Its often said that Stephen King can make anything scary. Clowns. Dogs. Your next door neighbor. The master of horror can twist and weave his way into your psychosis with but a few words on the page. And seeing how its Halloween, let’s revisit King’s novels and take a look at his library to get spooked once again. Here are a few of King’s scariest works, best read after dark.
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Miserydoesn’t have goblins, ghosts, or ghouls, but its horror is more frightening because its horror is based in reality. A chilling look at fandom gone wrong, this book tells the tale of what happens when a work of fiction becomes too much of an obsession. Writer Paul Sheldon suffers an accident during a snowstorm and is rescued by Annie Wilkes. Although seemingly sweet at first, Annie reveals she’s quite insane and is not happy with Paul for the ending of his last book, where her favorite character got killed off. So Annie takes Paul hostage and forces him to rewrite the book. A disturbing portrait of the more psychological variety, this one is also a disturbingly accurate showcasing of an obsessed fan that goes too far that rings even more true today.
4. ‘Night Shift’
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Night Shift is an anthology of short stories that contain some of King’s best and scariest works. Included in this collection are Graveyard Shift, where a group of men investigate the abandoned basement of a steel mill and find it infested with giant rats. Quitters Inc. showcases a hapless smoker who will do anything to stop his addiction. The Mangler is all about an industrial laundry machine that gets possessed by a demon and how it violently kills those who come into contact with it. What are the rest? You’ll have to crack it open and see for yourself, if you dare.
3. ‘Salem’s Lot’
image via tor.com
Salem’s Lotis a chilling novel about vampires invading a small, sleepy little town with a lot of dark secrets. Full of genuinely horrifying imagery, lots of gore, violence, and very frightening vampires, this novel is not for the faint of heart but is sure to please any fans of the children of the night.
2. ‘Durma Key’
image via amazon
Durma Keyis a lesser known Stephen King work but its just as gripping and scary as any mainstream novel. A scary, psychological story, we aren’t going to spoil anything of this one but its scary the same way Misery is. Its about the perils of creativity, the mysteries of one’s past, and with a touch of supernatural to add some spice, this one is one that should be read by more people.
1. ‘Pet Sematary’
imge via amazon
This is it. Pet Semataryis probably King’s scariest work. King himself almost didn’t finish it because of how upset it made him. Drawing inspiration from a relief life incident where King saved his young son from being struck by a truck, King spun this tale out of his own fears and it certainly shows. When a father’s son is hit by a truck, he buries him in a cursed burial ground that brings the dead back. Having already done this with his cat, the cat comes back meaner and seemingly undead. And when his son comes back, things take a turn for the absolute worst. Riveting, utterly terrifying, and full of frightening imagery, this book will linger with you in ways a book often doesn’t.
Stephen King once said, “Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life,” which is a little strange seeing as he has starred in commercials.
Oh well. Books are better, but these commercials starring the King himself are still gold.
5-Creepshow TV Spot
Teaming up with the master of zombies, George Romero, Stephen King makes his screenwriting debut in this 1982 horror comedy anthology, Creepshow. With five stories, plus a prologue and epilogue, this film features a whole host of stars.
Heads up! Stephen King appears in “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verill” as Jordy Verrill himself.
Check out the trailer below! Can you spot the King of horror in this movie directed by the king of zombies?
Stephen King says we should go to our local libraries. They have many things, like music, televisions, computers, and books. It’s a timeless message, although their many extraneous features might not be so ‘unique’ anymore.
By the by, this commercial seems it might be setting up the premise for his next book, ‘Scary Author Lives in the Library and Makes Weird Faces at People’.
3-BOO! says the Ghost Writer
Sports Center advertises, but here they pull back the curtain and reveal their ‘ghost writer.’ He’s not an actual ghost, he’s Stephen King!
Please don’t be a ghost, your highness Mr. King. Sports Center was wrong, we need players with telekinetic powers.
2-“I just wanted someone to do stephen king right”
Here’s a commercial for an adaptation that he directed. It’s the first, and only film, he’s ever directed. As King himself said, he was on cocaine. In Hollywood’s Stephen King, King says he was “coked out of [his] mind all through its production, and [he] really didn’t know what [he] was doing.”
Well, in the commercial he says that Maximum Overdrive, “It was my first picture as a director, and you know something? I sort of enjoyed it!”
