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’
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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’
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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’
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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.
As the summer draws to a close, here’s a list of the five best fantasy books you just have to read before autumn arrives! All these books aren’t set in the summer, but they’re still the perfect thing to pick up, no strings attached! Whether you like paranormal, high fantasy, or light horror, you’ll find the perfect book to read in the sun (without falling asleep).
If you’re not reading Novik yet, then you’re missing out! This is the perfect standalone to get you started. Set on the outskirts of a terrifyingly magical forest, this book has a dragon (arguably), an unexpected heroine, plenty of violence, and even more magic. If you want a glorious modern story with the feel of a classic fantasy, you’re going to love this book. It’s also got sense, heart, and writing that’ll make you wonder why anyone else even tries.
Black writes a lot of different moods, so if you read fantasy you’ve probably encountered her. The Coldest Girl is and isn’t like anything else. Whether you’re over vampires or completely obsessed, give this book a try. A strong, sensible heroine who never the less gets drawn into danger and horror she thought she’d escaped, this book has both the elegance and horror of the genre, the obsession and the disinterest, as well as characters who step off the page.
Jones is also outrageously prolific. Even if you haven’t read any of her work, you’ve probably seen the Miyazaki adaptation of one of her novels, Howl’s Moving Castle. This is something slightly different, but with Jones’ dry humor, sense of tangible magic, and deeply flawed characters you’ll still absolutely love. Royal succession, a secret magical society, and a digital curse make this book a classic, even if you may not know all the retro computer terms.
You probably don’t know Yovanoff, but you might want to. This book is a little gruesome, but only in the way some old fairy tales are. Sometimes children in Gentry are taken, and Mackie Doyle is what was left. Exploring sacrifice, familial love, and what it means to be different, this is an unusual book that’s worth your consideration. The protagonist is complex, and teeters between selfishness and alarming selflessness. My advice? Read it with the lights on.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Lord of the Rings fan or haven’t even seen any of the movies, The Hobbit is self-contained novel that stands on its own. This book is sweet, engaging, frighting, and funny. If you like modern fantasy, here’s it’s start. If you love Tolkien, you know this is a great read and reread, and if you never got into Tolkien and were too afraid to ask, this is a great place to start. Plus, they put the most gorgeous covers on this book now.
Vampires. The very name conjures images that are a long cherished part of culture: spooky castles, hordes of fluttering bats, ancient cobweb-drenched coffins, and bloodsucking monsters who arise when night falls. Vampires have been haunting our collective imaginations for a long, long time and although they’re hugely represented in television, movies, and video games, they also are a huge part of literature. But who are the best among the children of the night? Let’s have a look at the top ten best vampires and see who comes out on top!
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10. D from ‘Vampire Hunter D’
Vampire Hunter Dis a series of Japanese novels (twenty six as of this writing) by Hideyuki Kikuchi, centering around D, a half breed child of a vampire and a human. He hunts vampires across a post-apocalyptic world, full of monsters, mutants, bandits, lovecraftian beasts, and other horrors that have to be seen to be believed. Extremely stoic, D rarely allows himself to feel emotions in order to avoid giving into his ever present vampiric hunger for blood, which he actively resists. Owing to his half-breed status, he has a variety of supernatural and magical powers but often prefers to rely on his sword in combat. He’s also exceptionally beautiful and has a sidekick in the form of his left hand, a sentient symbiote known as Left Hand who enjoys needling his host and providing much needed comic relief. D tackles a variety of hunts throughout the novels, acting as a lone wanderer across the barren world, always showing up when there’s trouble but never lingering too long after the job is done.
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9. Don Simon Ysidro from ‘Those who hunt the Night’
Those Hunt The Nightby Barbara Hambly features a complex vampire known as Don Simon Ysidro, who proves a seemingly charming, intelligent, even kind man to his ally Professor James Asher in their quest to hunt down vampires haunting Victorian era London. But beneath his seemingly all too human aura, Ysidro is an unapologetic predator, who has a reputation for murdering people throughout the centuries and when the predator comes out, he reveals himself as a monster through and through.
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8. Lestat de Lioncourt from ‘The Vampire Chronicles’
The Vampire Chroniclesby Anne Rice features one of the most famous literary vampires of all time: Lestat de Lioncourt. Beginning as an antagonist in Interview With a Vampire, his popularity promoted him to the series protagonist and overall narrator. Vain and self-obsessed, Lestat is passionate about the arts, literature, and especially fashion, often pausing mid-narration to give the reader a description of what he’s wearing. His vampiric hunger knows no limits, as he is bisexual and will happily feed on both men and women. As an anti-hero, he is often framed as both a monster and a hero, quick to defend his behavior but often not backing it up. Both terrifying and compelling, Lestat is always the center of attention whenever he appears and for good reason.
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7. Thomas Raith from ‘The Dresden Files’
Thomas Raith from The Dresden Filesis the brother to the main character of the series, Harry Dresden, a vampire of the White Court. Thomas, instead of sucking blood, preys on human emotions and energies, mostly often sexual energy. Thomas, thanks to his brother’s help, begins to overcome his monstrous affliction but struggles to retain it, often slipping in and out of his predatory behavior. Its hard for women to ignore him as well, thanks to his vampiric aura and exceptional good looks. But Thomas cares deeply for his brother and always remains a staunch ally, ready to fight by Harry’s side no matter what.
