity to everything, who lives in constant fear he is about to die. His sister, Madeline, suffers from catalepsy a sickness involving seizures.
An unnamed narrator visits them both and gets more than he bargained for. Just as the tin says! Gothic Tales is a collection of surprise! Written by 19th-century author Elizabeth Gaskell, these stories deliver everything: disappearances, Salem witch hunts, mysterious children wandering lost in the moors, and local legends that may or may not return to haunt the townspeople. And with every story, Gaskell shows her uncanny talent of blending reality and the supernatural with spine-tingling dexterity.
Looking for something new to read? Trust real people, not robots, to give you book recommendations. Or sign up with an email address. Before Dracula , there was Carmilla. Meet the most famous vampire of all time. Dracula is his story, one in which he roams from Transylvania to England to spread the curse of the undead amongst innocents. Perhaps the most influential of American horror writers, H. Lovecraft was responsible for creating an entire mythology of elder gods, sinister, sea-dwellers , mysterious cults, and men of science who are driven to the edge of their sanity.
The collection includes a whopping 30 stories, most of which involve a mild-mannered academic stumbling upon an artifact that calls forth some malevolent, otherworldly presence. At the Mountains of Madness relates the horrifying details of an Antarctic expedition gone wrong, in which the remains of a prehistoric species seemingly came to life and slayed humans. As the narrative spirals further, both the characters and the reader come to realize that instead of a life-changing discovery, the explorers may have brought about a death-wracking monster.
After a whirlwind romance, a shy American marries a wealthy Englishman and returns to his estate in Cornwall. Doctor Robert Neville is the last man left alive. In the daylight, he hits the streets, stocking up on supplies and vanquishing the vampiric creature that lurk in the shadows. But when night falls, he squirrels himself away in his fortress of a home and works desperately on a cure for an epidemic that has ended the human race. You know how some people say that the setting is almost like another character in the story? When a parapsychologist invites a group of volunteers to stay at an old mansion with a bloody mystery, he hopes to uncover evidence of the supernatural.
As the tension ratchets up, each of the guests is confronted by inexplicable phenomena. Listed by Stephen King as one of the best horror books of the 20th century, this is a must-read for any fan of the genre. From the supreme master of shivers-down-your-spine horror comes a tale of Gothic surroundings and even more sinister, yet inscrutable, inner lives.
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If you like the other two, why not give this one a chance? As Will and Jim tail the Benjamin Button-ized Cooger, searching for answers, they find that the mysteries of the carnival are even darker than they anticipated — and that that darkness may not be limited to the carnival alone. That is, until their dream home starts to turn into a living nightmare, and they begin to feel that the devil lives only a few doors down.
In Hell House , the I am Legend scribe reaches terrifying new heights by expertly combining his flair for suspense with an intuitive eye for horror. Whether any of them make it out alive — without going mad — is another question altogether. It looms over the rest the way the mountains loom over the foothills. Part family drama and all horror, it delivers on all fronts. As one of the most put-upon teenage girls in literature, the title character struggles with school bullies, a puritanical mother, and unusual to say the least physical changes. Want more King?
Check out this list of every Stephen King novel , ranked from most popular to least popular. Speaking of debuts that made a splash: with her first published novel, Anne Rice redefined Southern Gothic for a new generation. The titular interview takes place in modern day, as the vampire Louis recounts his story to a cub reporter. Once a plantation owner in pre-Civil War Louisiana, his life as a creature of the night is marked by his various encounters with Lestat, the vampire responsible for his undeath.
Interview with the Vampire went on to be an incredible success, spawning a series of popular novels and a film adaptation starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. What do you get when you take a frustrated writer, a creepy old hotel, and a blizzard that locks everyone inside? Angela Carter is perhaps the preeminent magical realist writers of the twentieth century, female or male. The Bloody Chamber , a collection of darkly reimagined fairy tales and folktales, takes a distinctly feminist slant with its portrayal of female characters: many of the heroines in these stories save themselves, rather than waiting for a hero on a white horse.
Of course, they have to go through some pretty scary stuff first. Horror lovers who also enjoy a bit of Holly Black or Marissa Meyer, this is unquestionably the collection for you. A group of old men in a quiet town call themselves The Chowder Society. Every so often, they gather to share ghost stories with each other. Hilary Thomas is a screenwriter living in Los Angeles.
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One day, she is attacked by Bruno Frye, the proprietor of a vineyard she recently visited. Later on, she is once again attacked by Bruno but manages to get injure him as he escapes. When she called the cops again, she learns that her assailant was found dead hundreds of miles away. Not to be confused with the Jim Carrey comedy, this shudder-inducing novel from Koontz follows Carol and Paul, a hopeful couple who welcomes a young, amnesiac foster girl into their home. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House.
Readers who love a slow build-up and the sensation of being watching will be thrilled. Frank Cauldhame is sick in the head, even by the standards of the horror genre. While cinephiles may recognise his works Candyman and Hellraiser , he first appeared on the horror radar with his short story collection, Books of Blood.