This movie caused the cinematographer to go blind in his right eye.
1-The Horror! I lost my American Express card!
This commercial… has nothing to do with a book. It’s just how he really likes American Express. The most unnerving part about this commercial is how Stephen King takes it so seriously and the narrator is just a normal commercial narrator.
Are you a writer looking for a scenic space to focus in on your work? Or perhaps you’re just looking for some spooky sight-seeing opportunities? Well, look no further!
If you are a scholar or a researcher you will soon be able to cruise through Stephen King’s own mansion located in Bangor, Maine.
Image via Flickr
The mansion itself is a sight to see even without knowledge of its previous tenets, as the gates are decorated with spiderwebs and winged creatures, making it appear as if the home sprouted straight out of a scary story.
The horror author himself is unlikely to be present, stating that the home is meant to serve as both a retreat and an archive themed around King’s many works.
Rolling Stone reported that on October 16th King and his wife, Tabitha, received approval from the Bangor City Council to rezone their home as a non-profit. The mansion itself will function as a display of sorts, while the guest house behind the mansion will serve as a quiet retreat that can be used by up to five writers at a time.
Image via Pride
The Bangor City Council voted unanimously in favor of this change, as the house had already been attracting tourists. Tourism has been especially amped up in recent years with the success of the It movies, based on King’s work by the same name. Derry, the town where Pennywise wreaks havoc, is based on Bangor (at least aesthetically, I can’t personally prove that Bangor is full of blood-thirsty clowns).
King, along with city officials, hope that this change will be a way to better organize the attention that the site has already attracted.
Bangor, Maine/Image via The Crazy Tourist
However, fans should be aware that entry beyond the home’s wrought iron gates is fairly exclusive. On Facebook, King stated:
“The archives formerly held at the University of Maine will be accessible for restricted visits by appointment only. There will not be a museum and nothing will be open to the public, but the archives will be available to researchers and scholars.”
David Gould, a Bangor planning officer, told New England Cable News, “[The Kings] did not want the house to become a Dollywood or some kind of tourist attraction, that would bring all sorts of people to the neighborhood, and they have other neighbors that live there.”
King also informed fans that it will take at least two years until the mansion is a fully functional archive, so mark your calendars for Halloween 2021!
But first, let’s set up one rule: all of the monsters on this list have to be fictional. No non-fiction real people. No, “I read a book on Manson and he was evil so why is he not on this list?” No. All these people are fiction, figments of an author’s imagination.
With that said, let’s start off with:
Image Via Lemony Snicket Wiki – Fandom
I have nothing against children (that’s a lie), but she’s just plain EVIL! From the first pages of A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Austere Academy, you know this girl is trouble, and she is. Duncan and Isadora, two orphans already at the academy, are forced to live in a shack due to not having parents or guardians to sign the permission slip for the dorms. Carmelita begins referring to their shack as the Orphans Shack.
And that’s before our trio, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, make their way into the story.
When she and Violet have the same class, Carmelita takes it upon herself to poke Violet with a stick and whisper “orphan” every few minutes. Plus, she takes it upon herself to remind the orphans that, well, they’re orphans. Even worst, she calls them “cakesniffers!”, a confusing but still ultimately insulting jab at their…lack of cake?
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Come The Slippery Slope, Carmelita meets Olaf and Esmé Squalor face to face. Without a second thought, she abandons her parents and becomes their child.
Think about it. Her parents sent her to Prufrock Preporatory, a boarding school. I know rich people send most of their kids away for boarding school, but this just stinks that her parents don’t even like Carmelita, and honestly, who could blame them?
When Olaf and Esmé have our trio in their grasp they discuss which Baudelaire to leave alive for the fortune, and Carmelita suggests keeping Violet so they can tie her hair to things.
In the Grim Grotto, Olaf shows his human side with his annoyance at this little monster. Who can blame him? Every moment she’s on the page she just shows off how bratty she is.
You’re a cakesniffer and she eats cake! / Image Via Lemony Snicket Wiki – Fandom
Come The Penultimate Peril we’re on Olaf’s side when he abandons her and Esmé, since Esmé refuses to discipline the girl and Carmelita needs to be taken out back and shot Old Yeller-style.
What does Carmelita do next? She submits a book about how wonder she is to be used as evidence in a potential trial against Count Olaf and the Baudelaires.
