I spend every October evening sipping locally brewed Oktoberfest beer while either watching a horror flick with one eye open or tepidly thumbing through a spooky story. This time of year is my excuse to indulge in a love of candy apples, spirits (liquid ones, that is) and all things horror related. Call me crazy, but I enjoy being scared. I enjoy the rush of blood hitting my face after an unpredictable jump-scare, and the pounding of my heart when I feel trapped alongside the protagonist in a gripping tale. Books, in particular, make the dead come alive for me by stimulating the imagination in a way video media cannot and is why they are my favorite medium to delve into. While my indulgences into the macabre often result in sleepless nights, especially when they are presented in written form, there’s just something about horror, fear, that makes me feel alive.
Below you’ll find a short list and preview (ordered by least favorite to favorite & no spoilers!) of horror stories that kept me up at night (some still do) and revitalized my fear of death. Know that this was a hard list to make because there are so many good stories out there!
A presence dwells within the walls of Hill House. Is it real? An intriguing but explainable phenomena? Or something imagined by a mind losing its grip on reality? The house’s caretakers refuse to stay on the property at night and believe something beyond comprehension resides behind the trap doors and hidden rooms. Strange smells, sounds of screams from behind thick walls, shifts in temperature and air pressure only scratch the surface of what one might experience during a stay at Hill House. Each hallway walked and every corner turned might bring its guests face to face with an otherworldly entity. Best proceed with caution as confronting it may trap its visitors in the house along with it.
Favorite Quote: “To learn what we fear is to learn who we are. Horror defies our boundaries and illuminates our souls.”
Neighbors, to me, are naturally creepy. There always seems to be some mystery associated with their existence. What is it they want? Why do they show such interest in my life? Can they be trusted? What are they hiding behind those thick curtains and that tall fence of theirs? These are all questions I’m sure everyone has asked at some point of their lives. Rosemary, too, had her suspicions about her suspiciously friendly neighbors and how eager they were to assist her throughout her pregnancy. They were too kind, too helpful, too concerned—intrusive, yet her husband wrote them off as an old couple with nothing better to do. Why did none of them flinch when Rosemary said her baby kicks like a demon?
Favorite Quote: “Like so many unhappinesses, this one had begun with silence in the place of honest open talk.”
Taking a step away from society can be beneficial. A few months of isolation in an abandoned hotel can help keep the mind clear and alleviate stress. Too much seclusion, however, can send a bored recovering alcoholic into relapse and push a man over the ledge of sanity and into a pit madness. That, along with a young son who reports seeing things that others cannot. And those things occupying the rooms and halls are not kind. Blocked in by several feet of snow, escape is unlikely, and with no one else around, nothing but ghosts can hear the screams of those trapped inside.
Favorite Quote: “The world’s a hard place, Danny. It don’t care. It don’t hate you and me, but it don’t love us, either. Terrible things happen in the world, and they’re things no one can explain. Good people die in bad, painful ways and leave the folks that love them all alone. Sometimes it seems like it’s only the bad people who stay healthy and prosper. The world don’t love you, but your momma does and so do I.”
Minutes after landing, a Boeing 777 stops dead on the tarmac at JFK airport in New York City. All window shades have been pulled down, cabin lights and headlights are turned off, there’s no sign of movement, and radio contact cannot be established. All other flights are grounded and the CDC has been called in to investigate. Our hero, Ephraim Goodweather, head of a biological threat response team known as the “Canary Project,” must board the plane to determine what is going on. What he finds in the darkness may result in the extermination of mankind.
Favorite Quote: “Every mundanity of life grows infinitely more precious in the face of impending death.”
I’m not religious anymore, but fear of God and the Devil is not easy to shake. This book stuck with me. The well-described atmosphere, terrifying imagery, relatable characters and the realistic depiction of supernatural experiences made me feel as if I were in the book; standing in the cold room of the demon, confronting evil armed with nothing but a cross and holy water, both rendered useless because the wielder is absent of faith. When the demon spoke to the priest, it felt like it were addressing me. Having known I don’t believe, it carried on and I stood their powerless to do anything about its presence within the little girl.
I wrote a review about this one which you can find by clicking here.
Favorite Quote: “We mourn the blossoms of May because they are to whither; but we know that May is one day to have its revenge upon November, by the revolution of that solemn circle which never stops—which teaches us in our height of hope, ever to be sober, and in our depth of desolation, never to despair.”
Before You Go!
What are your favorite horror books/stories? If you’re not a reader, what about your favorite movie? Be sure to let us know in the ‘Comments’ section below!
Also, if you enjoyed what I said here you may enjoy my book! What could be scarier than the Devil going toe-to-toe with God? Check out the links below for more information!
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Synopsis: God vs. Devil, Good vs. Evil—Who Will Win the Battle for the Souls of Mankind?
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You’ve Heard God’s Side of the Story. Time to Hear Mine!