Compulsively blood-curdling, these contemporary stories see regular people sucked into grotesque, disturbing, and often comic scenarios. A brilliant gateway for Barker newbs. The story that injected clowns straight into the nightmares of an entire generation, the title character is a demonic entity that disguises itself while pursuing its prey. And for the children of Derry, that mostly involves taking the form of Pennywise the Clown. Alternating between two time periods childhood and adulthood , this incredibly thick tome over 1, pages is packed with fascinating tangents that expertly flesh out the sad, traumatized, and occasionally nostalgic natives of this quiet Maine town.
Eighteen years later, the child still haunts her — in some ways more than others. In the s, Harriet and David Lovatt are normal parents with four normal children in England — until Harriet gives birth to their fifth child. Ben is the devil incarnate: he is too strong for his own good, insatiable when it comes to sustenance, and abnormally violent. As he grows up, the family becomes increasingly paralyzed by fear and indecision. Underneath the thrills and agony of The Fifth Child lies a dangerous question about parenthood and the obligations of family. The basis for the Oscar-winning film, The Silence of the Lambs is the follow-up to Red Dragon , which was the first novel to feature cannibalistic serial killer Dr.
Hannibal Lecter. In order to do so, the inner workings of a very dark mind are probed, and spine-chilling suspense ensues.
by Steve Niles
The premise is a modern-twist on a classic trope: there is a videotape that warns viewers they will die in one week unless they perform an unspecified act. And, yes, the videotape does keep its promises.
This Japanese mystery horror novel was the basis for the film, The Ring , a film which kickstarted the trend of adapting Asian horror for English-speaking markets. Indeed, the nineties was when international readers really started to pay attention to the chilling work being produced by Japanese genre writers like Suzuki. Trevor McGee avoids his childhood home in North Carolina for a reason. Years ago, when he was only five years old, his father murdered his mother and his younger brother before hanging himself. Nagashima, who is overwhelmed with grief at the loss of his wife.
To cope, he begins the process of reincarnating his wife using a small sample of her liver. Uzumaki is a seinen horror manga series. As the hold of the curse over the town strengthens, its inhabitants begin to fall deeper and deeper into a whirlpool of madness. The peerless Alan Moore put aside V for Vendetta and Watchmen to write this graphic novel, bringing to life the world of Jack the Ripper and his reign of terror in the s.
From the grisly theories surrounding the Ripper to the personalities that stood tall during the desperate investigation, Moore spares no gruesome detail as he examines the motivations and identity of the most famous serial killer of all times. This mammoth page novel follows "The Navidson Record" — a documentary about an apparently haunted house if by "haunted" one actually means "alive". The Navidson house seems to mutate, changing size and sprouting corridors in a dizzying labyrinths, all while emitting an ominous growl.
Skin Folk is a short story collection that includes science fiction, Caribbean folklore, passionate love stories, and downright chilling horror. From the mind of the bestselling author who brought you American Gods and Neverwhere comes a novel of wondrous and chilling imagination.
This dramatic comic book miniseries brings supernatural terror to life: for a town in Alaska, prolonged periods of darkness means that vampires can openly kill and feed upon humans at almost any time. Come closer, indeed. This novel by Sara Gran revolves around a woman named Amanda, who has an ostensibly perfect life. But one day she realizes that some things are a little off. Like the quiet but recurrent tapping in her apartment. And the memo that she sent earlier to her boss that was somehow replaced by a series of insults. Then there are the dreams: those of a beautiful woman with pointed teeth, and a seashore the color of blood.
As this mystery escalates in size and terror, Amanda is forced to confront nothing less than her own self. The Good House was the most beloved home in Sacajawea, Washington… until a young boy died behind its doors. Oskar is a young boy living with his divorced mother in a suburb of Stockholm. Mercilessly bullied by kids at school and increasingly insular, he makes a much-needed connection when Eli, a child of a similar age, moves in next door.
Titled after the lyrics of a Morrissey song, this sweet but frightening novel has been adapted twice into film and once as a stage show. To read one of Octavia E. In Fledgling , Butler demonstrates her mastery of horror once again. On the surface, Shori seems to be a young girl who suffers from severe amnesia.
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Yet a discovery leads her to the horrifying revelation that she is in fact a year old vampire who has been genetically modified by someone who wants her dead. Now she must decide whether to pursue more answers, even though it might lead her to her own doom. It follows a professor and his daughter who become entrenched in the folklore of Vlad the Impaler, a major inspiration for Dracula.
They soon realize that their connection to Vlad goes far beyond the scholarly. Unfortunately, no discussion of Lovecraft should be had without acknowledging his particularly virulent xenophobia, racism, and adherence to white supremacy. The Bad Seed implacably builds toward its shocking climax in a way that few other similar novels have matched. At its base, Beloved is a classic ghost story centering around a former slave beset by otherworldly torments tied to a long-buried and horrifying secret. In a larger sense, it is an examination of guilt, the lengths desperation can push an individual, and the psychological trauma of slavery.
