October 31, 2010

Sunday Book Thread: Monsters!
— Monty

It's Halloween, which means I'm almost obligated to do a horror-themed book thread, and yet I haven't read a horror novel in years and years. The quality of that subgenre has never been particularly high, but the last decade or so has seen "horror" novels become subsumed under other genres: fantasy, romance (as in the Twilight books), sci-fi, what have you.

So while I will link some of my old favorites, the commenters might be better-equipped to suggest new authors.

Let's begin with (inevitably) Stephen King. He hasn't written any actual horror novels in decades -- nearly all of what he writes is either fantasy or sci-fi of some kind. But his early novels are still stellar examples of the horror form. My favorites have always been 'Salem's Lot, The Shining, and The Dead Zone (though again, The Dead Zone isn't really a horror novel). Some would add The Stand, but while much of that book is very good, a lot of it is horrible -- it's a bad book and a good book rolled up into a single mediocre book.

Peter Straub has always been a favorite of mine, and I've never understood why his popularity never reached that of his sometime-collaborator Stephen King. His early novel Ghost Story is a masterful story, and Shadowland is another good read. Straub is simply a better writer than King is, and his horror depends more on atmosphere and pacing than King's stuff. Straub's thrillers are even better than his horror novels: Koko is one of the best thrillers of the past forty years, in my view.

If you like horror in a sci-fi milieu, I've recommended George R. R. Martin's Nightflyers many times in past threads. His vampire novel Fevre Dream is a good one, too.

If you like rather old-fashioned ghost stories, you'd probably like Robert Aickman's Cold Hand in Mine.

If you like the bloody, chunks 'o' flesh kind of horror, you'd probably like Clive Barker's Books of Blood. (One of these stories formed the basis of the Hellraiser films: The Hellbound Heart.)

For more recent stuff, I'd say that Douglas Clegg's Neverland was the best ghost story I've come across.

If you like your zombies, you can't do any better than Max Brooks' World War Z, which is written documentary-style. It's an excellent book even if you're not normally interested in this kind of thing. (Word has it that a movie version of the book is due for release soon.)

I'm not singling out any of Lovecraft's stuff because all you Morons already know that stuff is great, right? But a writer in the "Cthulhu mythos" you may not know is Arthur Machen, who wrote a great story called The Great God Pan. Recommended if you like this kind of thing. Robert Bloch and Clark Ashton Smith have also done some really good stories -- there are lots of collections out there.

Happy Halloween, Morons!

Posted by: Monty at 04:49 AM | Comments (155)
Post contains 495 words, total size 5 kb.

1 King did write Cell recently, which is sort of a horror novel (zombies). I forgot about that one.

Posted by: Monty at October 31, 2010 04:57 AM (o2hlb)

2 Speaking of zombies, it seems Lisa M might be coming back from the dead. I would rather have the Democrat take the seat than Lisa M. I'm also thinking that I'd rather keep the Dems in the majority in the Senate. It takes away some ammo from Obama.

Posted by: Joffen at October 31, 2010 05:02 AM (Mf3m7)

3 If you want good old fashioned monster horror, try Guy N. Smith's "Crabs" novels....

Posted by: richard mcenroe at October 31, 2010 05:06 AM (LFAxM)

4 Best Stephen King novel, hands down?  Salem's Lot, hands down.

Posted by: CoolCzech at October 31, 2010 05:10 AM (tJjm/)

5 Robert McCammon has written some great horror/dark fantasy novels and short stories including Usher's Passing, Gone South, Boys' Life and Nightcrawlers.

Posted by: Pete at October 31, 2010 05:10 AM (F+NYH)

6 3 If you want good old fashioned monster horror, try Guy N. Smith's "Crabs" novels....

Posted by: richard mcenroe at October 31, 2010 10:06 AM (LFAxM)

Crabs?  As an ecologically minded soul, I fret that the outburst of lady shaving out there has denuded crabs' natural environment.  That makes crabs an endangered species.  Ladies, remember your crabs and always leave at least a short landing strip!

Posted by: CoolCzech at October 31, 2010 05:12 AM (tJjm/)

7 The Shining and Salem's Lot will still be read a hundred years from now.

I've never read Lovecraft.Where should I start? In fact, give me books 1, 2 and 3. Thanks!

Posted by: schizuki at October 31, 2010 05:13 AM (M+lbD)

8 You can add Cujo to that list of Stephen King horror classics.  Not his best, but not bad at all.
And if you're looking for something quick to sink your teeth into, you can do worse than Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. (My post, with a link to the entire short story online, here.)

Posted by: Giacomo at October 31, 2010 05:14 AM (cMXSg)

9 Best horror novel of ALL times, bar NONE, is of course Dracula.

Posted by: CoolCzech at October 31, 2010 05:14 AM (tJjm/)

10 "Pigeons From Hell" is a terrific short horror story written by Conan creator Robert E. Howard.  Boris Karloff adapted it for his 60s TV show "Thriller" and it was considered the best episode of the series.  Steven King called it "one of the finest horror stories of our century."

Posted by: CrustyB at October 31, 2010 05:15 AM (qzgbP)

11 I've never read Lovecraft.Where should I start? You'll get his best stuff in this collection.

Posted by: Monty at October 31, 2010 05:16 AM (o2hlb)

12 King has always injected his liberalism into his books but in <i>Cell</i> he was so blatant and over-the-top about it that I've literally not read anything of his since.

