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What's the scariest book you've ever read? / Recommend a scary book

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What's the scariest book you've ever read? / Recommend a scary book

Old 09-24-05, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by brainee
Which one? The Koontz book or the Stephen Laws one?
Stephen Laws.
Old 09-24-05, 12:04 PM
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I'm not sure if it was the scariest book I've ever read, but I really enjoyed Robert McCammon's Boy's Life. I'd also recommend The Dark Descent, an anthology edited by David G. Hartwell. It's got a good overview of the evolution of horror and several of my favorite short stories in it ("Evening Primrose" by John Collier, "Sticks" by Karl Edward Wagner, "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs" by Harlan Ellison, and "Good Country People" by Flannery O'Connor to name a few.)

I also second (third, fourth?) the opinion that Clive Barker's Books of Blood is a great read.

And thank you TScott--I put House of Leaves on reserve at the library.

Also, can anyone identify this story for me? I think it's by Poppy Z. Brite, and it was about 2 guys (musicians maybe) who get lost in a big city. Nothing in reality is scary, but from their freaked out point of view, it's terrifying--they see someone with cocoons in her hair in the subway and stumble on somebody selling organs out on the street just like typical street vendors sell CD's and other junk. I'm pretty sure it was in an anthology (maybe about zombies or the living dead--though that doesn't make sense since there were no zombies in it . . .) and that it isn't in Are you Loathsome Tonight (cause I wouldn't have sold my copy if it were).

Last edited by tasha99; 09-24-05 at 12:12 PM.
Old 09-24-05, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by boredsilly
I thought about getting that too for about 5 minutes and then I read some reviews and all and just knew that book would give me a massive headache. I wish I had the patience for that kind of book though as the premise sounds really cool and the people who "got" it seem to loved it.
that's actually what makes me want to read it...doesn't sound like something I can blow through in a weekend.
Old 09-24-05, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by tasha99
"Sticks" by Karl Edward Wagner
excellent choice. Sticks is one of my all time favorite short stories.
Old 09-25-05, 02:31 AM
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^ What is Sticks about?
Old 09-25-05, 04:03 PM
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Mrs Danger and I both like Sticks a lot. But neither one of us can describe what it's about. She said, "A general atmosphere of creepiness. Just read it, okay?"
Old 09-25-05, 06:16 PM
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Sticks is the creepy as hell tale of an artist that finds and abandoned house surrounded by lots of bizarre art made of Sticks. This leads to several other discoveries I won't go into. It's an atmospheric story that is hard to explain but is just a treat to read.
Old 09-26-05, 03:49 AM
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Sounds like something I'd enjoy. I'll try to hunt it down. Thanks, guys!

(Just don't tell Mrs. Danger I'm taking her advice.)
Old 09-26-05, 10:05 AM
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Probably the easiest place to find it would be in this anthology. Tales Of The Cthulu Mythos
Old 09-29-05, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ceeece
I think "Salem's Lot" was pretty scary. As well as his short story "Jerusalem's Lot". "Cycle of the Werewolf" was good too. Nice one sitting read.
For fans of Salem's Lot. Thought you'd like to know that it is being re-released this November as an Illustrated edition with roughly 50 pages reinstated:

Old 09-29-05, 11:12 AM
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Get ready for some more on-the-nose Dark Tower references...
Old 09-29-05, 06:59 PM
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Well, this thread has convinced me and after reading some other reviews, House of Leaves is ordered & it's on the way. I am completely intrigued.
Old 10-20-05, 07:13 PM
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I'm currently reading House of Leaves as a result of this thread. I'm about halfway through.. It is certainly interesting and unique. I'm not sure how scary it is. I am finding certain parts to be excellent and others to be extremely dry. I will say that the idea is pretty scary.
Old 10-27-05, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by brainee
Uh oh, the pressure's on my suggestion! I can't say "I hope you like it" about this book, because it really doesn't work that way. But if nothing else, TGND always seems to provoke a strong emotional response, and people who read it never forget about it.

Probably my only criticism of how Ketchum changed the story was (absolutely don't read what follows if you haven't read the book yet)...
Spoiler:
how David caused Ruth to fall down the stairs, killing her and exacting a measure of revenge. That bit didn't ring true -- as if Ketchum wanted to end on a slightly more positive emotional note. The true story's ending is much more disturbing and realistic. In real life, the woman (Gertrude) didn't get the death penalty, and actually made parole at a later date. She died of cancer a few years after her release, but it seemed like she should have been punished much more harshly, for perpetrating one of the most repellent crimes in our history.


Anyway, let me know what you think. I don't know if there's a Ketchum thread (or TGND) here -- searching always seems to be disabled when I'm on the site. I still have to track down all of his books -- the only other one I read was the collection "Peaceable Kingdom", which was outstanding in its own right. TGND is considered his best, but I've heard good things about his other true crime horror books, like "Off Season", "Red", and "Lost".
Well I just finished the book (it took a while to get here do to a shipping mix up) and...yeah. First I will say that technically I like Ketchum's writting style. Even with so many characters it was really easy to follow who was who and picture what was happening.

I'll spoilerize for safety.

Spoiler:


That story was very very raw and disturbing, but no so much that I had any issues finishing the story. I will say that I wouldn't have bought the players outside of maybe Ruth and Eddie if this wasn't based on a true story (which really is the most disturbing aspect of the book really). I was sitting there reading this and wondering how so many kids could be so fucking evil and anxious to cause Meg harm? I was thinking back to when I was younger and I know damn well I would have been terrified if I witnessed even the most tame aspect of TGND. So how was it that so many little eager psycho's managed to live on the same block? Then I'm also wondering how no one else on the block can hear the girl scream. But I think these were my reactions because I felt for Meg and hoped someone would save her.

