Halloween Month is here! In honor of my favorite time of year, I’ve put together a list of creepy chillers you should totally read. This list will just be classics (don’t worry–there will be more lists to come!) Don’t let their age discourage you–these books are considered “classic” for a reason, so pick one up and start staying up past your bedtime!
As a quick aside, I won’t be talking about titles like Dracula, Frankenstein, or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, since those were already covered in other blog posts.
I still remember being completely transfixed the first time I read The Picture of Dorian Gray. This haunting story is absolutely amazing. Dorian Gray, young, innocent, but vain, makes a terrible promise–after realizing that his beautiful portrait will always maintain its youthful appearance, while he will continue to age, he offers up his soul if only the painting could age while he remains young. His wish comes true, and Dorian realizes that even the hideous marks of sin (hardness around the eyes, a cruel smile, etc.) will not mar his features. Meanwhile, the painting, which is hidden away in the attic, continues to change, as it reveals the hideous condition of Dorian’s corrupting soul.
Dr. Monague, a paranormal investigator looking for evidence of hauntings gathers together a team to investigate the mysterious activity at the old Hill House. He brings three others: his assistant Theodora; Eleanor, who has had encounters with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir to Hill House. At first, things seem merely “odd”. But, soon, the supernatural activities ramp up, and it becomes deadly apparent that there is someone or something in Hill House with them. And whatever it is, it has claimed one of their group as its own, and will stop at nothing to make sure that they stay there…forever. The Haunting of Hill House is a quick, claustrophobic, and deeply unsettling read. If you’re looking for something to really get under your skin this Halloween, then give this one a try.
Two friends, Jim and Will, one born a minute before midnight on October 30th and the other born one minute after midnight on October 31st, find themselves caught up in a terrible nightmare after the Cooger and Dark Carnival comes to town. It’s led by the terrifying Mr. Dark, a tattooed man who has a demonic hold over the rest of the carnival, and who has the ability to see into the deepest secret desires of the townsfolk, as well as the ability to grant their wishes–at a terrible, terrible cost. Ray Bradbury is, in this librarian’s humble opinion, at his very best in Something Wicked This Way Comes.
If you liked this book and want to read more about characters facing off against a demonic carnival, then check out Johannes Cabal: The Necromancer.
The Invisible Man is another short book for the busy reader. Griffin, a brilliant scientist discovers a way to turn himself invisible. But, tragedy strikes when he realizes that he has no way to turn himself back. To make matters worse, the serum he used has an unforeseen side-effect: madness. Now, there is a an invisible madman on the loose. How are the police supposed to stop a man they can’t even see?
If you enjoyed the book, this librarian highly recommends checking out the 1933 movie version, starring Claude Rains.
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . . And so begins this chilling tale by Daphne Du Maurier. The unnamed narrator of Rebecca tells the reader about how she met and instantly fell in love with the handsome widower Maxim DeWinter. When he proposes, of course she accepts, but soon comes to regret her impulsiveness as she finds that her new life was not quite what she had expected. The previous Mrs. DeWinter might have passed away, but her presence still haunts Maxim DeWinter and the household at Manderly.