Some seriously scary books for Halloween.
We love Halloween- it’s scary, campy, and you can be whatever you want to be (which you can mostly do all the time, unless what you want to be is a ghoul or a sexier version of something decidedly unsexy). Unfortunately, getting down to the last episode of your favorite show is not the fun kind of scary. But if your show is on this list, here are some spooky, whacky, and genuinely frightening reads to tide you over.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Those of us with Buffy nostalgia face a challenge that can be scarier than the show itself- the fact that the show’s been finished since 2003. But if you can’t live without the misadventures of the teens quietly (and sometimes NOT so quietly) defending Sunnydale from monsters, why not explore an untold part of that story?
Patrick Ness’ The Rest of Us Just Live Here explores the lives of background characters in a nondescript town like Sunnydale for those of us who have never fought a vampire with our bare hands (or, you know, with anything else). Teenagers beset with their own slew of issues try to exist as the Chosen Ones deal with their zombie cops and spooky blue lights from outer space. This genre-bending book merges fantasy with reality as Ness explores how ordinary human lives fit in with the high stakes of genre fiction.
Unlike with Buffy, anyone who watches Supernatural knows there’s no shortage of content. Now entering its fourteenth season, the cult classic has thrilled viewers since 2005 with its story of two inseparable brothers who save lives, hunt monsters, make questionable choices, and fight with each other nonstop.
V.E. Schwab’s Vicious is a twist on the typical superhero story, following two former classmates who were once as close as brothers. When a string of bad decisions puts the friends in uncomfortably close contact with the world of the supernatural, some lives are saved- and others are lost. The mercurial relationship between Schwab’s protagonists may remind you of Supernatural‘s infamous brothers, and the hunting definitely will.
This hit TV show taps into 80s nostalgia in a serious way, and so modern books just won’t always sate your craving. You can take the edge off this with a book with the story that inspired last fall’s pop culture phenomenon: Stephen King’s IT.
Written in 1990 and set in the mid 80s, the story also focuses on a gang of kids taking on a threat that adults in town don’t understand. Featuring a familiar camaraderie, the Losers try to stop the entity that they have discovered, attempting to save both their town and themselves. And is there collateral damage? Well, isn’t there always?
The Walking Dead
Zombies might seem to be the territory of genre fiction and pop culture, but that isn’t always the case. Literary superstar Colson Whitehead’s Zone One blends genre and literary fiction as it explores not the zombie apocalypse exactly, but what happens after.
With the mixture of tenderness and violence that viewers expect from The Walking Dead, Whitehead explicitly wanders into the thematic landscape of zombies, discussing at length the kind of moral and existential questions that many zombie stories only hint at.
American Horror Story
It might be hard to decide what will get you your AHS fix, given the wide range of premises the show offers. Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus shares a similar versatility, blending elements of magic and witchcraft (like AHS season 3) with the creepy aesthetic of a sinister traveling circus (season 4). With a flair for the strange, cruel, and dramatic, The Night Circus’ range of amoral characters and tragically doomed human connections are reminiscent of all seasons of AHS.
While not explicitly a horror show, Black Mirror’s one-off dystopian plot lines terrify audiences with their creativity… and plausibility. Often focusing on motifs of alienation and technology, the show provides us with a horrifying reality that we both can and cannot imagine. A YA classic, Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies depicts a dystopian world in which, on their sixteenth birthday, teenagers undergo surgery to become Pretties- artificially enhanced beautiful people with equally beautiful lives (sounds exactly like being sixteen, right?). Unfortunately, life is not quite as beautiful as it appears. And unfortunately, that’s not all the surgery does.
Featured Image Via 2glory.de. All in-text images via Amazon.
Today marks Friday the 13th, so if you see a black cat approaching you, slowly walk the other way. Friday the 13th has long been associated with a string of bad luck, superstitions, and eerie occurrences. For seemingly forever this day has struck fear in people around the world, as its history in Norse Mythology and Christianity has perpetuated an associated between the number 13 and some seriously bad vibes.
For those of you who wish to stay indoors today in order to avoid walking under ladders and such, why not take a moment to dive into a wonderfully terrifying book. In celebration of Friday the 13th, here are 13 books all about superstitions, eerie occurrences, bad luck, paralyzing fear, and all hell breaking loose!
1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
This classic novel about scientist Victor Frankenstein creating a monster from man is all about the fear of what man is, and who man can become. The novel features many instances of bad luck, from the protagonist himself whose creation backfires tremendously, to a monster whose desire to be seen leads to further rejection, to the innocent bystanders who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Considering Frakenstein’s monster itself is a classic characterization of Halloween, Frankenstein is the epitome of the associations of Friday the 13th.
