Trying to come up with something to read for Halloween, I ran across this great article suggesting classic, old-fashioned horror books.
Like our favourite scary, B-movies (I’m thinking of The Blob, Night of the Living Dead and The Bat) classic horror stories are a great alternative to newly published, and high demand, books.
So, rather than waiting for your hold to come in, crossing your fingers that it arrives before Halloween, why not try some of these spooktacular classics? All of these books offer some spine-tingling suspense mixed with a bit of humour. And, if you can think of additional stories not listed here, please share!
The Haunting by Shirley Jackson
“Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion. Dr. Montgue, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of the psychic phenomenon called haunting. Theodora, his lovely and light-hearted assistant; Eleanor, a lonely, homeless girl well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the adventurous future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable noises and self-closing doors, but Hill House is gathering its powers and will soon choose one of them to make its own…”–Back cover.
Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon
Ned Constantine, his wife, Beth, and their teenage daughter, Kate, move to a seemingly bucolic little hamlet in New England called Cornwall Coombe. Ned had quit his job as an advertising executive in New York City and is now a professional artist, having established a studio in which to paint on his newly purchased property. In love with the three hundred year old house that they had unexpectedly been able to purchase, he and his family settled down to what he hoped would be a tranquil existence. Alas, this was not to be. The town’s very being revolved around ancient rituals dictated by the corn crop, and the town’s malignancy was becoming all too apparent to Ned. It was a feeling, however, that neither his wife nor daughter shared. Cornwall Coombe was a town seemingly controlled by the Widow Fortune, an old woman with a knack for healing. The town had a secret, and its insular townspeople were all in on it. Ned was determined to discover what that secret was, even if it were to his detriment. He ultimately finds that some secrets are best left undiscovered.
The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
“The Lottery, one of the most terrifying stories written in this century, created a sensation when it was first published in The New Yorker. “Power and haunting,” and “nights of unrest” were typical reader responses. This collection, the only one to appear during Shirley Jackson’s lifetime, unites “The Lottery:” with twenty-four equally unusual stories. Together they demonstrate Jackson’s remarkable range–from the hilarious to the truly horrible–and power as a storyteller.”–Back cover.
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
Set in Victorian England, Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor in London, is summoned to Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, and to sort through her papers before returning to London. It is here that Kipps first sees the woman in black and begins to gain an impression of the mystery surrounding her. From the funeral he travels to Eel Marsh House and sees the woman again, plus he also hears the terrifying sounds of adult and child passengers sinking into the quicksand on a pony and trap. Despite Kippss experiences he resolves to spend the night at the house and fulfil his professional duty. It is this night at Eel Marsh House that contains the greatest horror for Kipps. Rescued by Mr Daily, a friend he met on the train, Kipps discovers the reasons behind the hauntings at Eel Marsh House. The book ends with tragedy, with the woman in black exacting a final, terrible revenge.
Short stories that include works from authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Graves, Ray Bradbury, Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
And a few other classics:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney