This week: Horror That Keeps On Giving Edited by: W.D.Wilcox
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“This inhuman place makes human monsters.”
― Stephen King, The Shining
“Here is a list of terrible things,
The jaws of sharks, a vultures wings
The rabid bite of the dogs of war,
The voice of one who went before,
But most of all the mirror's gaze,
Which counts us out our numbered days.”
― Clive Barker, Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War
“If we stay where we are, where we're stuck, where we're comfortable and safe, we die there. We become like mushrooms, living in the dark, with poop up to our chins. If you want to know only what you already know, you're dying. You're saying: Leave me alone; I don't mind this little rathole. It's warm and dry. Really, it's fine.
When nothing new can get in, that's death. When oxygen can't find a way in, you die. But new is scary, and new can be disappointing, and confusing - we had this all figured out, and now we don't.
New is life.”
― Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers
“Ms. Fang is the nicest, sweetest teacher at Scary School. She only ate twelve kids last year.”
― Derek The Ghost, Scary School
|Horror That Keeps On Giving|
Aw, scary stories. Stories you can read over and over again and they still get to you, they still scare you. Here's a few classics that if you haven't read, you need to add to your Thanksgiving list.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
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. When Mary Shelley set out to write Frankenstein over two centuries ago, she said that she wanted to create a book that would “speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror — one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.” We can safely say that she succeeded.
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe (1838)
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym is a mixture of Moby Dick-esque maritime detail (it later inspired Herman Melville) and H.P. Lovecraft-style cosmic horror. The titular Pym stows away on the Grampus, a whaling ship headed for southern waters. But after mutiny breaks out on the upper deck, Pym is left stranded by one of his friends, only to face a series of gruesome situations once he’s retrieved.
The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe (1839)
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 The Fall of the House of Usher, a work of gothic fiction that centers on a spooky 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.
Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu (1872)
Before Dracula, there was Carmilla. This tale of a female vampire who attracts a lonely young girl served as the foundation for the “lesbian vampirism” trope (and, no doubt, inspired Bram Stoker to some extent as well). So fans of the emerging cult classic Jennifer’s Body, you’ve found your literary horror match.
Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)
Meet the most famous vampire of all time. Dracula was born out of Bram Stoker’s imagination over a century ago — yet he still lives on today in our collective consciousness. Dracula is his story, one in which he roams from Transylvania to England to spread the curse of the undead amongst innocents. More than a simple tale about vampirism, Dracula is an era-defining masterwork about sexuality, technology, superstition, and an ancient horror that’s too terrible for words.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898)
The Turn of the Screw is the original children of the damned! When a governess is hired to take care of Miles and Flora, the niece and nephew of a wealthy Englishman, she has no idea what she’s in for. As she discovers the tragic fate of her predecessor, she starts seeing things that can only be explained in one of two ways: either she’s mad… or the specter of the late governess wants her job back!
At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft (1936)
This post-Cthulhu novella by Lovecraft is so long and twisty that even Lovecraft himself couldn’t get it published at first. 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.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959)
You know how some people say that the setting is almost like another character in the story? Well, in the case of this spooky classic, that’s the literal truth. 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, The Haunting of Hill House is a must-read for any fan of the genre.
A Family Reunion Around The Christmas Dinner Table Takes A Strange Turn
#2021019 by Angus
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