Did you read these horror books in Halloween?
A genre so intimidating yet fascinating that over centuries the human mind has adapted horror in its literature, films, and even culture.
While Halloween seems to over for the year, the spirit never truly does.
Here are a few classics you should check out this spooky season :
How often do you want to travel into the fictional worlds built by authors? Well, with this gem you only have to look outside your window. An extremely contagious strain of influenza is developed as a biological weapon in a secret U.S. Department of Defense laboratory in northern California, estimated to be 99% fatal. The situation seems familiar?
The novel is one of the greatest works of Stephen King, the man behind our favourite horror classics. While Carrie and It might have been crowd favourites, this pandemic seems like an ironic time for this book to shine through.
The first book of a legendary trilogy, Lilith’s Brood, this book serves profound conversation about race, gender, and species while still being science fiction. It can be classified as horror in a very unconventional manner as it delves into the psyche of the main character, Lilith Iyapo, and the emotional turmoil she faces while being captured by the Oankali, an alien species that has invaded an Earth, devastated and completely ruined by a nuclear war.
If you ever felt like mainstream science fiction books had unrealistic characters or were too whitewashed, this book might be your next favourite.
LORD OF THE FLIES
What do you get when you take some lads from wartime Britain and put them on an uninhabited island? The answer might be strange, scary, and even outright gruesome. Author William Golding answered these questions in his debut novel.
With the seven boys stuck on an island, learning to fend for themselves as well as function as a group for survival, the book offers some strong commentary on the thin lines between morality and immorality and the conflict of the human psyche between coordination and power. As these young boys run in the wild with their equally wild imaginations, things quickly go south as they ‘hunt; and ‘kill’ in the name of survival, power, and even later, insanity.
THE HAUNTING OF THE HILL HOUSE
If you look into a recipe for a cliche ‘ghost story’, you will see haunted houses among the top requirements. Author Shirley Jackson did the same and set out to write a horror story, revolving around a house while exploring, the faith in the supernatural, the terror experienced by the residents, and its effects.
She put extensive research into it, even making plans of the ‘Hill House’ with exterior rendering and the result was a classic gothic horror that is now regarded as one of the best horror books. As the protagonists try to figure out whether the house has some supernatural element to it, they explore their beliefs, which is a rollercoaster that ends in a crash.
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
This story is about two 13-year-old best friends, Jim Nightshade and William Halloway, and their nightmarish experience with a travelling carnival that comes to their Midwestern town in Illinois. As the friends learn to face their fear and transition from childhood to adulthood learning the difference between good and evil, they defeat Mr Dark, the carnival leader who holds to power to grant people their desires. The author includes heavy nostalgia for his hometown, including folktales from small-town America.
If you haven't already heard about or seen any adaptations of this novel, you have been living under a rock. One of Stephen King’s most famous novels, written in his prime-time as an author, explores the narrative of children losing their innocence. As the adult characters reminisce about their childhood experiences, King brings in his most powerful themes, the resonating echoes of childhood trauma into adulthood.
Starting with the iconic storm drain incident, the book is the journey of the Losers club, as they defeat Pennywise, a clown-spider-everything-you-fear cocktail ghost.
Clowns, Carnivals, and freak shows seem to be a different subgenre of horror. And with this novel, Katherine Dunn, takes the concept of ‘freak shows’ and makes it as gore as possible. The story of a travelling carnival run by Aloysius "Al" Binewski and his wife "Crystal" Lil, and their children, seen through the eyes of their daughter Olympia ("Oly") who writes the family history for her daughter Miranda.
When the business begins to fail, the couple devises an idea to breed their freak show, using various drugs and radioactive material to alter the genes of their children. The novel weaves two different periods together, following the same people as well as the same underlying themes of jealousy, parental affection and pride all wrapped in a grotesque freak show of a story.