Tuesday 29 June 2010

Nicole's Top Ten Scariest Reads!

Extra thanks to Marissa for starting us on this topic -- she posted her top ten horror novels last week, which got me thinking as to my own list.  Now, I've spent the majority of my life reading murder mystery novels, so I can't really name 10 horror novels that would fill this list, but I've read quite a bunch of short stories that have gotten into me and my psyche so here goes!

10)  and 9)  The Figure In the Shadows and The Letter, the Witch and the Ring:  Yes, these are YA novels (actually, they were YA back in the 1970's which means they're probably more for children these days!), but when I read them as a child -- the images of Lewis Barnavelt being followed mysteriously by some cloaked figure, as well as Rose Rita Pottinger driving a car to look in the rear-view mirror and see a pair of yellow glowing eyes -- SCARY!!!

8)  Stephen King's It:  I got to the part where the clown's hand came out of the photo album and had to stop reading.

7)  Dorothy Sayers' Suspicion (short story):  this is more of a tale of suspense, but the last line always gives me goosebumps!

6)  The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs (short story):  classic, just classic.  The pacing and the suspense at the end is priceless.

5)  The Fall of the House of Usher (short story):  no listing would be complete without Poe, and while many tales of his may be creepier or scarier (Tell-Tale Heart, the Black Cat), I just love this one, maybe because I'm into brother-sister dynamics.

4)  There's a short story out there that I read like 20 years ago, it was in an anthology, about a man who takes his daughter to a carnival and is watching her ride the ferris wheel, around and around, until -- her cart is empty!!!  She's not there!!!!  I cannot for the life of me remember what it's called, but it's NOT The Black Ferris by Bradbury.

3)  More Spinned Against by John Wyndham (short story).  Wyndham is certainly more well-known for his novels, The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos (filmed as The Village of the Damned), but I love this tale.  It's not particularly scary, but has a great, creepy twist at the end.

2)  Lamb To the Slaughter by Roald Dahl (short story):  more known for his children's stories, I just love this tale from beginning (it's set in the 1960's when pregnant women could drink alcohol) to the lovely ending.  Not a scary one, but it's a tale of suspense and revenge.  LOVE IT!!!

1)  The Boarded Window by Ambrose Bierce (short story).  Read it and tell me if you can walk into a dark room without turning on the lights afterwards!!


  1. Thankee much! I'll try to look these up!

    A word about IT...that book terrified me up until the last fifth or so. We learned too much about the monster, even having some chapters from It's POV. A mistake, imho because then it lost much of its mystery, its terrifying unpredictability, and our own imaginations then fail to fill in the blanks with what is most horrible to us personally.

  2. Nice selections - definitely Poe and It, by King. I also couldn't sleep after reading Relic by Preston and Child.

  3. Zahir -- I think you can get Lamb, More Spinned Against, and The Boarded Window all online for free somewhere. I do agree about It -- the ending sort of gave away the suspense and scariness, but it was really, really good up until then!!

    I love Preston and Child too, Erin -- have you read the Pendergast series? I'm anxiously awaiting the new one!

  4. Oh, I loved IT, and the movie was great too. I forgot about Day of the Triffids - that's a pretty scary idea, though I think the blindness is more terrifying than the triffids. Great, original list!

  5. Great choices, Nicole. I remember Lamb to Slaughter...she defrosts and cooks the murder weapon if I recall. :P It and Pet Semetary are also two of my favorites. Semetary made me sleep with the lights on for weeks and to this day it's the scariest book I've ever read.