2. The Shining by Stephen King
Given that Stephen King himself suffers from Triskaidekahobia, the fear of the number 13, The Shining is an obvious choice for this list. Telling the tale of writer Jack Torrance whose hotel stay goes awry, The Shining is all about psychological fear and doubt, supernatural possession, and eerie encounters.
3. Helter Skelter: The True Story of The Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry
Charles Manson is one of the most familiar serial killers in history. This cult leader led some of the most shocking and gruesome murders in America, but it’s not just the blood spilled that makes this cult leader frightening. Manson and his cult were known to invade the homes of victims and rearrange furniture in order to make the home owners feel violated and fearful. Helter Skelter dives into the eerie and evil tactics of the Manson clan.
4. The Turn of The Screw by Henry James
A staple of the gothic genre, The Turn of The Screw explores the human subconscious and our reactions and justifications to the eerie and unexplainable events that occur around us. When a governess notices eerie and supernatural occurrences around her, her struggle to protect the children she cares for pushes her towards madness. The novella asks us whether she is mad or if supernatural beings really do exist.
5. Carrie by Stephen King
Carrie is simultaneously a familiar yet, in my opinion, underrated work of Stephen King. Carrie deals with the clash of the supernatural versus realty, and the impact of superstitions on our sanity and fate.
6. The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
A popular horror novel, The Amityville Horror explores the psychological fear of the Lutz family who endures horrifying paranormal occurrences while living in a possessed home. For any reader who has heard a weird sound or two coming from the basement or attic of their house, The Amityville Horror is sure to make their skin crawl.
7. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Something Wicked This Way Comes is so haunting that it has been said to have been a source of inspiration for horror films and books, including those written by Stephen King. The novel features a blend of fantasy and horror elements, and tells the story of two young teens whose encounter with a traveling carnival leads to psychological torture and doubt.
8. It by Stephen King
If you haven’t read It then you’ve most likely have heard about it as the terrifying tale has petrified so many children that it has gained notoriety amongst generations. King’s iconic horror novel tells the tale of a group of young friends who become psychologically terrorized by a shape-shifting monster. The monster feeds off of the individualized fears and hidden demons of each child, prompting widespread fear and, even worse, fear of fear.
9. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Gilman’s short story is about a young mother who descends into madness shortly after giving birth. As the ill woman is isolated in an old nursery, she soon comes to a realization that the yellow wallpaper covering the room conceals behind it a woman. The story explores sanity, and the psychological effects of oppression and isolation.
10. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
If you’ve read (or seen) Rosemary’s baby, then it may have made you hesitant to have children and it definitely made you wary of your neighbors. After moving in to an eerie apartment building in which some questionable neighbors live in, a young couple decides to have a baby. However as the pregnancy progresses, the couple realizes that their next door neighbors are members of a satanic cult who intend on harming their child. This chilling story about satanism, supernaturalism, and fear erupts in a devastating ending that’ll shock you.
11. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
This debut novel explores the experiences of a young family who move in to a new home and are bewildered to discover that their house is bigger on the inside than it appears outwardly. Their bizarre experience becomes all the more eerie when their children suddenly take on the voices of supernatural, and terrifying, creatures. This disturbing explores supernaturalism and psychological fear yet it dressed up with a sense of realism that is bound to make you uncomfortable and wary.
12. The Changeling by Victor Lavalle
The Changeling offers a blend of a Brothers Grimm style fairy tale mixed with a parents worse nightmare. A young man haunted by unsettling dreams as a child finds his childhood fears return when his wife descends into a dark state after giving birth to their child. After she commits a horrifyingly violent act, she disappears, leaving her husband behind to find a way out of his traumatized and fearful state to find her. The story explores recurrent fears, the link between psychological fear and violence, and the impact of secrets.
13. Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
This creepy novella explores superstition and the doubts of the human psyche after a young Native American teenager, alone one night, sees a figure resembling his deceased father step through a doorway. When he follows the figure, he encounters hidden depths of his home and begins to blur the boundaries between what is real and what isn’t. This psychologically torturing novella can easily make readers begin to question their own definitions of what is there and what is not.
Have you finished any of these reads? Let us know your thoughts on them!
Featured images courtesy of DeviantArt/Mario, Amazon
The first official trailer for The Little Stranger is here! Room director Lenny Abrahamson returns with an adaptation of Sarah Water’s haunting novel of the same name. The film is set in the summer of 1948 and centers on Dr. Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson) a country doctor who gets called in to help a patient in the financially failing estate known as Hundreds Hall.