Posted by: Bordo at October 31, 2010 05:16 AM (OB++w)

13 Fall of The House of Usher is a singularly dreary and desolate read... a true horror classic.

Posted by: CoolCzech at October 31, 2010 05:17 AM (tJjm/)

14

I just got Straub's A Dark Matter from the library and couldn't finish.  Smarmy asswipes struggling with vague memories of vague horrifying event bloated by "lyrical" sentence construction and blurred characterization...ugh.

Posted by: Gem at October 31, 2010 05:18 AM (zw+pb)

15

FUCK YEAH!!!

The Sarahcuda is talking about the media concoting the false stories up in AK...she mentioned the CBS reporters caught on tape conspiring to make up shit and smear Miller

Posted by: beedubya at October 31, 2010 05:18 AM (AnTyA)

16 @12: I stopped reading King once he became he's a literary genius with deep, deep themes conserving mankind's place in the universe to teach his  readers.  I stopped reading him after I felt I wasted my time reading The Stand.

Posted by: CoolCzech at October 31, 2010 05:19 AM (tJjm/)

17 edit to post 16: once he became convinced he's a literary genius.

Posted by: CoolCzech at October 31, 2010 05:20 AM (tJjm/)

18 King has always injected his liberalism into his books Well, he's a very liberal guy, but at least in his early books it wasn't so blatant. What bothered me more is that King just got lazy: he used the same themes, plot devices, and stock characters over and over and over again. (Firestarter was a mix of Carrie and The Dead Zone, for example.) In King's world, Christians are always evil or crazy, black folks are gentle redeemers (Mother Abigail in The Stand and John Coffee in The Green Mile), and you can solve all your problems by just blowing everything up (or burning it down) at the end. Every book he wrote for awhile ended up with an entire town being blown up or burned down. (In The Stand he goes one better by nuking an entire city.) He was always kind of a hack, but at least early on he was a fun-to-read hack. But since his accident, he's gotten rather bitter and preachy, and that makes for bad books.

Posted by: Monty at October 31, 2010 05:22 AM (o2hlb)

19 Ah the horror genre, fitting for today.

Best horror novel of ALL times, bar NONE, is of course Dracula.

Posted by: CoolCzech at October 31, 2010 10:14 AM (tJjm/)

I'll second that. I first read that book when I was in the 7th grade in Middle School. I actually took it to school and hid it behind one of my textbooks and read it in class. I simply could not put it down.

As for Steven King, the only book I liked of his was The Stand and you had to ignore his liberal anti-military claptrap.

And if you are looking for something vampirish like Twilight, just not as hard into the romance angle, try the new series by S. M. Stirling that starts with "A Taint In The Blood".


Posted by: Vic at October 31, 2010 05:25 AM (/jbAw)

20 It by Stephen King is tremendous, as are his short story collections. For those that love Salem's Lot there is a great epilogue to it in the Night Shift collection called One For The Road.

Posted by: Dudley Smith at October 31, 2010 05:28 AM (/w9up)

21

A lot of Dean Koontz could be considered horror, though suspense would more accurately describe what he does. He's a very good writer -- not in the sense that he comes up with great stories, but he can tell the stories he comes up with really well. His chases scenes are the best around.

Watchers was a very good read, though not really horror. Hideaway was horror-y enough to fit in the genre; also quite good. The Face is a good book for Halloween.

As a bonus, he's limited his forays into series, the "Frankenstein" books and "Odd" books being his only two. Anything without those words in the title is stand-alone, so there's no commitment beyond the single book.

(Friendly advice: Koontz is always an easy read, so stick with the books. Never, ever watch a movie that claims to be based on a book by Dean Koontz.)

Posted by: FireHorse at October 31, 2010 05:31 AM (sWynj)

22 @20: my problem with "It" was that the Great Reveal at the end was such a letdown.  King built up expectations of what It really looked like to the point he could not come up with anything that wasn't a letdown.

Posted by: CoolCzech at October 31, 2010 05:31 AM (tJjm/)

23 I do have to say that Pet Sematary was scary as hell... you could see every development in the story coming from a mile away, but that just made it all the scarier.  That was probably his last really good book, to my mind.

Posted by: CoolCzech at October 31, 2010 05:33 AM (tJjm/)

24 I suppose I ought to mention F. Paul Wilson's "Repairman Jack" novels again -- they're not exactly horror, but they do usually involve some supernatural elements. They're great fun.

Posted by: Monty at October 31, 2010 05:34 AM (o2hlb)

25 I was pretty sure this would be your motif for today, Monty, so I thought of some really creepy writers that aren't considered "horror writers" per se (btw, I agree on Straub but it's been a long time). William Gass's "The Pedersen Kid" from "In the Heart of the Heart of the Country" is some flat out scary shit. Also Paul Bowles's stories are weirdly creepy in a truly unique kind of way; I don't imagine CAIR would take too kindly too them. Roald Dahl's stories can be pretty weird as well; but you already knew that I'm sure. On Halloween music (which your reading threads usually encompass), two annual plays in chez Hate are Olivier Messiaen's "Meditations Sur Le Mystere de La Sainte Trinite" with Christopher Bowers-Broadbent playing a massive fucking organ that the stupid liners don't identify (very unlike ECM although this was a kraut import, and they usually are extremely anal about documentation); and Harry Partch's "The Bewitched". Regarding non-Halloween reading, I finally finished book 4 of Gibbon last night. I hadn't realized what a hero Heraclius was; at least he was to Gibbon's accounting and I realize that a lot of what he believed was subsequently debunked although I don't think that's the case here. He might have to replace Constantine in my personal hierarchy. Earlier I started Mario Vargas Llosa's "Conversation in the Cathedral" which I've meant to read for a long time and finally pulled the trigger. Nice job of interweaving various conversation strings among each other so that you're constantly thinking "who's talking to whom" but it holds together in a Joycean way. The only other book by him I've read was "The War of the End of the World" which I didn't like so much when I read it but that was a long time ago and I was a lot dumber. Although maybe it just wasn't good.

