Stephen King's Multiverse is intricately interwoven, with characters and events from some stories making a cameo in others. But these cameos aren't just cameos. They all add up in someway to a supernatural narrative where evil and the northeast United States go hand-in-hand.
Welcome back to Author Fight Club! This week we welcome horror writers Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe for some truly terrifying mystery categories...
For decades, Stephen King had been the undisputed master of horror, the mere mention of his name evoking mysterious locales, psychotic madmen and, of course, terrifying monsters. From a rabid dog to a literal god, here are the top six scariest Stephen King monsters, ranked!
6. Cujo – Cujo
image via The Spool
And here is the rabid dog in question! A Saint Bernard owned by the Chamber family of Castle Rock, Cujo, once a faithful and loving animal friend, contracts rabies from a bat bite, and slowly, over the course of several days, the disease eats away at his mind, turning him into a vicious, bloodthirsty beast. What makes Cujo scary enough to make number six on this list is that, unlike the rest of Stephen King’s cast of spooks and spectres that go bump in the night, a rabid dog is actually a real world threat. The thought of your loyal canine companion suddenly turning on you gives our number six placeholder an eerie, personal edge.
5. Blaine the Mono – The Dark Tower III: The Waste Land
For those of you who may not have read Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, you may be wondering why I’m including a train anywhere on this list. It’s because Blaine the Mono is no ordinary train, but rather an artificial intelligence that slowly went insane as the computers that comprised his brain fell into disarray over the decades of lack of maintenance. Not only that, but he’s also worshipped as a god by those who inhabit the city which he’s found decomposing in by Roland Deschain and company. He’s not a merciful god, either, for he also destroys said city by releasing a toxic nerve gas. Blaine the Mono combines both humanity’s future fear of artificial intelligence and our past fear of vengeful gods.
4. Pennywise – IT
Also known as the Dancing Clown, the child-devouring clown of Derry, Maine is possibly Stephen King’s most popular monster creation. While I may be in the minority of those who don’t find clowns particularly scary, what I personally find frightening about Pennywise is his shapeshifting abilities, meaning that he could be even your closest family and friends, preying on you or your child, just waiting for a moment when he could strike and swallow you whole.
3. The Mist Monsters – The Mist
The Mist is my favorite of Stephen King’s novellas, and that’s because of the monsters that lurk within the mist that rolls into the small town of Bridgeton, Maine. While we’re never given a clear explanation of what precisely caused the mist, it’s suggested that the military’s Arrowhead Project opened a portal to another dimension, and that’s how the horrors of the mist were able to enter our world. What’s truly terrifying about The Mist is it’s theme of our need to tamper with nature and how playing God will eventually be the cause of our demise.
2. The Leatherheads – Under the Dome
A species of interdimensional aliens, the Leatherheads are the ones who materialized the gigantic, indestructible dome over the town of Chester Mill’s, Maine. The scariest part is that they did so only for the purpose of watching to see what the citizens inside would do. The terror of the Leatherheads is not what they did to the people of Chester Mill’s, but rather what it represents: how little we matter in the Universe. At the end of the novel, we learn that the Leatherheads who made the dome are in fact children. A parallel is made between them toying with the lives of Chester Mill’s residents and a human kid burning the ants of an ant hill with a magnifying glass. Humanity is no more significant to them than ants are to us.
1. the mother of the null – Revival
Mother of the Null, or simply referred to as the Mother, is the aforementioned god on our list. Mother is the malevolent, Lovecraftian entity that rules over the Null, a dimension where those who have died are being led (and presumably fed) to Mother by giant, ant-like creatures. The horror of Mother is the thought of her being what awaits us in the afterlife, and being consumed by her gaping black maw is an unavoidable fate for all mankind.
There are far more monsters that have been birthed from Stephen King’s delightfully twisted mind, and while, yes, a lot of them can be quite silly (look up Maximum Overdrive), just as many are truly scary creations.
Featred image via Imps and Monsters
Does anyone else feel like January has been ongoing for approximately three years now? The holidays have passed, everyone is back to work and back to class, the light at the end of the January tunnel has never felt so far away. To help you through the remaining two weeks (three months in Jan time), we’ve compiled a list of lengthy books that you can lose yourself in this month. Before you know it, it’ll be February, and you’ll have serious bragging rights.