Gleeson’s Faraday is familiar with the estate since his mother was a housemaid there. After meeting the curious family who now occupy it, including Mrs. Ayres (Charlotte Rampling) and her children Caroline (Ruth Wilson) and Roderick (Will Poulter) he discovers an ominous force causing bizarre occurrences around the home. Faraday soon discovers that the Ayres’s story is inextricably linked to his own.
This trailer reflects an eerie tone of a ghost story that seems identical to the novel. The footage that is revealed also centers on how the insanely haunted happenings around the estate impact each character’s psychological state especially Domhnall’s Faraday who appears to be the focal character in this story.
The film arrives in theaters on August 31st, 2018.
Featured Image Via www.comingsoon.net
The most published author of all time has officially been declared by The Guinness Book of World Records (and, surprisingly, it’s not the king of fiction himself, Stephen King) as none other than the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard.
Take a second to breathe that in; it’s shocking, alarming, and even a little unsettling, I know.
But, if you happen to be unfamiliar with Hubbard, or Scientology in general, here are some of the basic things you should know:
L. Ron Hubbard was born on March 13, 1911 in Tilden, Nebraska. He spent much of the first part of his life working as a fiction writer, gaining notoriety for his science fiction and fantasy short story contributions to pulp fiction magazines in the 1930’s. He also had works published under romance, adventure, western, mystery, aviation, and mystery, and even wrote the screenplay for the Columbia Pictures feature film, The Secret of Treasure Island.
In 1950, Hubbard went on to publish a series of “psychological self-help” books entitled Dianetics. Dianetics is a system of levels to work your way through that are stated to help remove psychosomatic disorders by eliminating dangerous or harmful images from your mind— the process involves sitting in a room with an “auditor” who interrogates you, forcing you to reveal your innermost thoughts, past traumas, and any secrets you may have so that you may erase that part of your mind and reach contentment, awareness, and sanity. Dianetics would become the foundation of the creation of Scientology.
In May of 1952, Hubbard finally launched his, now infamous, cult-like religious system, Scientology. Scientology is stated to be a system of graded courses and levels to work through with the goal of self-awareness, spiritual fulfillment, and super powers beyond that of any normal, everyday human. The entire process of working through the levels typically takes decades and costs around $500,000 (graduation from the program alone is $100,000, and additional $100,000 fees are given to anyone who speaks publicly about the practices). Once you’ve reached the final level, you are said to gain magical abilities such as telekinesis, immunity from all illnesses, superior senses, and mind control. (No scientologists to date have reported ever witnessing someone reach this final, mystical level and gain said powers.)
By the time Hubbard opened The Church of Scientology on February 19th, 1954, he already had a steady following of loyal and believing scientologists ready and willing to join.
And, by the time the 1960s rolled around, Hubbard had found himself the leader of a worldwide movement containing thousands upon thousands of members (some celebrity members have included and continue to include Tom Cruise, Elisabeth Moss, Kirstie Alley, Laura Prepon, and John Travolta).
As the years went on and more was revealed about Scientology and what was really going on within The Church, investigations were launched against Hubbard, forcing him to spend his remaining decades living in hiding.
L. Ron Hubbard suffered a stroke and passed away on February 24th, 1986, leaving behind a powerful, sinister legacy of systems still in place today (The Church of Scientology is stated as currently having around 25,000 members, with numbers in a steady decline).
Even in death Hubbard is still managing to make headlines; since his passing he has been awarded three separate records through The Guinness Book of World Records, and still holds the titles today:
1. Most Published Works by an Author: 1,084 publications
2. Most Languages Translated to by an Author: 71 languages
3. Most Audiobooks Recorded by an Author: 184 audiobooks
The strangest thing about all of this is that Hubbard feels like some sort of evil super-villain we can’t defeat; Scientology has caused a lot of pain for a lot of people and, though it’s numbers are decreasing, there are still many people following it today. The Church has a scary amount of power, making it extremely dangerous and nearly impossible for members to ever leave; and it’s all thanks to L. Ron Hubbard, the man who turned simple science fiction stories into an infectious, disease-like-religion that seemingly can’t be stopped.
But, if we can’t tear Scientology down in it’s entirety, the least we should be able to do is beat Hubbard’s World Records and get him off the list.
So, get to writing, we’ve got publications to stack!
Featured Image Via The Los Angeles Times