Posted by: Captain Hate at October 31, 2010 05:34 AM (kjpei)

26 i had a book when i was 8 or 9 and it was about scary but "true" ghost stories....it had one about a man in an elevator... vampires.. ..an airplane....this book scared me......i would have to hide it before i went to sleep

Posted by: phoenixgirl at October 31, 2010 05:35 AM (eOXTH)

27 Oh and "Dracula" is a book that creeps you out if you read it and you're living by yourself.

Posted by: Captain Hate at October 31, 2010 05:35 AM (kjpei)

28 I am pleased that St Steven of the Stupid Politics isn't being worshiped here. As many have already said, his early stuff was sometimes excellent (Salem's Lot is a great vampire story), but he became self-derivative and repetitive, and it got boring, at least for me.

And Monty, you nailed his hierarchy!

Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo ( NJConservative) at October 31, 2010 05:37 AM (LH6ir)

29 That would be "Stephen."

No coffee yet -- sorry.

Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo ( NJConservative) at October 31, 2010 05:37 AM (LH6ir)

30 27 Oh and "Dracula" is a book that creeps you out if you read it and you're living by yourself.

Posted by: Captain Hate at October 31, 2010 10:35 AM (kjpei)


Let's just say I always pulled the blanket up over my neck long after I first read it.

Posted by: CoolCzech at October 31, 2010 05:38 AM (tJjm/)

31 O/T Sarah Palin was awesome on FNS. Catch it again at 2 eastern on the news channel. Held firm on taxes and destroyed CBS reporters as corrupt bastards while slamming the princess.

Posted by: dagny at October 31, 2010 05:39 AM (yLCsy)

32 By far the best horror novel I've read in a decade is Dan Simmons' Terror. I can still feel the cold on that ship, and picture the horror of being stalked by that...thing. Seriously creepy. His Carrion Comfort arguably fits into the horror genre, and is an excellent book, but if you define horror narrowly as that which gives you chills and makes it hard for you to sleep, Terror wins hands-down.

Posted by: Splunge at October 31, 2010 05:39 AM (NhFwQ)

33 The great lesson of Dracula and Salem's Lot, of course, is never invite a vampire into your house.  You should also never invite Ace, unless you don't mind stains on your furniture, but King never got around to finishing his manuscript for Ewok.

Posted by: CoolCzech at October 31, 2010 05:41 AM (tJjm/)

34

King has always injected his liberalism into his books but in Cell he was so blatant and over-the-top about it that I've literally not read anything of his since.

What, like ...

She was overcome by a fresh wave a dread. Having suffered a dozen lacerations at the hands of her tormentor and a sprained ankle during her escape, she finally limped and crawled her way to the hospital. She had abandoned her wallet at her abductor's lair. Without her insurance card, she knew she wouldn't receive the medical treatment she desperately needed. If only the Republicans hadn't stood in the way of healthcare reform, she thought before fading into unconsciousness beneath the headlights of the approaching ambulance. ...

Posted by: FireHorse at October 31, 2010 05:41 AM (sWynj)

35

Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International and Monster Hunter Vendetta are good.  Monsters (vampires, werewolves, trolls, gnomes, demons, etc.,) are as nasty as they traditionally were, not romanticized as in Ann Rice or Twilight.

MHI is a private security firm that works with a secret division of the FBI and other national security agencies to chase down monsters. Action, occasionally gory, but with a bit of wit.  Correia loves, and knows guns, too.

Posted by: Rosley at October 31, 2010 05:43 AM (rz09q)

36 O/T Sarah Palin was awesome on FNS. Catch it again at 2 eastern on the news channel. Held firm on taxes and destroyed CBS reporters as corrupt bastards while slamming the princess.

Posted by: dagny at October 31, 2010 10:39 AM (yLCsy)

How can any conservative not love her?  She is relentlessly optimistic about the future as she frags the opponents with a smile on her face.

Posted by: Captain Hate at October 31, 2010 05:44 AM (kjpei)

37 I'll second Dan Simmon's Terror! and his Song of Kali is really really scary. "The Descent" by Jeff Long is really really creepy.

Posted by: BlackOrchid at October 31, 2010 05:46 AM (SB0V2)

38 And Monty, you nailed his hierarchy! I've become convinced over the years that King only had about four real novel ideas in his entire life, and his career has been a series of different takes on those four basic ideas. And as his novels got ever longer and more turgid, his weaknesses as a writer get more glaring. He can describe and describe and describe; explain and explain and explain; spawn off subplots; but he finds it impossible to nail an image or scene with the kind of clarity that a really good writer can. He has a lousy sense of metaphor and simile. And he relies so heavily on the deus ex machina because he tends to plot his characters into situations he can't figure out how to get them back out of. His villains all have the same problems as James Bond villains -- they yak and yak until the hero figures out some way to kill them. For a guy who professes to love Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, he sure didn't learn much from James' economy of style or habit of suggesting horrible things rather than just throwing them in your face.