I absolutely hated David in the beginning and then he turns into the hero, but was still ambiguous enough to lend the story a big of realness. He wasn't Captain America, and I liked that he wrote about it as an adult so that he could make judgement calls that he couldn't when he was younger. That was a really good choice by Ketchum. I just hated that he didn't say anything well after he saw things go to far.

I agree with you on Ruth's death. That didn't fit and made this read more like fiction than a journal of sorts. It stuck out like a sore thumb, so much so that I thought it was a dream sequence or something. I also wish we could have learned what happened to all the kids in the epilogue. Did they all remain sick fucks? God I hated them.

At times TGND did feel like I was reading porn though. Scene after scene after scene after scene of torture will do that. I mean once the torture started you knew everytime David went into that house you were in for another scene. Seperately they would seem like a sicko's power fantasy/pedophiles dream, but together they did serve a purpose to show how far gone Ruth was. This was the most trying aspect of the book. Lets beat her up, lets scold her in the shower, lets cut her with knives, lets starve her, lets shove things up in her, lets rape her...it got to be a bit much. Again that this was based on something true (no matter how loosely) is really what made me sick.

So I will say it wasn't an enjoyable read (wasn't suppossed to be) but it was very potent and I will certainly read more Ketchum in the future. Somehow I doubt I will be seeing TGND: The Motion Picture anytime soon. Thanks for the heads up on the book.


Last edited by boredsilly; 10-27-05 at 09:17 AM.
Old 11-02-05, 12:19 AM
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"I am Legend" is a pretty creepy read, and many of Joe R. Lansdale's books are just downright disturbing.
Old 11-02-05, 02:19 AM
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I know most the stories were made for kids but, the "Scary Stories" and "More Scary Stories" books (i think there were 3) by Alvin Schwartz pretty much ruined my childhood. Even now I still remember most of the stories. Even the illustrations were creepy. Eeek.

For those who may not remember,
http://www.icanread.com/coverimages/...0397319266.jpg
(they've done new reprints since I last remember)
Old 11-06-05, 10:47 AM
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Asian: I agree. The story about the kids who were mean to their mother still gives me the willies.

I've stopped reading "Scary" books but when I did read them I read a lot, and I mean A LOT, of Stephen King. My favorites of his are It and The Dark Half and the story of the woman lost in London in Nightmares & Dreamscapes is just great.

I never got into Dean Koontz / John Saul / etc.

Also, the first 30 pages of Jurassic Park are damn good.
Old 11-06-05, 09:53 PM
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I personally found Misery very scary...many of the scares may be ruined if you have seen the movie though...
Old 11-07-05, 08:18 AM
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Okay I was interested in getting salems lot and house of leaves, but there like 700 pages.

Any recommendations that are under 400 pages?
Old 11-07-05, 08:28 AM
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Lord... How about CYCLE OF THE WEREWOLF and CREEPSHOW?
Old 11-10-05, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Geofferson
For fans of Salem's Lot. Thought you'd like to know that it is being re-released this November as an Illustrated edition with roughly 50 pages reinstated:

Just a heads-up that this came out this week. I received my copy in the mail yesterday and it's a beautiful edition.
Old 11-17-05, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by madara
Your probably looking for blood and guts but I found koontz christopher snow series to be really creepy. Its one of few novels that remained me of when I use to sneak out of house at night, trying not to get caught by anyone and seeing alot of weird things.
If you're looking for something to remind you of when you used to sneak out of the house at night, try Richard Laymon's NIGHT IN THE LONESOME OCTOBER.
Old 11-17-05, 02:28 PM
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Reading through this thread inspired my to get and read "House of Leaves". I probably steered clear of it when it was new since the positive reviews were coming from the literary types and not horror fans. And I'm not really a big fan of experimental fiction (especially 700 page-long works). Well, it gets a big thumbs up me. Like an earlier poster said, HoL has a way of getting into your head and getting an emotional response. And the experimental nature of the book just heightened the effectiveness, rather than seeming like self-indulgent pretentiousness. Reviews on Amazon are predictably polar. I think a key to enjoying a book like this is to not approach it like a King or Koontz novel, but give in to the fiction of the story -- that you're going through the notes of Zampano as collected by Johnny Truant, and that the mental state of both narrators is not to be trusted.
Old 11-18-05, 08:16 AM
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Re: King and Koontz.

I have read almost everything King has ever published and I found It to probably be the scariest of the lot. It is far from my favorite of his, however. The short stories The Raft and The Mangler also scared the crap out of me when I first read them. Salem's Lot is, by far, my favorite novel of his and I am happy to see that a new edition of it is coming out. SL and The Stand are probably the only two that I re-read every couple of years. Oh, and The Dead Zone as well.

I have only read a handful of Koontz novels but part of Phantoms were pretty scary:

Spoiler:

Early on when the doctor and her little sister are exploring the town before the first deputies arrive and some of the first exploration after the deputies arrive. It stops being scary and just becomes mildly tense after that IMHO.


For the most part, however, his novels never cause that level of creepiness that some other authors' best work achieves.
Old 11-20-05, 07:25 AM
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Since most of my Favorite Stephen King stories are already memtioned here, here are some of my favorites that havent been mentioned so far: Stephen King's The Shining is pretty good. Among his short stories, I really liked The Raft, which incidentally was featured in the movie Creepshow 2.

You could also try some vintage horror writers like M.R. James and J.S. LeFanu.

M. R. James' Casting the runes creeped the heck out of me when I was a teen and still manages to send a chill up my spine when I read it as an adult.

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