Horror Fiction: Recommendations & Favorites

Fanari_Lloyd

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I don’t know if there is a thread anywhere about ‘best’ horror stories? I read three of Stephen King’s last year (Pet Semetary, Salem’s Lot and the Stand) as it occurred to me I hadn’t read him and everyone else seemed to have. I’m just not sure what to make of them really. I thought the stories were interesting, but the characters pallid. Pet Semetary disturbed me, bit they all seemed a huge amount of build up only to sort of fizzle out. I wouldn’t rate him as a brilliant writer, but he’s richer than God so must be doing something right!

However, I’ve not read a book that actually made me terrified. Sickened, disturbed, yes, but not horrified as in ‘Horror’. Anyone?
 

Nosmo King

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I don’t know if there is a thread anywhere about ‘best’ horror stories? I read three of Stephen King’s last year (Pet Semetary, Salem’s Lot and the Stand) as it occurred to me I hadn’t read him and everyone else seemed to have. I’m just not sure what to make of them really. I thought the stories were interesting, but the characters pallid. Pet Semetary disturbed me, bit they all seemed a huge amount of build up only to sort of fizzle out. I wouldn’t rate him as a brilliant writer, but he’s richer than God so must be doing something right!

However, I’ve not read a book that actually made me terrified. Sickened, disturbed, yes, but not horrified as in ‘Horror’. Anyone?
'The Stand' is the only King book i have read, i thought ot was pretty good and for its length didnt drag too much, im not really a horror reader, so no, ive not read anything truely horrific, some true crime books are pretty disturbing and shocking, i think horror is very subjective, if you are scared of clowns, then i would imagine you would find 'IT' horrifying, or scared of rats, then the same with 'The Rats', so if ypu find a book with the subject you fear you can probably be horrified, but as you have that fear it is unlikely you will read a book that plays into that phobia.
 

Bigphoot2

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I don’t know if there is a thread anywhere about ‘best’ horror stories? I read three of Stephen King’s last year (Pet Semetary, Salem’s Lot and the Stand) as it occurred to me I hadn’t read him and everyone else seemed to have. I’m just not sure what to make of them really. I thought the stories were interesting, but the characters pallid. Pet Semetary disturbed me, bit they all seemed a huge amount of build up only to sort of fizzle out. I wouldn’t rate him as a brilliant writer, but he’s richer than God so must be doing something right!

However, I’ve not read a book that actually made me terrified. Sickened, disturbed, yes, but not horrified as in ‘Horror’. Anyone?
One I read recently that sent a few shivers up the spine was Dark Matter by Michelle Paver - probably the wrong time of year to read it though, it's a book for a dark winter night.
 

Fanari_Lloyd

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One I read recently that sent a few shivers up the spine was Dark Matter by Michelle Paver - probably the wrong time of year to read it though, it's a book for a dark winter night.
Thank you! I can put it on a ‘To Read’ mental list. I know what you mean though, some stories are more suited to when the nights draw in.
 

Zeke Newbold

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I don’t know if there is a thread anywhere about ‘best’ horror stories? I read three of Stephen King’s last year (Pet Semetary, Salem’s Lot and the Stand) as it occurred to me I hadn’t read him and everyone else seemed to have. I’m just not sure what to make of them really. I thought the stories were interesting, but the characters pallid. Pet Semetary disturbed me, bit they all seemed a huge amount of build up only to sort of fizzle out. I wouldn’t rate him as a brilliant writer, but he’s richer than God so must be doing something right!

However, I’ve not read a book that actually made me terrified. Sickened, disturbed, yes, but not horrified as in ‘Horror’. Anyone?

Not quite `horified`, but reading The Son of the Endless Night by John Farris when I was in my late Twenties( and the novel,was still recent) actually shook me. Some of the sequences in this Exorcist-like demonological thriller -and not the obvious ones - left me shocked and disturbed even after I had long put the book down. Nothing else in this genre has had such an effect (although it is by no means a favourite of mine).

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/147589.Son_of_the_Endless_Night

I am not religious in any meaningful sense and don't (really) believe in demonic possession and such like - so Souleater's point above doesn't really apply here.

Generally, I - and I suspect most other connoiseurs of the genre -don't read `Horror` to be horrified - in fact we are loooking for a more subtle but more pervasive sensation - an atmospheric eeriness. This can, in fact, be quite comforting in many ways.
 

Fanari_Lloyd

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Generally, I - and I suspect most other connoiseurs of the genre -don't read `Horror` to be horrified - in fact we are loooking for a more subtle but more pervasive sensation - an atmospheric eeriness. This can, in fact, be quite comforting in many ways.
Yes, this. I’m not much for excessive gore which can be horrifying (mileage may vary) and certain things that have terrified me in books of movies are far more subtle.
 