Posted by: Monty at October 31, 2010 05:46 AM (o2hlb)

39

If we're going to have politics and horror in the same thread --

I remember reading in the Weekly World News years ago that a man in Haiti claimed he wasn't allowed to hold public office because he was undead. He filed an anti-discrimination suit in court, but I never learned how that was resolved.

Does anyone know what happened with his case?

Posted by: FireHorse at October 31, 2010 05:46 AM (sWynj)

40 recent? Joe Hill: "Heart Shaped Box"

Posted by: Frank G at October 31, 2010 05:47 AM (4X0aT)

41 39 Yeah. He's the senator from Conn

Posted by: dagny at October 31, 2010 05:48 AM (yLCsy)

42

Does anyone know what happened with his case?

It got decided by a hung jury. Literally.

I'm here all week, try the veal.

Posted by: BackwardsBoy at October 31, 2010 05:49 AM (3jxR/)

43 man in Haiti claimed he wasn't allowed to hold public office because he was undead. ...

Does anyone know what happened with his case?

That must have been the corpse-man assisting in the earthquake relief efforts that Ogabe was talking about

Posted by: beedubya at October 31, 2010 05:50 AM (AnTyA)

44

The classics are still the best. Stoker, Lovecraft, early King. One worth taking a look at would be August Derleth. He was a good friend of Lovecraft's and did work on his own.

I would throw Rosemary's Baby into the mix. Good book, and the movie follows it almost word for word.  Other than that, don't have much. Haven't read much of pure horror lately, but I suppose if I wanted to get scared sh*tless, I could pick up Dreams From My Father.

Posted by: bigred at October 31, 2010 05:50 AM (cX9pO)

45 King's early stuff is best, and It is fantastic, as well as his short stories. His new stuff, frankly, blows. The best of his new books is Duma Key, which is a large departure for him: the book takes place in the Florida Keys instead of Maine, and the main character is a contractor rather than a writer. Straub is good but A Dark Matter blows. Doesn't really have a point and just kind of...ends...Other than that it's really hit or miss with horror novels. Shirley Jackson and Richard Matheson are great though, especially Prey and I Am Legend by Matheson.

Posted by: Alex #11 at October 31, 2010 05:51 AM (G3NNO)

46 William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist is an excellent novel. The movie is a pretty faithful adaptation, but the book provides more exposition on exactly how Merrin and Pazuzu came to "cross swords" (as it were) before. It is a truly creepy and frightening book.

Posted by: Monty at October 31, 2010 05:52 AM (o2hlb)

47 The Exorcist is pretty damn scary to read also

Posted by: Captain Hate at October 31, 2010 05:52 AM (kjpei)

48

Monty

Your mention of T.S. Eliot's "Hollow Men" led to my reading "Heart of Darkness" by Conrad. I found it in pdf form for free on line. I then found another short story I wanted to read called "Who Goes There" by John Cambell. That is the story John Carpenter based "The Thing" on.

 

  

Posted by: maddogg at October 31, 2010 05:53 AM (KGaxE)

49 I did like King's "Desperation", but even that was 14 yrs ago. Tak!

Posted by: Frank G at October 31, 2010 05:53 AM (4X0aT)

50 For a different type of Horror, try an old favorite of mine:

"Alas, Babylon" by Pat Frank.

Posted by: TXMarko at October 31, 2010 05:53 AM (wPZ3f)

51

(Friendly advice: Koontz is always an easy read, so stick with the books. Never, ever watch a movie that claims to be based on a book by Dean Koontz.)

Posted by: FireHorse at October 31, 2010 10:31 AM (sWynj)

I have no idea how he votes but his books are certainly consistent with conservative philosophy, not least of which is the second amendment.  His book One Door Away From Heaven has several villains but the biggest villain may well be a character based on Peter Singer, the "ethicist" and his Nazi-like approach to human life.

Posted by: WalrusRex at October 31, 2010 05:53 AM (cf4iO)

52 World War Z by Max Brooks was one of the better Zombie books I've read in a long time

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 05:53 AM (XXRI4)

53 Horror novels suck in general as they rely on supernatural explanations; fantasy novels fall into the same trap.
 
For real horror stories, read ZeroHedge.

Posted by: GnuBreed at October 31, 2010 05:54 AM (h0RtZ)

54 I also fondly remember King's short story "The Long Walk".

I nominate Stephen King to the "Best Horror Author to be Hit by a Car and Live" category...

Posted by: TXMarko at October 31, 2010 05:55 AM (wPZ3f)

55

I read The Exorcist when the movie came out. Good and scary, and didn't lose too much in the transition to cinema. Same for The Stand, book first, then movie.

Eventually I graduated to the really, genuinely scary stuff.

Politics.

Posted by: BackwardsBoy at October 31, 2010 05:55 AM (3jxR/)

56 "And he relies so heavily on the deus ex machina"

-------------------

I can't remember how the book The Stand ended, but at the end of the miniseries, they literally showed the "hand of God." It must have been a joke by the director.

Posted by: schizuki at October 31, 2010 05:57 AM (M+lbD)

57 42

Does anyone know what happened with his case?

It got decided by a hung jury. Literally.


Thanks.  We do get compliments.

