We know there are many of you out there who enjoy watching scary movies, but we're here today to talk about the unforgiving horror of reading a truly scary book.
Sure, it might be incredibly creepy to watch scenes from a film, but we can't think of anything more terrifying than reading paragraph after paragraph of scary scenes described in detail in the pages of a book.
We asked some of our well-read horror fans for their top Halloween book picks.
Read on... if you dare!
by Dan Simmons
Because: It's based on actual events from the 1840s, but it's been given a fictional (probably but who knows for sure?) twist by the author. Two boatloads of explorer types head out to find the famed Northwest Passage. They get caught in the ice after some poorly-made decisions, and in creeps the cold, the fear, and the lack of food. Add one giant stalking monster lurking out in the ice and snow, and you've got one hell of a slow-burner horror novel. The viewpoint switches between characters, so you never have the feeling that anyone you life is safe at any point. It's a chunky book, around the 750-page mark, but worth the investment.
House of Leaves
by Mark Z. Danielewski
Because: I picked this for the genuine dread/what’s coming next, un-put-down-able but still chilling to the bone, kind of feeling you get while reading it.
by Stephen King
Because: This is the only book to ever give me nightmares. Interestingly, though, it was Rachel's sister Zelda that gave me the nightmares. When re-reading it these days, I will instantly skip over those sections.Gage Creed should go down as one of the creepiest horror villains of all time. Children are creepy enough without making them zombies. This is one of the only books that King has said he didn't really want to publish due to the content; even he thought he had pushed it too far!
by William Peter Blatty
Because: I never read it but apparently my dad get scared enough while reading it that he threw the book across the room.
by Scott Smith
Because: Some people talk about writing getting under their skin, but this book manages that while also actually being about plants literally
getting under skin. Scott Smith turned to horror for his second novel and came up with a simple and horrifying premise. A bunch of twenty-somethings are trapped on top of a vine-covered Mayan pyramid. If they try to go down the pyramid, the locals will kill them. If they stay, the vines will try to devour them (in some of the most graphic and skin-shredding ways possible). It was great atmospheric and disturbing horror from a seriously under-appreciated author.
The Stranger Beside Me
by Ann Rule
Because: This book was very unsettling. It's true crime from Rule, who worked with Ted Bundy and considered him a friend while he had a secret double life as a serial killer. She initially believes him while he protests his innocense, although later understands she's been taken in by a master manipulator. It's the type of book that makes you question what you know about the people in your life.
by Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft
Because: This one is a graphic novel, but that still counts, right? It's set in the early 1900s and is the story of a runaway boy and his friend who meet a travelling salesman (a salesman who of course is not all he seems to be). It's slightly over the top in the way that some classic horror tends to be, and fits into the creepshow/tales from the crypt side of the genre. The villain is the classic wolf in sheep's clothing, but there are still some great twists throughout. Also, the artwork matches the story brilliantly. It's dirty and rough with muted colours, and each panel is carefully constructed.
172 Hours on the Moon
by Johan Harstad
Because: Imagine a horror film and a sci-fi film met each other at a bar one night, fell in love, and had a baby. This is their baby. Forty years after man first walked on the moon, NASA has hit a bit of a slump. To boost their public profile (and maybe pick up some extra funding), they announce a lottery for three lucky teenagers to go to the moon. Mia, Midori, and Antoine are the lucky ones... or are they? The travellers are being stalked, but when you're in trouble on the moon, no one can hear your screams.
The Woman in Black
by Susan Hill
Because: Every good list needs a ghost story, right? And this is truly one of the best ones. This one kept me gripped and utterly horrified until the final scene.