Fright Reads for Halloween!

Halloween guest post from occasional blog contributor and avid reader Judith Orlowski.

When it gets to be mid October, my thoughts turn to the scary.  

As soon as I hang up the mutant skeleton on the front door - mutant because over the years, some of his bones have mysteriously disappeared making him (Bob I call him) a freak with one foot on a tibia-only leg and no foot on the full length leg - I start re-reading my fave creepy books.  Nothing satisfies like reading at night by a small light, sleepy and yet afraid to turn off the lamp.  

Begin with the classics. Monsters that scare the crap out of me, means starting with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  The prose is beautifully creepy and probes what makes us humans in search of immortality - as a vampire, or one of the first zombies created by Dr Frankenstein.  You can't die if you aren't really alive, right?

Then there are the modern classics.  

Maybe you like demons and possession?  Read William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist, Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby or Tryon (The Other, Harvest Home)  Brilliantly plotted, they've put me off certain foods thanks to the equally scary movies - Linda Blair ruined me for pea soup, Mia Farrow for rare meat, and don't get me started on red wine, Mr Tryon.  Gross!

The prolific:
-- Shirley Jackson excels at simple spooky stories with a twist.  The Lottery is quaint but horrifying. The Haunting of Hill House invented the lock-em-in/kill-em-off-one-by-one grisly genre.  
-- Stephen King -  If you weren't creeped out by clowns before, read IT and research serial killer John Wayne Gacy.  Rainbow wigs on cute trick-or-treaters will set you to cowering.

Finally, there's the horror of the loss of humanity or sanity.  
--Cormac McCarthy's The Road left a lasting impression that has been revisited in AMC's Walking Dead.  
--Human lunch meat is a trope of Thomas Harris' malevolent genius Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs.
--Charles Dickens showed us the horror of madness with Miss Havisham in Great Expectations.  Nobody wants to say yes to that dress!  

Get yourself some light bulbs, a box of saltines for the nausea, and settle down to seriously frightening reads that will take you from Halloween through year end.  Enjoy!

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