*Dropping our pants*

Posted by: The Jury at October 31, 2010 05:58 AM (tJjm/)

58 "But since his accident, he's gotten rather bitter and preachy"

---------------

The accident, or sobering up? I think you can track where he went on the wagon by where "The Dark Tower" series begins to suck serious ass.

Posted by: schizuki at October 31, 2010 05:59 AM (M+lbD)

59

21 ...(Friendly advice: Koontz is always an easy read, so stick with the books. Never, ever watch a movie that claims to be based on a book by Dean Koontz.)

Posted by: FireHorse at October 31, 2010 10:31 AM (sWynj)

 

Actually, I thought they did a pretty good job of Phantoms

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 06:00 AM (XXRI4)

60
I nominate Stephen King to the "Best Horror Author to be Hit by a Car and Live" category...

I don't think I can agree because Treacher writes about Democrats a lot.

Posted by: Ed Anger at October 31, 2010 06:00 AM (7+pP9)

61

I have no idea how [Dean Koontz] votes but his books are certainly consistent with conservative philosophy, not least of which is the second amendment.

He knows about firearms, for sure.

As far as his politics, I've heard it said that cats would vote for Democrats and dogs would vote for Republicans. Koontz is definitely a dog lover.

Posted by: FireHorse at October 31, 2010 06:01 AM (sWynj)

62

As far as his politics, I've heard it said that cats would vote for Democrats and dogs would vote for Republicans. Koontz is definitely a dog lover.

Posted by: FireHorse at October 31, 2010 11:01 AM (sWynj)

 

I likes me some kittehs, I'm Conservative

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 06:03 AM (XXRI4)

63 I think you can track where he went on the wagon by where "The Dark Tower" series begins to suck serious ass. There might be something to that. Up through The Waste Lands, I thought the books were quite good. After that...a wet load of monkey-puke. Randall Flagg, the most evil dude in King's universe, deserved a better send-off. The Dark Tower books were just a big "fuck you" from King to his readers. He was tired of them, didn't want to write them, had no real idea of how to take the story forward, so he basically wrote a bunch of stuff deliberately calculated to piss off everyone who liked the earlier books. (And that shit with Father Callahan was just stupid, and pointless.)

Posted by: Monty at October 31, 2010 06:05 AM (o2hlb)

64 Thanks for the link, Monty. Pretty cool that the Library of America not only has Lovecraft, but Philip K. Dick as well.

Posted by: schizuki at October 31, 2010 06:06 AM (M+lbD)

65

I likes me some kittehs, I'm Conservative

Me, too.

So did Emile Zola, Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee, by the way.

>^^<

Posted by: FireHorse at October 31, 2010 06:09 AM (sWynj)

66

Stephen King did start phoning it in for a long time, no argument here.  However, Under the Dome was pretty good...more like his old self though he was pretty hard on his characters.  It was more a sci-fi than a horror, however.

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 06:10 AM (XXRI4)

67 Pretty cool that the Library of America not only has Lovecraft, but Philip K. Dick as well. The paperbacks are cheaper, but I've got this volume and it's very well-made and will last for many years. Lovecraft deserved a high-quality edition like that. Briam Lumley (of Necroscope fame) has also written some Cthulhu Mythos stuff starring a charachter named Titus Crow. They align with Lovecraft's "Dream Cycle" stories rather than the Cthulhu Mythos proper.

Posted by: Monty at October 31, 2010 06:11 AM (o2hlb)

68

My favorite Stephen Kings are The Shining and It.  I do really like the way King writes children.  I have to say that Pet Sematary was horrifying enough that I have never read it a second time as I have with many of his books.  I haven't read Cell, but I did start Duma Key and got to a point where the main character and one of his neighbors start making fun of people who listen to talk radio so I put it back on the stack.  Someday one of the critters will knock the stack over and I will move it to the bag for Goodwill.

For more recent vampire fiction, I liked Midnight Mass by F. Paul Wilson of Repairman Jack fame.  It's all-out war

Posted by: Tonestaple at October 31, 2010 06:13 AM (KvoAj)

69

Stephen King once pointed out that it's the tale that's important, not the one who tells it. Sometime after that, King's work seemed to become all about himself, trying to impress me with the greatness of his mind and his writing.

(Digressing: Who'd win in a fight between Christine and the Buick 8?)

Posted by: FireHorse at October 31, 2010 06:22 AM (sWynj)

70 recent? Joe Hill: "Heart Shaped Box"

Joe Hill is actually Stephen Kings son, but the one that writes a much better book than his dad. I am am not into horror like I was when I was a teen, but I decided to check that book out at the library. I was so freaked out, I will not read any more of his books. I was creepified!


Posted by: Stormy70 at October 31, 2010 06:27 AM (aj98S)

71 In the "bloody chunks" category, one of the most fucked up things I've ever read is Wet Bones, by John Shirley.    Violence, semi-Cthulu supernatural creatures, rapey mind-controlled sex and murder (combined).  Really fucked up.  Maybe not the most well written book ever, but one of the most creatively violent things I've ever read.  It's like death metal in book form.

Posted by: JasonF at October 31, 2010 06:28 AM (6Z19t)

72 The Haunting by Shirley Jackson. The original film is great too.

Shirley Jackson really freaks me out, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is another creepy novel she wrote, and who could forget the short story The Lottery which really put me off 'quaint' little out of the way villages.

All her novels are basically the templates for modern horror flicks.

