We decided again to take a short detour from our regular posts of public domain scary stories to list some of our favorites. These are the books and short stories we tend to re-read every Halloween season — or every time we want to scare ourselves silly. The one common theme we found with each of these books (and yes, the one collection of short stories and poems) is that they let our imaginations run wild. That is the mark of a great horror story in my opinion. It puts the reader in a situation that touches some core of familiarity, whether that be the reader’s faith or love of animals or family or the fear of being alone. From there, the prose tickles and teases our imagination until we feel we are a part of the book and the lights must stay on to keep the boogeyman at bay.
So, here are our ten favorite scary reads presented in no particular order. What are yours?
1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959).
2. I am Legend by Richard Matheson (1954).
3. The Road to Madness by H. P. Lovecraft
4. The Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
5. Dracula by Bram Stoker
6. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
7. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
8. It by Stephen King — personal note here, I always knew clowns were scary. This book proved it!
9. The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
10. Ghost Story by Peter Straub and The Shining by Stephen King
Okay, so we named 11 books. It’s just so hard when there are so many great spooky books out there. What are your favorites?