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Thread: A must-read horror list

  1. #1
    World Class Rambler EFCollins's Avatar
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    Lightbulb A must-read horror list

    I was flipping back through the horror forum and noticed just how often we get "looking for something to read" type threads come up. And you know... it gave me an idea.

    From classics to pulpy horror to modern. And all things in between. If you're going to write horror, you need to read horror; to know what's come before you and just to get to know your genre to begin with.

    Compiled list:

    The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

    Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill

    The Dark Sacrament by David Kiely

    The Absence by Bill Hussey

    Pet Semetary, by Stephen King

    The Woman In Black by Susan Hill

    Apartment 14F - An Oriental Ghost Story by C.M Saunders.

    The Store by Bentley Little

    Dying to Live by Kim Paffenroth

    The Shining By Stephen King

    Darkness on the Edge of Town By Brian Keene

    Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite

    The Mist by Stephen King

    The Rising by Brian Keene

    Misery by Stephen King

    Carrie by Stephen King

    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

    Dracula by Bram Stoker

    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

    The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

    The Stand by Stephen King

    Ghost Story, Shadowland by Peter Straub

    We Have Always Lived In the Castle -- Shirley Jackson

    At the Mountains of Madness, "The Shadow Out of Innsmouth," "The Colour Out of Space" -- HP Lovecraft

    The King in Yellow -- Robert W. Chambers

    On the Beach -- Nevil Shute

    The House on the Borderland -- William Hope Hodgson

    "The Beckoning Fair One" -- Oliver Onions

    "Oh Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" - M.R. James

    Macbeth and The Tempest by William Shakespeare

    Watchers by Dean Koontz

    The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

    Wolfen by Whitley Streiber

    The Dead Zone by Stephen King

    Interview with a vampire, the vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

    I am Legend by Richard Mathieson

    The Keep by F. Paul Wilson

    Urban Gothic, Castaways by Brian Keene

    Faery Tale by Raymond E. Feist

    The longest single note by Peter Crowther

    The Walking by Bentley Little

    "The Dreams in the Witch House" and "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" by H.P. Lovecraft

    The Black Cat" by Poe

    The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

    Swan Song and Boy's Life by Robert McCammon

    The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

    The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King.

    Salem's Lot by Stephen King

    It by Stephen King

    Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons

    Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite

    Perfume: The story of a Murder Patrick Suskind

    American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

    Yeval by C. W. Schultz

    Marabou Stork Nightmare by Irvine Welsh

    Nightwalker by Thomas Tessier

    The Bad Place Dean Koontz

    The Call of Cthulhu by H. P. Lovecraft

    Out Of The Deeps and The Day Of The Triffids by John Wyndham

    The Edge of Running Water by William Sloane

    Winter Moon, Darkfall, Strangers, Midnight, Demon Seed, and Phantoms by Dean Koontz.
    Last edited by EFCollins; 12-15-2010 at 10:17 PM.
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  2. #2
    The Banishing, Released March 2011 Fiona's Avatar
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    My favourite's include the following:


    * The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

    * Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill

    * The Dark Sacrament by David Kiely

    * The Absence by Bill Hussey

    * Pet Semetary, by Stephen King

    * The Woman In Black by Susan Hill

    * Apartment 14F - An Oriental Ghost Story (this one gave me the creeps!) by C.M Saunders.

    I'm actually planning on buying some books soon so I'll look forward to other people's recommendations

    Those are just some I can think of but I'm sure I can add more later. I'm obsessed with horror. My favourite books are normally more creepy, traditional ghost stories though.
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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW
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    Huge fan of horror here!

    1. The Store by Bentley Little
    2. Dying to Live by Kim Paffenroth
    3. The Shining By Stephen King
    4. Darkness on the Edge of Town By Brian Keene
    5. Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite
    6. The Mist by Stephen King
    7. The Rising by Brian Keene
    8. Misery by Stephen King
    9. Carrie by Stephen King
    10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

    These are just a few that I have read and loved. Ok, well the last was just tossed in for a joke. But there are many others that I have enjoyed not included here.

  4. #4
    'Tis true, she is a monstergirl dgrintalis's Avatar
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    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
    Dracula by Bram Stoker
    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
    The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
    The Shining, The Stand by Stephen King
    Ghost Story, Shadowland by Peter Straub
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  5. #5
    First lily of summer AW Moderator Calla Lily's Avatar
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    I'll add on, since many of my "musts' are already listed:

    We Have Always Lived In the Castle -- Shirley Jackson
    At the Mountains of Madness, "The Shadow Out of Innsmouth," "The Colour Out of Space" -- HP Lovecraft
    The King in Yellow -- Robert W. Chambers
    On the Beach -- Nevil Shute
    The House on the Borderland -- William Hope Hodgson
    "The Beckoning Fair One" -- Oliver Onions
    "Oh Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" - M.R. James

  6. #6
    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    Winter Moon, Darkfall, Strangers, Midnight, Demon Seed, and Phantoms by Dean Koontz.

