9 Of The Creepiest Novels To Read Before Halloween
The Halloween countdown has officially begun. Haunted houses and costume shops are popping up all over town, pumpkins are decorating apartment stoops and your favorite coffee drinks. Orange and purple lights glow from windows, fake spiderwebs accompany front doors, and an excessive amount of halloween candy is at the ready. If you're like me, you're more than excited to take a quick break from Halloween decorating to read some of the spookiest books ever written.
The feeling of soaring adrenaline mixed with complete fear while reading a book makes is an unparalleled experience. Although there's no eerie music playing and there aren't any high-pitched screams in the background like there is when you're watching a film, if the author can write horror well, silence and page-turning suddenly doesn't feel as relaxing anymore.
Stephen King may dominate the horror genre, but there are definitely other names to look for, too. I've compiled a list of some of the creepiest books ever written. Whether you're a fan of blood and guts or psychological thrillers, make sure to turn on all your lights because these books will have you quivering at a pin-drop.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
This is not your average haunted house story that includes a bunch of brainless teenagers who don’t know how to stay quiet or run away from murderers. No, this book is by far one of the creepiest and best haunted house stories of all time. The Haunting of Hill House is the story of Eleanor Vance who receives an invitation to an old, gothic mansion for a supernatural gathering that Dr. John Montague has arranged. She attends without knowing just how much the supernatural is attracted to her. Shirley Jackson fuses humor with horror so well you’ll be rooting for and laughing with her characters the entire time.
The Shining by Stephen King
I grew up with a horror movie enthusiast as an uncle, and watched this film as an absolutely terrified 7-year-old. A couple years later, I read The Shining and realized just how terrified I had yet to be. This is the story of Jack Torrance and his family starting over at the Overlook Hotel during a brutal Colorado winter. Jack, a recovering alcoholic with a haunted past is influenced by the envious supernatural powers of the hotel. Meanwhile, his son Danny has the power to see what's going on. Trapped in the isolated mountains, all hell breaks loose in one of King's best books.
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
What makes a psycho truly terrifying? In American Psycho, this question is answered with one word: seduction. Patrick Bateman is able to claim any victim with his persona. He's also able to talk himself out of anything and look like any average guy. Every page turn is a spine-chilling experience, and will have you second guessing every stranger you meet from now on.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
OK — I know what you're going to say. This is classified as thriller, not horror. And you're right. However, it's absolutely, completely terrifying. This is Flynn's first book, and her extreme talent at leaving her readers guessing until the very last page started here. Sharp Objects focuses on Camille Preaker, a news reporter fresh from the psych ward. When Camille is forced to visit her hometown on business, her haunting past is resurrected through her hypochondriac mother, creepy stepsister, and a death swarming the town. I promise you'll have nightmares for days after finishing this book.
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
This book won't have you gasping or looking over your shoulder every other minute, but it will have you horrified at how messed up this dystopian society is. When a cult takes over the U.S., women are stripped of their rights (including reading!) and if they're still fertile, they're used as birth-vessels. Offred, a woman who once had a normal life with a husband, child, and job is now forced to be a Handmaid and reproduce with the Commander. Margaret Atwood created a futuristic world set in reality in The Handmaid's Tale that's forever creepy.
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Like I mentioned earlier, possessed or supernaturally effected children are naturally scary, especially Regan — an 11-year-old girl possessed with a demon who makes her swear like a pirate and projectile vomit on everything and everyone. Her mother, and a group of determined adults do their best to cleanse Regan of this demon, but demons never leave easily. If you've seen the film adaptation then you'll remember just how spooky this story is.
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
The Shining Girls is about Harper Curtis, a time-traveling serial killer whose actions are controlled by a haunted house. One of his victims named Kriby Mazrachi survives and will stop at nothing from tracking Harper down in this gory and twisted novel. Lauren Beukes will astound you with her masterful and haunting words.
Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin
This classic, which is now a mini-series on NBC, is a book to pick up every Halloween. When Rosemary and her husband move to New York City, strange events begin to unfold. Rosemary wakes up one day to find herself pregnant, followed by the fact that her husband sold her soul to the devil. Eventually, Rosemary can't tell the difference between reality and fantasy in this twisted, horrifying story. As a woman, this is about as creepy as it can get.
Turn of the Screw by Henry James
This list wouldn't be complete without one of the most gripping ghost stories of all time. Told through different generations over a hundred years, each character has a story to add. With immoral and creepy children, a governess seeing ghosts, and a haunted house, The Turn of the Screw won't disappoint in scaring you.
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