Disloyal, wicked, and evil, Carmelita is a true monster. Don’t beleive me yet? Here’s the song she sings over and over again in The Grim Grotto:
C is for ‘cute’
A is for ‘adorable’!
R is for ‘ravishing’!
M is for ‘gorgeous’!
E is for ‘excellent’!
L is for ‘lovable’!
I is for ‘I’m the best’!
T is for ‘talented’!
and A is for ‘a tap-dancing ballerina fairy princess veterinarian’!
Now let’s sing my whole wonderful song all over again!
10-The White Witch
Image Via Wikipedia
The main antagonist of The Magician’s Nephew and of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Jadis is cold hearted demon. Not only did she murder God (Aslan), she enslaved Narnia to a thousand year winter. That wouldn’t be so bad, trees do annoy me, but she made it so it’s never Christmas but always winter.
To make it worse, she persuaded Edmund to turn against his friends with Turkish delight.
I have the right mind to call Jadis Judas.
IMage Via A Wiki of Ice and Fire – Westeros.org
This is hard, considering a lot of the characters in A Song of Ice and Fireare terrible people, but I say Tywin takes the cake. Yes, Joffrey is a psychopath, but Tywin is worse. Here’s why:
He emotionally abuses Tyrion
He uses Cersei as a brood mare
He sends The Mountain off and “didn’t know” that the Mountain would rape/kill Elia Martell and bash her two baby children against the wall.
Worst of all, Tywin is a perfectly rational person. This isn’t an issue of “bad genes” or anything like that. He was disrespected as a child, and thus he intends to never be disrespected again. Now that he’s an adult with the power he always dreamed of, he hasn’t stopped. He’s not bloodthirsty, he’s apathetic. Family is everything, and he won’t stop until he holds all the power over Westeros, no matter what the cost.
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I know he’s a vampire and that might be a good excuse for biting people, but going strictly off the Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Count is kind of a monster. Yes, he has to suck blood, but I’m not going to hold that against him. At his core he’s a predator. There’s no right or wrong that comes into play here because when you need to eat, you need to eat.
So he is even on this list? Well, let’s look at what he does…
He imprisoned Jonathan Harker.
He impersonated Harker so he could commit heinous crimes in his name, despite the fact he can transform and quickly get away, not impersonation required
He slaughtered an entire ship full of men.
He preyed on Mina just to hurt Jonathan and her family
Dracula doesn’t just feed because he needs to feed, he revels in his predator status just to terrify his prey because he finds it amusing. He’s like a shark that tells you, “I’m going to eat you whole and you’re going to want to scream but you’ll be suffocating as you slide down my throat”.
Dracula takes it a one step, and a couple more, from what his nature requires.
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Morgoth, Melkor, he’s known by several different names, but either way he’s a monster. We learn that in The Silmarillion that, after falling from glory, Morgoth corrupted all those in his wake. You think Sauron is bad? Sauron works for this monster.
It was only when Morgoth, after declaring war against the Elves and Men and slaughtering much of them during the First Age, that he was bound in chains and thrown into the void, leaving Sauron to trouble the world, as we see in The Hobbit and the Lords of the Ring trilogy.
Image Via Men of the West, Youtube
Worst of all, according to a prophecy, Morgoth will rise again.
Morgoth, Melkor, whatever you want to call him, he’s the OG monster in Tolkien’s leafy universe.
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In a world where everyone doesn’t listen to each other and people are routinely mistaken for others, Patrick Bateman fades into the background, and he loves that fact. But, subconsciously or otherwise, he leads a double life as a murderer.
Wealthy, materialistic, this Wall Street investment banker does less time working and more time going to parties. Plus, he tortures women and poor people and gays and children. Or maybe he doesn’t, it’s left very vague whether all his killings are actually happening.
She eats it, calling it minty. Twist! Since he doesn’t like his girlfriend very much, he given her a chocolate covered urinal cake.
Image Via Metro
Real or imaginary, that’s…uh…ewwwww
Image Via Bungalower
Annie Wilkes is the scariest character Stephen King ever created. Obsessive, psychotic, and worst of all…human.
She only appeared in Misery, and she certainly made an impression. The embodiment of every obsessive fan out there, Annie finds popular writer Paul Sheldon after a car crash. So she kidnaps him, ties him to a bed, and refuses to let him go until he writes a book. Paul is forced to indulge her every whim lest there be tragedy consequences.