    On a side note Phantoms is one of those books that literally left me shaking by the end.

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  7. #7
    @LeaveItToIan IDGS's Avatar
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    Great suggestions, all! I don't have anything to add - just appreciate the incredible list!


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    * WAITING JACKALS (II/III) - Severed Press - AVAILABLE HERE!
    * CRIMSON LETTERS FROM KANDAHAR PROVINCE - Wild Wolf Publishing - AVAILABLE HERE!
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  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW donatos's Avatar
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    Great thread! The original poster did such a great job covering so many bases I will just throw in some spices to the already fantastic ingredient list.

    Wolfen by Whitley Streiber
    The Dead Zone by Stephen King (practically every novel he did from 70's to mid 80s)
    Interview with a vampire, the vampire Lestat by Anne Rice (don't care how much vampires annoy real horror fans now, these books were smokin'!)
    I am Legend by Richard Mathieson (get an edition chalk full of his short stories, or go out and get the stories)
    The Keep by F. Paul Wilson
    Urban Gothic, Castaways by Brian Keene
    Faery Tale by Raymond E. Feist
    The longest single note by Peter Crowther
    The Walking by Bentley Little
    Last edited by donatos; 12-13-2010 at 08:50 AM.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW donatos's Avatar
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    The horror field is so rich which is why it's tragic when books go out of print or you can't find anything in the bookstores. There's just sooo much.

  10. #10
    World Class Rambler EFCollins's Avatar
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    I'm adding all suggested reading to the original post... if y'all notice any dupes, let me know. I tried to keep the duplicates from being double posted. Thanks for helping me compile this list, everyone. It'll be great for our forum to have... especially when one of us is looking for something to read.
    Ze name iz... Effie

    The 2011 Horror Hounds Celebration and Contest is here!

    Quote Originally Posted by sunandshadow View Post
    The problem's not the genre, the problem is that people are idiots.
    I finally got 700 monkeys! Now... all I need is 700 typewriters and a way to live for 700 years.

    Blog!

    Quote Originally Posted by EFCollins View Post
    WHO ATE MY SEVERED HANDS????
    Quote Originally Posted by Leukman View Post
    They're in the stew.

  11. #11
    First lily of summer AW Moderator Calla Lily's Avatar
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    Effie, you're a gem. Thank you.

  12. #12
    defying grabbity Thump's Avatar
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    I'll add "The Dreams in the Witch House" and "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" by H.P. Lovecraft to the list, two of my favourites!

    Not a novel but still needing to be read, "The Black Cat" by Poe and I'd say "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, I know, not usually classified as Horror but I still think it has a certain horrifying quality and I find it unsettling.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
    I'd say the main lesson to take from Stephen King's working life is: He's never stopped working. He's written sober. He's written drunk. He's written while recovering from horrendous injuries. He's written while working maggotty laundry jobs. He's written on long after he could have snuggled down into his royalties for the rest of his life.

    Damn good lesson, that.

  13. #13
    Evil, undead Chihuahua SuperModerator Haggis's Avatar
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    What? No Robert McCammon books? No Jack Ketchum books?

    Here are two must reads from McCammon: Swan Song and Boy's Life. And from Ketchum, The Girl Next Door is a must read for anyone interested in psychological horror. It's also the only book I ever recommend with a warning. It discusses child abuse in detail, and if that's something you cannot stomach, do not read this book.
    Quote Originally Posted by Curlz View Post
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  14. #14
    First lily of summer AW Moderator Calla Lily's Avatar
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    Thanks for the warning, little undead Krampus. I will avoid The Girl Next Door. My kind of horror is demons or ghosts or vampires or nuclear war, not the true horror I see too often in the headlines.

    /soapbox.

    I forgot about Swan Song. Very good book.

  15. #15
    Evil, undead Chihuahua SuperModerator Haggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by callalily61 View Post

    I forgot about Swan Song. Very good book.
    Swan Song never got the props it should have had because of King's The Stand. It's a shame. I think Swan Song is a better book.
    Quote Originally Posted by Curlz View Post
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  16. #16
    World Class Rambler EFCollins's Avatar
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    Your suggestions have been added, Puppy. I'm not huge on Ketchum, but have to agree with the McCammon books. And besides, what I may not find interesting, someone else might. This is a list for all of us.