1. it by stephen King
image via amazon
Stephen King’s spooky It is as long as it is creepy. Coming in at 1138 pages, it is one of his longest novels. The story takes place over twenty eight years which is equal to one single January. Plus, if you factor in all the time you’ll spend having nightmares from reading it, you’ll definitely make it to the end of the month.
2. Ulysses by james joyce
image via amazon
James Joyce’s Ulysses is the ultimate way to get through the month. Instead of focusing on the January blues, lose yourself in Bloom’s instead! The infamous novel has a page count of 730 and with the time it’ll take to figure the story out, plus the time you’ll spend bragging about it after, spring will be hurtling towards you when you’re finished.
3. Lord of the rings by j.r.r. tolkien
image via amazon
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (as one unit) rings in at 1178 pages. If you get through that too quickly, try teaching yourself elvish. Before you know it, you’ll be one language smarter and ready to woo your S.O. for Valentine’s Day.
Bonus: check out our ranking of LotR covers here.
4. les misérables by victor hugo
image via penguin
Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables chronicles the misery of life in 1800s Paris in a hefty 1900 pages, making it the perfect length to see out the rest of the month. Compound this with the film adaption for the full experience. If you learn the musical’s songs, too, you could make it through January 2021, too!
5. Harry potter and the order of the phoenix by j.k. rowling
image via amazon
The fifth installment of Rowling’s Harry Potter series spans 870 pages. To read the entire series from beginning to end, it would take the average reader around two months. So if you start now, you can be finished by January 24th, and fit in another long read before February.
Happy reading! Two weeks to go, folks. We can do this.
featured image via kath walker illustration, flickr
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Horror is a genre that intrigues us because of its ability to terrify us and poke at our greatest fears. I believe that any mind-provoking book is a good book, but horror does more than provoke—it picks at our minds, invades us, and for whatever reason, this gives us a sense of excitement. So what’s the science behind scary stuff, and why do we love that adrenaline rush of fear?
The human body has hormones that trigger a flight or fight response as a reaction to fear, but when the body is in a setting that it knows its safe such as a roller coaster or haunted house, we’re able to enjoy that high-energy sensation of wanting to run or hide. Your frontal lobe is able to convince your body that you are physically okay, activating a response more akin to pleasure than panic. It’s similar to the adrenaline we get from being extremely happy or surprised, except fear is interpreted in a different way. Horror also represents creativity and allows us to delve into an unknown part of our minds.
Image by the occult museum
It’s not just a matter of taste and adrenaline, either— there are two types of personalities in relation to fear and horror: those who are sensation-seeking, the avid readers of Stephen King who laugh at the worst jump scares because they enjoy being scared and want to be mentally challenged, versus those who exhibit more sensitive and fearful traits.
If you’re a horror lover who has seen every horror movie down to the goriest and the most disturbing, and you own a complete collection of Stephen King books, you’re probably sensation-seeking. You’ll probably also be the one who laughs at your friends when they hide their eyes in the movie theater. If you force your friends to prep you for every scary scene in advance and wake up screaming from nightmares of Pennywise from IT or, even worse, Charlie from Hereditary, you’re probably more sensitive and shy.
image by alchetron
Those who love horror books or any type of spook tend to be extroverted and open to new experiences, but loving horror isn’t only for the bravest souls—it’s also a trait common in people with high levels of empathy. Understanding the emotions of a character on the page, even if it’s fear, helps us feel connected to the characters in books and movies.
Everyone is into horror nowadays and it’s hardly a disconcerting hobby, but readers still question the minds of horror writers like Stephen King.
The ideas for some of King’s books, like The Shining, came from his dreams (this interesting article lists the specific creation stories and original ideas for some of King’s novels), and it makes his readers wonder if he’s truly as twisted and creepy as the characters he creates. Who would dream up a man as terrible as Jack Torrance for fun, and who would write such a terrifying clown?
image by the telegraph
Yet it’s still fun for us to read about these characters, and we’d be devastated if Stephen King stopped writing. There’s an article on Quora that asks, “Do you ever think Stephen King could be a seriously twisted person?” The responses to this question come from King fans who cite him as a family man and defend the uncontrollableness of the creative mind. So it’s more likely that Stephen King is just as creative and obsessed with adrenaline-inducing fear as the rest of us.