Monday, October 26, 2009

The List: Gothic Horror! Terrifying Tales! Scary Books!

Halloween just wouldn't be the same without our classic tales of horror -- they've become so much a part of our collective concept of Halloween that some would say they are nothing more than tired clich├ęs. But I respectfully disagree! Every time I read one of these works, I find something new and strange, something that taps into fears we might secretly harbor deep in our subconscious: fear of being driven to madness by guilt, fear of the unknown intruding upon our lives, fear of the past coming back to haunt us, or fear of children not being as innocent as they seem {I have this one, ha!}. If you're in the mood for a creepy read this week, here are a few of my dependable favorites:
  • Henry James' novella, "The Turn of the Screw" -- features really creepy kids!
  • Edgar Allen Poe's "Tell Tale Heart" or "The Fall of the House of Usher" -- he is the master of suspense.
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula -- this one is rife with terror: terror of foreigners, terror of sexuality, terror of modern technologies...
  • Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" -- one of my childhood favorites.
  • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein -- people are still horrified at the notion of science creating a more powerful version of humankind.
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" -- witches...scary. Puritan New England...even scarier!

How about you? Do you have any favorite scary reads? Any recommendations?


Anonymous said...

The Shining by Stephen King!

Stef said...

Ooh! I'll have to check out Turn Of The Screw.

I recently discovered that Lovecraft is awesome, and not the straight-up octopus pulp I thought it would be. Try The Shadow Over Innsbruck, The Colours From Outer Space, or The Dunwich Horror.

Incidentally, I had the rotten luck to catch part of a terrible modern movie version of The Dunwich Horror on SyFy last week. My god. It was a horror, all right, but not the kind they intended. Happy Halloween!

Sam said...

Fabulous scary reads here Tara! I've read "The Turn of the Screw" and "Drac" and Frank" and "The Tell tale heart" but the others I must explore!!! I don't have any scary books but the most scary film on the planet is "The Shining" by Kubrick. I see someone beat me to it above and recommended the book!

Maggie said...

I just finished reading my favorite Halloween short stories.
The Empty House by Algernon Blackwood-a classic haunted house story.
August Heat by W.F. Harvey-short and grim.
The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs-delightfully creepy.

{Tara} said...

Okie -- Can you believe I've never read it?

Stef-- I desperately need to make time to read some Lovecraft...I've been wanting to for ages!

Sam -- I also haven't seen the film! I think I've been living under a rock...

Maggie -- Oh, those sound fantastic; thanks for the recommendations!