    I'm trying to remember a title from Jayne Krentz I recently read that was incredible non-supernatural horror (well, slightly... it does have a psychic element to it) but I can't remember the title.
    Ze name iz... Effie

    The 2011 Horror Hounds Celebration and Contest is here!

    Quote Originally Posted by sunandshadow View Post
    The problem's not the genre, the problem is that people are idiots.
    I finally got 700 monkeys! Now... all I need is 700 typewriters and a way to live for 700 years.

    Blog!

    Quote Originally Posted by EFCollins View Post
    WHO ATE MY SEVERED HANDS????
    Quote Originally Posted by Leukman View Post
    They're in the stew.

  17. #17
    Evil, undead Chihuahua SuperModerator Haggis's Avatar
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    Different strokes, Effie. Ketchum and McCammon are my two favorite horror writers. Bentley Little and Stephen King would be there too if they consistently wrote better endings.

    BTW, we should probably have some King short stories on that list. He's an even better short story writer than he is a novelist in my opinion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Curlz View Post
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  18. #18
    World Class Rambler EFCollins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis View Post
    Different strokes, Effie. Ketchum and McCammon are my two favorite horror writers. Bentley Little and Stephen King would be there too if they consistently wrote better endings.

    BTW, we should probably have some King short stories on that list. He's an even better short story writer than he is a novelist in my opinion.
    I have to agree. I'm a big King fangurl and have been since I was a kid.But short stories are definitely his strong suit.

    He still writes a damn good novel. The ending in "Lisey's Story" was all I could ask for. But generally, his short stories are better. I agree with that.

    I have to go shopping for more Christmas cheer (vodka and egg nog! YES! Well, and more prezzies too) here shortly, but I'll compile a list of short stories and anthos to put up there too. To be honest, I love horror short stories. It makes me giggle like a school-girl when I get a book full of short stories.
    Ze name iz... Effie

    The 2011 Horror Hounds Celebration and Contest is here!

    Quote Originally Posted by sunandshadow View Post
    The problem's not the genre, the problem is that people are idiots.
    I finally got 700 monkeys! Now... all I need is 700 typewriters and a way to live for 700 years.

    Blog!

    Quote Originally Posted by EFCollins View Post
    WHO ATE MY SEVERED HANDS????
    Quote Originally Posted by Leukman View Post
    They're in the stew.

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW
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    The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. This one creeped the heck out of me just by showing what wasn't there if that makes sense.

    Salem's Lot by Stephen King
    It by Stephen King
    Last edited by brainstorm77; 12-14-2010 at 04:27 AM.

  20. #20
    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    Damn, now you've gone and done it. I have to go home this evening and dig out my horror collection and see which books haven't been mentioned here yet.

    That's going to take me all night.


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  21. #21
    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    I see that The Call of Cthulhu hasn't been mentioned yet. Classic Lovecraftian horror.

    There's also Out Of The Deeps and The Day Of The Triffids by John Wyndham for post-apocalyptic horror/SF crossovers.

    Way back when I was a wee lad reading things the librarians thought I shouldn't be there was a novel called Wind whose author I cannot now recall <searching> Nope, it wasn't Scarborough's.

    The Edge of Running Water by William Sloane is another one that deserves higher praise.

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  22. #22
    Been there, Done that.
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    Our Lady of Darkness by Fritz Leiber
    I think my siggy is haunted. O.O

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW donatos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis View Post
    What? No Robert McCammon books? No Jack Ketchum books?

    Here are two must reads from McCammon: Swan Song and Boy's Life. And from Ketchum, The Girl Next Door is a must read for anyone interested in psychological horror. It's also the only book I ever recommend with a warning. It discusses child abuse in detail, and if that's something you cannot stomach, do not read this book.
    Darn, I was just browsing the used book store and found a number of McCammon titles in hardback but couldn't remember which you recommended...Now I see they had both of those there. Have to make another trip, I guess.

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW donatos's Avatar
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    BTW, just thought of another title, Nightwalker by Thomas Tessier.
    Last edited by donatos; 12-15-2010 at 09:24 PM.

  25. #25
    conducting hijinks Debbie's Avatar
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    I loved Midnight Dean K. Glad you brought that up FOTS.

    The Bad Place Dean Koontz
    That book scared the crap out of me. I brought it to the used book store, couldn't have it in my house.

    Awesome thread Effie.

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