She rawks in that uber creepy way.

Posted by: ginaswo at October 31, 2010 06:39 AM (P+t8f)

73 It may already be listed, but try "The Terror" by Dan Simmons.

Posted by: eman at October 31, 2010 06:40 AM (5/qO3)

74 Dan Simmons. He's rather eclectic in his range, but his horror is first rate. In particular, Carrion Comfort and Summer of the Night. That last is awesome. Great characters, ridiculously well developed story line and nasty, nasty bad guys. His follow-up to it, A Winter Haunting was kinda mailed in, but an enjoyable read nonetheless. If you want to branch out on him, and love hard sci-fi with really good characters and plot, then go for the Hyperion/Endymion series. Some of the best sci-fi writing out there, to this day. I absolutely fell in love with the characters, and the imagination he brings to bear is formidable. If I could write half as well as Simmons, I'd die a happy man. Really.

Posted by: NukemHill at October 31, 2010 06:45 AM (7WLzC)

75 My favorite monster stories are all found in folklore and fairy tales. That may seem a weird place to find a really satisfying yarn about evil, but quantity makes up for lack of length, and some of the stuff is really out of this world. I spent a lot of time reading folklore when I was writing my own book, and I tell you, some of the things people came up with hundreds of years ago are way creepier than anything Stephen King ever invented.

Posted by: Tungsten Monk at October 31, 2010 06:46 AM (CfDPe)

76 I've not gotten to The Terror yet. It's on my list. I've heard great things about it.

Posted by: NukemHill at October 31, 2010 06:47 AM (7WLzC)

77 Stormy - I didn't know he was King's son. Dad could learn something

Posted by: Frank G at October 31, 2010 06:48 AM (4X0aT)

78 As far as Clive Barker goes, even though it's not strictly horror, I'd still throw Weaveworld into the mix. One of my all-time favorite books. Absolutely has horror elements in it, even though it is much more easily categorized as fantasy. I think it is Barker's best, although Imajica is right up there, too. His is truly one of the most demented minds I've ever had the pleasure of reading. His latter stuff hasn't done too much for me, but he really swung for the fences early in his career.

Posted by: NukemHill at October 31, 2010 06:52 AM (7WLzC)

79 Let me tell you a true story. My wife's mom and dad are from Maine and her mom went to a King book signing when Salem's Lot came out. She got a 1st print signed by King and many years later it was handed down to my wife.
One night I was reading it and the power went out. At the time we had some old oil lamps we used just for these moments. So with one of the lamps burning at my side on an end table and me in my recliner I started to read where I left off. Just as I got to one of the parts in the book where a vampire was tapping on a window my neighbor and our friend decided to come over and tap on the window behind my head.
Talk about someones heart..lol.  I don't think I ever jumped out of a chair that fast again.  Our neighbor said she gets scared when the power goes out and its dark.

Posted by: sig at October 31, 2010 07:02 AM (T5Fwu)

80 You had me till World War Z. That was pure crap.

Posted by: Rocks at October 31, 2010 07:04 AM (AoVGn)

81 Dan Simmons'" songs of kali" - rcommended on a previous book thread but worth repeating on Haloween

Posted by: Knemon at October 31, 2010 07:07 AM (4mG/R)

82 I am reading "Valley of Death" by Ted Morgan. Non-fiction, Viet Nam history.

Posted by: rawmuse at October 31, 2010 07:08 AM (DGdDT)

83 Favorite Koontz: Demon Seed (it's like Rosemary's Baby meets Colossus)

Favorite King: The Boogeyman (think it's collected in Night Shift)

Posted by: Blackford Oakes at October 31, 2010 07:17 AM (0IR+C)

84 Maybe I lack the imagination to be a good horror story reader, but the almost none of the traditional "masters" (and I include King in this group) have really been able to scare me since The Shining. Honestly, the only passage that I've read that still gives me the creeps when I think about it is from Lee Child's "Die Trying" when Reacher crawls through the mountain passage and nearly gets stuck. Not coincidentally, the early scene in "The Descent" when the women crawl through that narrow passage was waaaay creepier to me than anything that happened after the monsters appeared.

Posted by: Greg at October 31, 2010 07:24 AM (iZV52)

85 Posted by: WalrusRex at October 31, 2010 10:53 AM (cf4iO)

Koontz is a confirmed GOP donor.

Posted by: Blackford Oakes at October 31, 2010 07:27 AM (0IR+C)

86 80 You had me till World War Z. That was pure crap.

Posted by: Rocks at October 31, 2010 12:04 PM (AoVGn)

 

*shrug*...I liked it.  They're supposedly making a movie out of it with Brad Pitt, not that that is a ringing endorsement

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 07:34 AM (XXRI4)

87

Favourite King: The Mist, short story in Skeleton Crew...they made a movie out of it but screwed up the ending.

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 07:35 AM (XXRI4)

88 Favourite King: The Mist
--------------------

Have you seen the movie? It contains the most heavy-handed hackish Iraq war critique in the history of libtardom. Worth checking out just for the goof.

Posted by: Blackford Oakes at October 31, 2010 07:39 AM (0IR+C)

89 I have to agree that Robert McCammon wrote some pretty good horror stuff back a few years ago, although he doesn't write it now.  "Boy's Life" is a great read.  His scariest was not even horror, but a book called "Mine" about a crazy former underground (think Bernie Dohrn) terrorist who steals a baby.  Holy shitski, it was scary. 

