Happy Halloween TTW readers! With the night’s drawing in and streets filling up with ghosts and witches out to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve, it might be wise to curl up in bed, hide from the magic and masks and get lost in a truly terrifying turn of events by the light of a carved pumpkin…
Here are a few horrifying reads to inspire your nightmares this Halloween night…
The Woman in Black – a ghost story so atmospheric that you stand alongside Arthur Kipps as he explores the mysterious Eel Marsh House. Gothic and ghostly, this is a read that will have you looking over your shoulder for a long time afterwards.
The Phantom of the Opera – the Puffin Classics cover alone is enough to fulfil its spot on this list of Halloween reads! A vastly overlooked read due to the stage and film adaptations but definitely a credible source of spooks – how can it not be when the villain has a face of a diseased corpse?!
The Silence of the Lambs – I was made to read this for a module at university, having avoided the film like the plague due to anticipatory nightmares! This psychotic and sinister thriller delves deep into the heart of society’s most dangerous characters and introduces to the world the infamous Hannibal Lector. This is an utterly disturbing but compelling read, perfect for Halloween horrors!
Ring – the American adaptation was the film to watch when I was at school. It did the rounds at sleepovers and truly frightened the bejesus out of me! I loved the psychological horror of it and so bought the book it was based on. Though the details are different, the basic premise is the same and Suzuki creates such claustrophobic tension in his writing that it translates amazingly from page to tingle the spine.
The Graveyard Book – the idea that a graveyard can raise a child could only come from Neil Gaiman! With lashings of ghosts, ghouls, werewolves, vampires and graves what more could you want?!
The Turn of the Screw – James’ ghost story has massively naïve and unreliable narrator, really creepy children, spirits of the undead and so many plot twists and narrative layers that you come away not knowing what just happened. The language is wordy but if it’s a high-class Halloween you’re after this gothic classic might just do it for you.
The Mermaids Singing – if you’re looking for a Halloween read that not only offers the gore but also something deeper, then look no further than the first Tony Hill novel. It’s violent (graphically so in places), threatening and twisted. McDermid delivers a novel so dark and uncomfortable that you won’t be able to stop reading until it ends.
Rosemary’s Baby – a more disturbing and creepy read than out and out horror but very effecting nonetheless. Satanic rituals, disturbing neighbours and an uncomfortable atmosphere will make you think twice before lending a friendly stranger a cup of sugar.
A Stephen King of some description – I am not the authority on the legend of SK or his novels as his reputation for horror still prevents me from purchasing (picture the episode from Friends with Joey, The Shining and the freezer and that’s about where I’m at with King!). My Uncle recommended Salem’s Lot though as a SK starting point so maybe try that…and tell me how you go?!
And last but not least, the epitome of Halloweenyness itself…
Dracula – a massive step away from vegetarian, shiny vamps Stoker’s Dracula is the original vampiric nightmare and one of my absolute favourite books. Dracula is a predator, liberator, shape-shifter and, above all else, truly evil threat and this timeless horror is absolutely perfect for dark October nights.
Happy Halloween and nightmarish reads to you all!