Happy Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday, and as a writer – and reader – one of the things I love most about it is all the spooky lore. Things that go bump in the night, spirits walking amongst us, that monster under the stairs…It’s all fair game on All Hallow’s Eve.
My son has recently become enamored of the horror genre, so I’ve been seeing the return of many of the books I loved in my horror heyday. The Stand, The Shining, ‘Salem’s Lot, The Dark Half, Needful Things, Pet Cemetery…there’s a whole row of Stephen King on his bookshelf and I love seeing it there. I just loaned him my copy of Heart Shaped Box, the debut horror novel by Joe Hill (a.k.a. Joseph Hill King) and let me tell you, the scare gene runs in the family. It’s a fantastic, creepy read and it’s named after a Nirvana song – who could resist? (Not me. And not my son, who is dressing as Kurt Cobain this year. No, I’m not worried. He’s actually quite an upbeat, cheerful fellow.)
One of my other favorite horror writers is Whitley Strieber. I have read (and re-read) most of his earliest works, including The Hunger and Wolfen, and Communion scared the bejeezus out of me. I also dig his post-apocalyptic books, Nature’s End and War Day. I tried to read The Grays, the first in his new alien trilogy, and made it to page five before I freaked out and put it back on the bookshelf. (Alien abduction tops my AUGH!!! list, for sure.)
I have hardback copies of my favorite horror classics – Frankenstein, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Dracula – on the shelf in the living room, as well as a lovely volume of Edgar Allen Poe’s stories and poems. You’ll also find Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles there (including a few first editions and one signed) and, I’ll be honest, I haven’t met any literary vamps (Vlad aside) who come close to Louis, Lestat, Armand and company. (Okay, maybe Miriam and John from The Hunger, especially when they’re played by Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie. Yum.) As a rule, vampires don’t scare me, with the fang gang from ‘Salem’s Lot being the exception. (But don’t get me started on aliens again! *shivers*)
As for zombies? Love them. Can’t get enough of those brain eating buggers, though most of my neural intake (sorry, I couldn’t resist) has been through movies. World War Z and Patient Zero are both at the top of my scary looking TBR pile (that’s a post for another Halloween!) and I just finished The Enemy, a fantastic zombie middle-grade book.
So, do you like scary stories? If so, which are your favorites? Inquiring minds want to know… before they get eaten by the undead hordes tonight…