Posted by: guys who mow the ditches in OK and KS at October 31, 2010 07:54 AM (No0N3)

90

88 Favourite King: The Mist
--------------------

Have you seen the movie? It contains the most heavy-handed hackish Iraq war critique in the history of libtardom. Worth checking out just for the goof.

Posted by: Blackford Oakes at October 31, 2010 12:39 PM (0IR+C)

I did see the movie...I thought it was pretty true to the short story (which is rarely the case) but the new defeatist ending that the director Frank Darabont) wrote in totally ruined it for me.

Can't really call it an Iraq war critique, the story was written long before Iraq...maybe a Vietnam critique.  I didn't really take the story as anti-military, more like evil government experiments conducted and overseen by the military.

People are calling King a liberal here and he does come from an academic background but he's never struck me as a lover of big government or a socialist in any way.  He certainly does like his money and buying things like radio stations.  So, maybe an old school liberal before the communists took it over

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 07:54 AM (XXRI4)

91 Posted by: guys who mow the ditches in OK and KS

Still wearing last night's old dirty sock.

Posted by: huerfano at October 31, 2010 07:55 AM (No0N3)

92 Robert McCammon was great, then he just upped and quit.

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 08:00 AM (XXRI4)

93 Anyone interested in sampling different (viz., older) writers can find a lot of stories here (Project Gutenburg): 
http://tinyurl.com/2a3696
 
which is a collection of assorted novels, tales &c. available as free out-of-copyright electronic editions.  It has a lot of the "classics", such as Poe, as well as a number of "English country house" type short stories by writers such as M R James and E F Benson.  As it has a lot of other sorts of fiction mixed in it can take some wading through; but the price is certainly right, and some of these stories are not easy to find elsewhere.

Posted by: Gasoline Gus at October 31, 2010 08:03 AM (wxIDn)

94

Can't really call it an Iraq war critique, the story was written long before Iraq...maybe a Vietnam critique.  I didn't really take the story as anti-military, more like evil government experiments conducted and overseen by the military.

Watch it again. The scene where the wise artsy type tries to talk the crooked old hicks out of sending the stupid young cock-sure boys outside...

Posted by: Blackford Oakes at October 31, 2010 08:03 AM (0IR+C)

95 er, my bad you didn't see the movie.

Posted by: Blackford Oakes at October 31, 2010 08:04 AM (0IR+C)

96 Just because a story was written thirty years ago, doesn't mean that its adapted screenplay, written just a few years ago, can't be massaged to include lame Iraq war references.

The film version of V for Vendetta was aimed at George W. Bush even though the original comic series was written during Reagan.

Posted by: Kensington at October 31, 2010 08:06 AM (mEyVv)

97 Oddly, the book that most freaked me out was reading Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians alone around age 13 or so ... the ending left me feeling very alone and paranoid. I read the my Dad's huge bound collection of Sherlock Holmes stories around the same time and the Hound of Baskervilles also frightened me. I read some Stephen King short story collection in high school -- it had the Thinner short story in it -- and that also spooked me. Never read any Stephen King after that, although I do want to read a Dark Tower summary someday just to know what the big deal was.

Posted by: knacker at October 31, 2010 08:07 AM (QcFbt)

98 Robert McCammon was great, then he just upped and quit. Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 01:00 PM

He's written three books in the last few years featuring a young detective, Matthew Corbett:  Speaks the Nightbird, Queen of Bedlam and Mister Slaughter set in the late 17th and early 18th century.  They aren't like his old stuff although there are some supernatural elements, but I have enjoyed them all.

Posted by: huerfano at October 31, 2010 08:08 AM (No0N3)

99 They're supposedly making a movie out of it with Brad Pitt, not that that is a ringing endorsement

------------------------

Huh?

Snatch? Twelve Monkeys? Inglourious Basterds? Troy?

I've never found the guy to be anything less than a very compelling and often extremely funny actor.


Posted by: schizuki at October 31, 2010 08:18 AM (M+lbD)

100 Just a note on Koontz for those that were interested in his political leanings. If you go to Newsmeat and type in Koontz, he has given his political contributions since the late '80s have been entirely to Republicans. Gotta love him. And his female characters always pack heat and know, well, how to use it.

Posted by: The Great and Secret Show at October 31, 2010 08:33 AM (hyDaS)

101

Watch it again. The scene where the wise artsy type tries to talk the crooked old hicks out of sending the stupid young cock-sure boys outside...

Posted by: Blackford Oakes at October 31, 2010 01:03 PM (0IR+C)

 

I did see the movie...once...I was so pissed that they screwed the ending I didn't watch it again.  Might have missed that Iraq reference...dunno if I want to watch it again for that

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 08:35 AM (XXRI4)

102 He's written three books in the last few years featuring a young detective, Matthew Corbett:  Speaks the Nightbird, Queen of Bedlam and Mister Slaughter set in the late 17th and early 18th century.  They aren't like his old stuff although there are some supernatural elements, but I have enjoyed them all.

Posted by: huerfano at October 31, 2010 01:08 PM (No0N3)

 

I did read Speaks the Nightbird...it was not bad.  Not like his old stuff, as you said but was pretty good.

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 08:37 AM (XXRI4)

103 Huh?

Snatch? Twelve Monkeys? Inglourious Basterds? Troy?

I've never found the guy to be anything less than a very compelling and often extremely funny actor.

