A Horror Book That Scared The Socks Off Ya

mosquiter

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The Summer of Night by Dan Simmons- read it in my teens, I think I could read it again some time soon
 

Rodders

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The Summer of Night was a wonderful book.

Horror's not really my genre, but Salem's Lot and It by Stephen King are the two that really sent a chill down my spine when I read them. Rats by James Herbert used to scare me too, but only because rats are so close to home it's easy to imagine that they'd enjoy eating human flesh.
 

Cat's Cradle

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I thought The Summer of Night, by Simmons, was very good (though I found the sequel to be very average).

I have fallen in love with a few horror books this year (it's my favorite genre) ... ones I thought were beautifully written, and remarkably spooky. To me these were well-above average books; sometimes I discover an author whose other works I want to seek out; sometimes I find a book I know I will read again someday; the followings books are ones that fit both categories for me:

A Lush and Seething Hell - John Hornor Jacobs
Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones - Micah Dean Hicks
Those Across the River - Christopher Buehlman
The Sun Down Motel - Simone St. James

I agree with Salem's Lot, Pet Sematary and The Shining by King (I love SK). The Elementals by Michael McDowell is brilliant, IMO. Terrific thread. :)
 

Garfunkel

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I love horror, but I don't find it scares me too often. Although last night I dreamt I was the author in Misery and was being tormented in my own home, so maybe it affects me more than I realise...

I do remember Pet Sematary being deeply affecting - what a gut-wrenching read!
 

Rodders

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Hi Cat's Cradle, i didn't realise that The Summer of Night had a sequel. Can you remember the title, I'd love to pick it up?
 

Cat's Cradle

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Hi @Rodders! Yes indeed - it is named: A Winter Haunting, and follows (mainly) one of the children from the first book, as an adult. Here is an Amazon link (Amazon UK):


Although it's strange - at Amazon, it says A Winter Haunting was written in 2003, and Summer of Night was written in 2011...but it also clearly shows Summer of Night as book 1, and A Winter Haunting as book 2 in what Amazon is calling Dan Simmons' Seasons of Horror series. But having finished both, Summer of Night i definitely the one to read first. Hope I wasn't too confusing, CC :)

edit - I had read once, somewhere, that Simmons had planned a third book in the Seasons of Horror series, but it doesn't seem to have ever happened.
 

Randy M.

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That may be an edition date rather than a publication date. A quick online search shows Summer of Night first published in 1991.

I'm surprised to see I've only ever responded to other posters in this thread, never really offered a list of my own. So ...

"The Horla" by Guy de Maupassant: read this when I was quite young and found it's gradual build creepy and affecting

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: even after seeing the 1960s movie, there's very quiet scene in the novel that had me checking the corners of my night-time living room. Again, first read when I was in my teens.

Pet Semetary by Stephen King: If you've read it, you know the scene.

Ghost Story by Peter Straub: There's one scene in this that was replicated in the movie, as I recall, and was the only effective scene in the movie.

Someone above mentioned "The Frolic" by Thomas Ligotti. Seconded. I first read it shortly after the birth of my daughter and it raised the hairs on my neck. I should probably reread it now she's old enough to be a mom herself, see if it still affects me.


Randy M.
 

Phyrebrat

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The Elementals by Michael McDowell is brilliant, IMO

THANK YOU! I’ve been banging on about that book for an eternity.

Horror’s my favourite genre but it doesn’t scare me. I find it too ‘cool’. As a child I inhaled The Amityville Horror series and found it scary but I think a lot of that was because all over the tube and hoardings were the promo posters of the house with the eyes. They were scarier than the film because you imagined what’s going on.

The only time I ever was scared was reading the Bible because at the time I was brought up to be Christian and that the Bible was true. I terrified myself thinking even if I did good things I’d still go to Hell.

As a horror writer now 48 years old, I still get most of my inspiration from the Bible.

pH
 

Garfunkel

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I'm currently listening to Michael McDowell's Blackwater and it's great. I've a few more of his books lined up, including The Elementals, which I'm very excited for. It's amazing that such a talented author has become so unknown, but Valancourt Books have done an excellent job at making his books more readily available.
 
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Danny McG

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Not a book, a short story.
Ray Bradbury "Mars is Heaven" - one of his Martian Chronicles.

I read this aged about 12 or 13 and it absolutely terrified me, I didn't sleep right for months thinking about those aliens calmly waiting for you to fall asleep, while their features writhed about and kept morphing into Martian visages. *Shudders*
 

Toby Frost

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I'd nominate three Lovecraft stories: "The Whisperer in Darkness", which builds up very well and could be an X-Files episode, with its alien abductions and sinister surgery; "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", which has a great sense of evil closing in, and a surprisingly good action scene; and "The Picture in the House", which has this weird obsessive quality that's really quite uncomfortable. Clive Barker's Books of Blood are excellent: very gory, and frequently unsettling. "In the Hills, the Cities" and "Rawhead Rex" are particularly good. Also, I'd go for The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons, which is a kind of stripped-down ghost story and well worth a look.

I wonder if people find particular tropes especially frightening. I've always found half-understood messages very sinister, such as the sound recording in "The Whisperer in Darkness" and the occult drawings in The Dumas Club by Arturo Perez Reverte.
 

Cat's Cradle

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I agree that it's hard to find a book that actually has legitimate scares (as opposed to gross-out gore). I really like horror works that are unsettling to my sense of normalcy; or that disturb me in my safe little nest.

The Elementals is like that. I cannot think of another novel (and not just horror) that establishes ... then maintains ... then builds, page by page, an atmosphere as well, as thoroughly and as potently as this McDowell novel does. It's wonderful and disturbing - yay!

I'll add Hex, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, as another novel that has some very disturbing moments. A fine read.

Also, yay! for the Lovecraft mention above, by Toby. Many of the stories are terrifically disturbing. What an imagination he had. I've read At the Mountains of Madness every summer for the last six years or so, and it always kind of awes me.

@Garfunkel - if you enjoy Blackwater, you might fall hopelessly in love with The Elementals.

I wonder if anyone has read House Next Door, by Anne Rivers Siddons? I've seen it mentioned for many years as a forgotten horror classic. I've finally picked it up, and wonder if anyone has any thoughts on it. CC
 

Toby Frost

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I wonder if anyone has read House Next Door, by Anne Rivers Siddons? I've seen it mentioned for many years as a forgotten horror classic. I've finally picked it up, and wonder if anyone has any thoughts on it.

I wrote a review of it a while ago: The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons. It gets a good write-up in Stephen King's Danse Macabre (another really good book) and I think it's definitely worth a look.
 

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