So, I was sitting in the salon today getting my hair done when I realized something. Halloween in just a few days away, and I haven’t said a damn thing about it. It’s no secret that I love scary stories. I don’t review them all that much because I consider them a guilty pleasure (aka: I don’t want to admit – publicly – when I almost pee my pants) so I use Halloween as an excuse to throw out recommendations without having to justify character development or plot. This year is no different, with the exception of the list content. In the past I have just thrown out books I thought were creepy/scary/gory…this year, I’ve narrowed this list down to my Top 5 of ALL TIME. So sit back, take it all in, agree, disagree, and discuss! xoxo – Misty
Any book nerd out there can tell you that you can’t think of horror without thinking of it’s matriarch Stephen King. The two are like peanut butter and jelly, they just naturally go together. But with so many King novel’s to choose from (FYI – Insomnia is my favorite, in case you were curious) which one tops the charts? Easy…”The Shining.” Hell bent on distorting every childhood fear imaginable, (and then very successfully wrapping it up in one creepy ass bow) The Shining stands out as one of the scariest stories of all time. In fact, it’s so scary (and notable) that it became a pop-culture icon after making an appearance on the TV show Friends. (In which Joey sticks the book in the ice-box.) But what EXACTLY makes it so scary? Psychotic subconsciousness. “WTF does that mean?” Who the hell knows, it just sounded good. Short and sweet, there is nothing scarier than pint sized people that can see things you can’t. Feel like calling BS? Pick up a copy and tell me I’m wrong. I guarantee you, after a few chapters you will be searching for room in your ice-box too.
I have never finished a book and then felt the immediate need for prayer and repentance as I did when I finished Scott Nicholson’s “The Red Church.” (The first time.) Cracking into a Texas born fear (aka I grew up in the days of David Koresh) Nicholson takes religious fanaticism and kicks it in the face. (In the form of a half-eaten man, and a suicidal priest.) There are (when you get right down to it) two types of people in this world, the ones that believe in (a) God, and those that don’t. “The Red Church” exploits both. In technicolor. Much like King, you might think Nicholson has a few screws loose while reading this, but for some freakish reason (that I have yet to discover) it is impossible to put down. Maybe there is more to this cult thing than I originally assumed?
Ok, so you remember just a few minutes ago when I implied that Scott Nicholson might be a little crazy, he’s got nothing on me. Or…at least he doesn’t when it comes to the person I morph into when reading Mark Z. Danielewski’s novel “House of Leaves.” But first, a favor…please don’t tell my husband that I am talking about this book. I have purchased 3 copies of HOL, and each has subsequently been burned, trashed or has mysteriously disappeared before I have had a chance to finish it. Why? Because this novel makes my brain explode. Literally. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this book in person, take a second and click on THIS LINK. Insane right? And for someone as OCD as myself, it’s like mixing puzzles and then screaming GO! Add an incredibly creepy story (where the inside of a house is larger than the outside) on top of that, and I was literally writing on my walls, and nailing my windows shut. (No shit…ask hubs.) This book has been banned in my household. So has it’s musical accompaniment by Poe (who happens to be Mark’s sister) which is equally as creepy and I recommend you listen to in the dark, at an ungodly hour…when you are alone. But none of this really explains why it’s scary does it, more that I’m a complete loon, so let me explain…this book makes you look at thing differently. It challenges the norms, and let’s face it, there is nothing more terrifying than reality and the way you perceive it.
When I was little I was terrified of Peter Pan and his Lost Boys. The whole situation just seemed slightly out of whack to me. As I got older I naturally assumed I was past that irrational fear (though I’m still terrified of Oompa Loompas, and the old lady from The Wizard of Oz.) The moment I realized I wasn’t was when I was introduced to Joe Hill’s Christmasland in “NOS4A2.” A place where Christmas is all year long and the party never ends…because you can’t leave. Ever. The fact that the narrator in this novel is unclear as to whether or not she is actually insane (and spends the entire novel trying to convince you she isn’t) is just a cherry on top of the already creeptastic Mr. Manx (aka: Peter Pan with a wicked cool car) and his child abduction ring. That’s right…I said it…Mr. Manx should wear an ankle monitor and spend some time in cell block C. But I digress…let’s just say this book may have put me off of Christmas for a few years, which means…you should totally read it!
Add it to your Goodreads shelf / Find it on Amazon
And last but certainly not least Lindqvist’s “Let The Right One In” which is nothing more than a heart-warming tale of a bullied boy looking for a friend. Sounds sweet right? No…it’s a total F___ fest. (I’ll let you fill in that blank.) With the oddest mixture of sweet and psycho this vampire novel is sure to leave it’s mark. But not necessarily in the way you would assume. While it’s sure to have your knees trembling with it’s spectacular prose, (and gobs of gore) it’s the feeling you’re sure to get in the end that will freak you out. (Let’s just say you might favor the “monster” more than you would like to admit.) “Let The Right One In” might not be a traditional scare-fest like it’s predecessors on this list, but I assure you…it’s subtle stalker qualities will leave you reeling.