Beloved is a novel of singular and devastating power. Shirley Jackson gets a lot of well-deserved love and respect these days as a major talent in midcentury horror and mystery, but we should spare a thought for the criminally underappreciated Angela Carter. It all began with the Books of Blood , a six volume collection of short stories.
There are many incredible Stephen King novels, but Carrie was his first and remains our favorite. And it has the added bonus of the most memorable dance scene of all time. Two priests are called in to examine a girl who might be possessed by the devil. The Exorcist , right? The Case Against Satan is as much the story of a crisis of faith as it is a supernatural tale, and readers looking for a nuanced take on both should give it a try.
LaValle brings a piece of classic Western European folklore to the modern day, a cautionary fairy tale and a stunningly creepy horror story all in one. What follows is a series of events that will keep you up late at night, turning page after page as the dread sinks into your bones.
We know that Richard M. This brilliant homage to the works of both Hunter S. Thompson and H. Lovecraft follows a gonzo journalist on a long, strange trip to Arkham, Massachusetts. This journey full of fear and loathing reveals a horrifying truth to our intrepid reporter: Nixon is a high ranking acolyte of the cult of Cthulhu. Is it too late to save America?
Following a run-in with the police, a regular working guy named Pepper finds himself committed to a psychiatric hospital. Pepper dismisses their stories at first, but that changes the night he sees the thing for himself. Now Pepper has a choice between going along with the program, or doing something about a terror the staff seems all too willing to ignore.
Trevor McGee had a rough childhood, you could say — when he was just five years old, he woke up one morning to find that his father had murdered his mother and his younger brother, and then hanged himself. Twenty years later, McGee returns to the house he grew up in, but it seems the demons that drove his father to insanity may not have left…. Caitlin R. Kiernan is an expert at incorporating mental illness into her books in a sensitive, non-sensational way.
The Drowning Girl is part ghost story, part character study, part… something else, and is absolutely not to be missed. The protagonists are crystal meth junkies whose habit immunized them against a mysterious something that turned the rest of the world into zombies. Now, scoring more meth has become a matter of life and un death. Author Peter Stenson dealt with a meth habit in his past, and knows as good as anyone the damage the drug can do.
This contemporary Gothic horror story is set in late s England and centers on a baby named Ben who is born to Harriet and David Lovatt, the happy parents of four other children. Gruesomely goblin-like in appearance, insatiably hungry, abnormally strong, and incredibly violent, Ben is not your typical infant not by a long shot.
Deemed a dangerous monster who will never be accepted anywhere, they exile him to an institution where he suffers alone. A meditation on humanity and parenthood, this book will haunt you until the last page. The Frangipani Hotel is a lyrical and thought-provoking collection of ghost stories that delve into the painful legacy of the Vietnam War. In these tales, the past is often intruding on the present, and the supernatural is always just around the corner. This is the perfect book to curl up with on a rainy day for a little spooky introspection.
The power of a novel can be seen in its longevity. Frankenstein is powerful indeed. While it has long been considered one of the first science fiction works, it also features terrifying ideas of the macabre and horrific, posing questions about life and death and life again. Hadi, a local eccentric, collects body parts from the city streets and stitches them together, intending the finished creation as a political statement, an outcry against the wasteful death that surrounds him.
Their version of Victorian London features secret societies, magic, royal intrigue, amoral doctors and a dogged investigator looking for the truth. The kernels of truth amidst the dark fiction just make the work more horrifying. The story follows a group of old men who call themselves the Chowder Society in a sleepy New York town. After the death of one of their number, the men are forced to reckon with a horrific accident that occurred years earlier and has haunted the men ever since.
In this weighty collection of spine-tingling stories, Gaskell weaves local lore with reworked fairy tales, social surrealism with a touch of Salem, threading in too the experiences of women in the s. Here indeed is Elizabeth Gaskell at her spookiest.
A parapsychologist looking for proof of the supernatural takes a group of young volunteers for a stay in Hill House, a creaky old mansion with a tragic history. Is the house really haunted? A masterpiece of subdued horror! James never makes it entirely clear whether the governess is experiencing something supernatural or is mentally ill, and people are still arguing about it to this day. Horrorstor deftly leans into the tropes of the genre in some ingenious ways by setting his traditional haunted house tale in an IKEA like-furniture store called Orsk.
With a bit of knowing humor and some genuine frights, Horrorstor is both unexpectedly clever and surprisingly gruesome. It is an epistolary novel. It is a story within a story within a story. But more than any of that, it is a literally labyrinthine reading experience all centering around the central conceit of a house that is vastly larger on the inside than it appears from the outside.
House of Leaves is claustrophobic, unnerving, and entirely original.