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6. Count Magpyr from ‘Discworld’
Count Magpyr from Discworld is a more comedic take on vampires, being a parody of Dracula and totally embracing hokey vampire tropes. The good Count wants to teach his children how to be vampires, such as avoiding garlic, religious symbols, and how to choose to best people to feed on. Hailing from a mounty, wintery region known as the Uberwald, Magpyr lords over his vampire family and dominates the poor villages near his castle. He can also turn into a flock of magpies and often uses them as spies around his kingdom. Colorful and comedic, the Count is a total blast of a villain and one who loves being a vampire.
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5. Yuki Cross from ‘Vampire Knight’
Yuki Cross is the star protagonist of the Japanese manga series Vampire Knight. Awakening with no memory of her past, she attends an academy called Cross Academy, where students are divided into two classes: Day Class (humans) and Night Class (vampires). She is appointed a guardian, which means she has to stop the different classes from killing each other as they try to learn from the school’s secrets. Colorful and comedic, Yuki is a cheerful girl who is brilliant but lazy and who hides a dark secret unknown even to herself at first: she’s a Pureblood vampire, meaning she possesses unique powers and abilities far surpassing most vampires. Unfortunately, her unique blood makes her a prime target of her kind, who wish to consume her blood for their own purposes.
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4. Lord Ruthven from ‘The Vampyre’
One of the first vampires in English literature, Lord Ruthven is the star of the 1819 novel The Vampyreby John William Polidori. He shares many of the characteristics that made Dracula famous but actually predates him considerably, being mysterious, alluringly sexual, but dark and violent beneath his aristocratic aura. However, unlike most vampires, he is not harm by sunlight or crosses but can be killed by mortal weapons. Hence, Ruthven tries to hide more than other vampires and anyone who learns his secret ends up dead.
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3. Kurt Barlow from ‘Salem’s Lot’
Kurt Barlow from Salem’s Lotby Stephen King is the master vampire of a brood of vampires that invade the sleepy town of Jerusalem’s Lot. So old, he predates the founding of Christianity, his origins are unknown but he is speculated to be a nobleman of Austria, which is backed up by his accent. Arriving in a box to the town, Kurt Barlow begins quietly building up an army of vampires, attacking victims in the dead of night and slowly spreading his evil inch by inch, block by block. In confrontations with him, Barlow easily overwhelms the protagonists, even shrugging off being threatened by a cross. Although he is killed at the novel’s end, staked in his coffin, his vampires remain and take over the town, making it a permanent nest to their kind.
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2. Carmilla from ‘Carmilla’
Carmilla of the 1872 novel of the same name. Carmilla is a lesbian vampire who preys on a young women (the narrator) and expresses homosexual desire toward her. Carmilla preys on the narrator multiple times before being hunted down and brutally staked by a hunting party led by Baron Vordenburg, a descendent of vampire killers. Carmilla predates Dracula and is often thought of solidifying vampiric traits, as well as being a sympathetic character and showcasing homosexual themes.
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1. Dracula from ‘Dracula’
The one, the only. The most famous vampire of all, Dracula made vampires cool, popular, and enduring all at once with his little novel. In contrast to his screen appearances, Dracula in the novel is quite threatening, beginning the novel as a recluse living his castle in the mountains and taking the appearance of a decrepit old man with hairy palms. He crawls up walls like a lizard, summons swarms of rats, his breath is rank like a corpse, and is generally thought to be a symbol of a sexual deviant. Dracula is a contrast to the movies and television appearances that made him famous but he’s still an icon on page and somehow, much more terrifying. After all, he doesn’t drink…wine.
Exciting news for Marvel fans! Over the weekend, at Marvel’s panel that reveled their next slate of films there were some exciting news revealed! Marvel’s Phase 4 films include several sequels to prior films including Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Black Widow. A few new titles were revealed to be underway as well, including television properties such as Loki, Wanda/Vision, and Falcon and the Winter Solider, in addition to original, new properties such as The Eternals and Shang Chi. But the most exciting announcement of the panel came at the very end, where seconds before the end Kevin Fiege, the head executive of Marvel Entertainment, revealed that a Blade reboot was coming. Even more exciting, two time Oscar Winner Mahershala Ali is to star in the lead role as the titular comic book character.
For those unaware, Blade is an African-English superhero from Marvel Comics. Originating from The Tomb of Dracula as a supporting character, Blade is a vampire/human hybrid, with the powers of a vampire but able to walk in sunlight and to stave off his thirst for blood. Despite his cool concept, Blade didn’t become truly popular until a trio of films in the 1990s were adapted for the big screen, starring Wesley Snipes as the vampire slayer. Bladeand Blade IIwere well received for their action, stylish flavor, and Snipes’s performance but the third film, Blade: Trinity, was so badly received that it sunk the franchise. Despite this, Blade has remained a popular character in the comics but has never truly risen to a starring role. Blade’s look is fairly simplistic, as he wears dark sunglasses, a long trench coat, and wields a sword.
Which makes it so surprising that Blade was unveiled is that Blade was already done in movies, so seeing him again is incredibly surprising. Not to mention getting an established actor like Ali to portray the superhero. It’s also incredibly exciting to see another black superhero besides Black Pantherheadlining a movie, showcasing that Marvel will be pushing for increased diversity in the future. Now, Blade was only just announced and isn’t even on the featured slate of films for Phase 4, so we likely won’t be seeing him anytime soon. But still, this surprise announcement was the highlight of the panel for us.
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Are you excited to see the superhero Blade take up arms against vampires on the big screen? What sort of role do you think he’ll play in the MCU? And how about Mahershala Ali to play him? Any speculation of how the movie will take form and who might direct? Let us know in the comments!