Coastaljames

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I'm old school -

HP Lovecraft
Algernon Blackwood
Clark Ashton Smith
Arthur Machen
Ambrose Bierce
Eddie Poe
Lord Dunsany
M.R James
Guy de Maupassant (for me, the genuinely scariest)

Modern? Clive Barker.
 

Bigphoot2

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Yes, this. I’m not much for excessive gore which can be horrifying (mileage may vary) and certain things that have terrified me in books of movies are far more subtle.
I found the line from The Haunting of Hill House “God! Whose hand was I holding?” a lot more frightening and unsettling than a long description of some gory act.

 

SimonBurchell

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Well, the 1963 version, is the scariest film I've ever seen.

No blood, no monsters, no phantoms.
I agree, if it's the one I'm thinking of (pounding on the walls, terrified lady on the bed) - if I am thinking of the right film, it is certainly one of the most frightening I have seen, for pure atmosphere!
 

MercuryCrest

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"Equoid" by Charles Stross is horrific in its implications. Though I really enjoyed the first 6 of his Laundry Files novels, that one novella kinda takes the cake. Ever wonder what makes a unicorn?
 

Fanari_Lloyd

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I remember my nan telling me many years ago that she had challenged her very sceptical brother to read a certain ghost story then spent ten minutes sitting on his own in a dark room. By her own words, the story terrified her (and she’d lived in a house that was haunted).

Her brother had even gone (sceptically) to a seance where a table apparently floated up and pinned in against the wall with no hands touching it, and still wasn’t afraid, or so he said after. (Well, he would!)

Anyway, he couldn’t do the thing. He was out in under 5 minutes, to nan’s great delight.

It must have been an old book, maybe pre 1940’s. Nan said it was the only story she’d ever read that frightened her. The names so far listed don’t ring any bells, as even though it was long ago I’d think I would remember James or Poe or Lovecraft as she would have said. There may or may not have been a nun in it, or I might be conflating that with a different conversation I had with her about ghosts. Still, I’ve always wanted to read the only ghost story that frightened my nan!
 

escargot

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I remember my nan telling me many years ago that she had challenged her very sceptical brother to read a certain ghost story then spent ten minutes sitting on his own in a dark room. By her own words, the story terrified her (and she’d lived in a house that was haunted).

Her brother had even gone (sceptically) to a seance where a table apparently floated up and pinned in against the wall with no hands touching it, and still wasn’t afraid, or so he said after. (Well, he would!)

Anyway, he couldn’t do the thing. He was out in under 5 minutes, to nan’s great delight.

It must have been an old book, maybe pre 1940’s. Nan said it was the only story she’d ever read that frightened her. The names so far listed don’t ring any bells, as even though it was long ago I’d think I would remember James or Poe or Lovecraft as she would have said. There may or may not have been a nun in it, or I might be conflating that with a different conversation I had with her about ghosts. Still, I’ve always wanted to read the only ghost story that frightened my nan!
Sounds like a short story then, not a novel? Pre 1940s.

Y'know, the Library Angel will come along any minute now and help you out. ;)
 

escargot

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I will admit right now that I read paper books. I don't like ebooks as I don't particularly like reading from a screen.
I thought that until I had a Kindle. My slight dyslexia is defeated by screens so I can read from them perfectly well! :cool:

Dunno why this is the case but I'm not complaining.
 

escargot

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By her own words, the story terrified her (and she’d lived in a house that was haunted).

Her brother had even gone (sceptically) to a seance where a table apparently floated up and pinned in against the wall with no hands touching it, and still wasn’t afraid, or so he said after. (Well, he would!)

'old on, 'old on - what 'ave we 'ere?

I'll tell you what we 'ave. Retained anecdotes, that's what we 'ave.

And we don't like it! :omr:

:wink2:
 

Fanari_Lloyd

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'old on, 'old on - what 'ave we 'ere?

I'll tell you what we 'ave. Retained anecdotes, that's what we 'ave.

And we don't like it! :omr:
I have written about it somewhere, Escargot honest! (And only last year, I think) I’ll try and find it. She and my gramps rented a house near Bristol in the war years which was haunted.
 

Fanari_Lloyd

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Unhappy Houses and Odd Happenings

Page 10, 4 up from the bottom.

She didn’t think the place was haunted, but my grandfather apparently did. Probably didn’t want to say too much as he was quite often out on firefighting duty at night and she was on her own with the babies.

She stayed in one place that she definitely thought was haunted and around the same sort of time. I don’t know what they called them then, but like a maternity hospital solely for mothers to go and have babies, on the border of south Wales, big white place up a hill, she pointed it out to me once.
 
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