When he tires to escape, he chops off his foot with an ax and cauterizing his ankle with a blowtorch. When his typewriter breaks down, she cuts off his thumb with an electric knife. When a state trooper comes to her house, she runs him over with her riding law mower.
Image Via Inverse
The titular character of Fifty Shades of Grey, Christian is abusive, emotionally unstable, and an all around prick who the author doesn’t think is problematic any way.
For one, he claims he’s in BDSM but in reality he just likes hurting women who have brown hair. Like his mom “the crack whore”. When Ana tells him she’s a virgin, he stomps around the room before deciding that he has to ‘take care of it’.
Yes, he was abused by an older woman, but he refuses to say she did anything wrong. Not only does he refuse to say she did anything wrong, but you better not tell him he’s wrong or else…
Not the monster, the doctor who created him. This scientist is the true monster of the story.
After creating life itself, Victor looks upon his creation and sees something that is clearly not human. He sees something breathing, thinking, alive, but less than perfect, and so he rejects it, shuns it from the world.
Image Via Owlcation
The creature seeks revenge against him, but are we to blame the creature? Forced away from the one who gave it life into an unforgiving world, the creature could not thrive, only survive. His vengeance is not just wrath, it’s justice for the mistakes Victor has created.
While he regrets creating the creature, Victor does not look upon the creature with understanding. Instead he calls the creature ‘fiend’ or ‘demon’ and pursues him to the Arctic, intend to kill it. He falls through the ice and dies, warning other not to meddle with life, but failing to teach them the lesson of empathy.
Humbert Humbert uses language to seduce the readers, and he almost succeeds. But lest we forget: he’s a pedophile, obsessed over a girl he calls Lolita. That’s why the book is called Lolita.
For the record, her real name is Dolores.
Back to Humbert. He marries a woman to get closer to his daughter and, once the woman dies, he kidnaps her.
The worst of it is that Humbert Humber makes himself a sympathetic pedophile. He criticizes the vulgarity of American culture, establishing himself as an intellectual, and considers his sexuality to be a sign of his culture.
A monster, if I ever saw one, but nothing compared to our number one pick…
Image Via AMazon
“The Judge” appears Blood Meridian very early on. We’re following the kid who goes to a revival meeting when a man bursts into the tent and tells the crowd that the preacher up on stage isn’t a real preacher, but a man wanted in three states.
The man who burst into the tent is “The Judge” and you might not know it, but he’s one you have to watch out for.
But compared to the illiterate drunken rapists surrounded you, the Judge is a breath of fresh air. Just look at that first scene! He showed everyone who that ‘preacher’ truly was. He has morals.
If you think about it, that means you’ve put your trust into this monster.
Image Via PInterest
You see, when the Judge burst into that tent he saw the kid. He didn’t just look at him, he saw into his soul. That’s good. Cormac McCarthy never says who the Judge exactly is, if he has gone mad, but if they told me he wasn’t human, if they told me he was the personification of evil, I’d believe it.
Image Via Texas Hill Country
Featured Image Via Youtube Channel Men of the West, Texas Hill Country, and Wikipedia
For another spooky article this spooky season, I wanted to share some thoughts on one of my favorite horror novels of all time Carrie by Stephen King. She deserved so much more and Carrie is an example of villains who should get more sympathy.
Image Via Go Into The Story – The Black List
Her mother was extremely religious, and abusive towards her daughter. She punishes Carrie for getting her period. Her period turned her into a woman which tainted her in some way to her mom. We can look at these points of exaggeration for Catholicism or Christianity as a critique and how it can be damaging to those who follow it and those who are forced to learn it and not being able to discover religion for themselves.
Then at her high school her peers constantly pick on her for different and who her mom is. She has no one in her corner until the gym teacher steps in and tries to help. But by the end the damage is done. The weight of her mother, the laughing prom goers as they stare at her covered in pig blood is too much, so she snaps. Carrie gives into her power and gets revenge.
Image Via DeviantArt
What I am very proud of Carrie, as a character is how her powers can be linked to her growth as woman and as her own person. Much like Matilda and Harry Potter, her powers come as an aid to her and make her special. But unlike Matilda and harry she doesn’t get a redemption arch or any type of happy ending and she truly deserves one.