Posted by: schizuki at October 31, 2010 01:18 PM (M+lbD)

 

He is a good actor but I'm waiting for him to show up beside Chavez any day in a photo op like Sean Penn.

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 08:41 AM (XXRI4)

104 Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia

Posted by: Quilly Mammoth at October 31, 2010 08:42 AM (3WlaW)

105

Another vote for the blowingness of World War Z. So much potential, so little creativity. And the whole scene with the  hispanic maid who is in now charge of her former employer (because the evil rich people don't have any skills for the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse,  don't you know), was just groan-inducing.

I'm sure the movie will be like 'The Day After Tomorrow', but with zombies.

Posted by: negentropy at October 31, 2010 08:49 AM (hJT08)

106 The only really scary King I've read was The Tommyknockers.  The start freaked me out so much, I had to put it down for about six months before being able to pick it up and finish it.  The second half wasn't as scary, though.  It was actually a little disappointing.  His books were about as close to horror as I read for a while, if you don't count Poe and Kafka (who were much better at psychological horror).

Posted by: soulpile is... expendable at October 31, 2010 09:04 AM (afWhQ)

107 oh I thought of a new-ish horror novel I enjoyed-
The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff

a teen terror flick in prose, generic Baird College is emptying out for Thanksgiving break, but a few stalwart students have decided to stay on campus to avoid going home to their dysfunctional families.

 One night, under the influence of booze and drugs, they whip out a ouija board and inadvertently summon what they believe is the spirit of a student who died there decades before.

 In truth, it's something nastier, and the quintet spend the rest of the story desperately trying to send back to the void an evil entity that won't go gently.

it was intended to be a screenplay, I hope it gets produced

Posted by: ginaswo at October 31, 2010 09:05 AM (P+t8f)

108 100. I LOVE Koontz.
You know, his father was a sociopath and tried to kill him.

Made for a writer that knows the true terror of the psychological.

Posted by: ginaswo at October 31, 2010 09:07 AM (P+t8f)

109 Re. Lovecraft: I've always liked The Colour Out of Space, and recommend it to anyone who'd like an intro into his work.  Another one, the name of which I can't remember, about a lonely, eccentric Englishman, who is investigating the explorations of one of his ancestors, and learns something about himself that leads him to suicide . . . I'm trying to avoid revealing a spoiler, can anyone help me with a title?

Posted by: The inexplicable Dr. Julius Strangepork at October 31, 2010 09:08 AM (twq6c)

110 Sort of OT, but sort of not: It's amazing to me how well the movie version of The Exorcist has held up over the years. Still the scariest movie ever made, I think. But (and other people have made this point before me) it's also a powerfully religious film, and maybe that's why it has such power: it believes in God, it believes in the Devil, and it knows the difference between Good and Evil. I can't think of another horror movie (except maybe for Blatty's own Exorcist III) that took the subject of religious belief so seriously. (George Burns said it best in Oh, God!: "The devil you can believe in, but not me, eh?") I think that's why so much horror fiction leaves me unmoved these days: it doesn't even try to understand the deeper philosophies of Good and Evil. Many, I think, have simply given up on "Evil" (with a capital 'E'), and have gone for just "evil" -- ax murderers, sociopaths, the insane, or "monsters" created by genetic mutation or disease. "Goodness", in these chaos-ruled universes, consists mostly of just staying alive. I find that kind of purposelessness...depressing.

Posted by: Monty at October 31, 2010 09:14 AM (o2hlb)

111

I read The Exorcist when I was eleven and I had screaming nightmares for a week.  Heh...maybe my mother shouldn't have been so liberal (in the good sense) regarding montioring our reading choices, but after I read Gone with the Wind at the age of seven, I guess she figured there wasn't much I couldn't handle. However, that was one friggin' terrifying book for a devout little Catholic girl.

Has anyone else read Algernon Blackwood?  His short stories are like horror cozies...Gothic....creepy...atmospheric. I read a compilation of his that I found at used book sale.  Think he may have been v. popular once upon a time, and then faded away?

Posted by: Gem at October 31, 2010 09:17 AM (zw+pb)

112 I always thought the scariest movie I ever saw was The Blob but that is probably because I was young at the time.

Also all those old vampire movies in the 60s. We used to walk to the theater through an old city graveyard and coming back near dark was spooky.

Posted by: Vic at October 31, 2010 09:19 AM (/jbAw)

113 109 I suspect that you mean this one:

http://tinyurl.com/2767bpb

111 Blackwood - his stories are often very strange.  Some of them are here:

http://tinyurl.com/25s434n
http://tinyurl.com/242zybv
http://tinyurl.com/2c7shgj

Posted by: Gasoline Gus at October 31, 2010 09:30 AM (wxIDn)

114 Just found the title of the Lovecraft story I mentioned: Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family.  It is online at hplovecraft [dot] com, along with a lot (all?) of his other work.

Posted by: The inexplicable Dr. Julius Strangepork at October 31, 2010 09:31 AM (twq6c)

115 Ha!  You beat me to it by moments, Gasoline Gus!  Yep, that's it.

Posted by: The inexplicable Dr. Julius Strangepork at October 31, 2010 09:33 AM (twq6c)

116 I LOVE Koontz.
You know, his father was a sociopath and tried to kill him.

Made for a writer that knows the true terror of the psychological.
Posted by: ginaswo at October 31, 2010 02:07 PM

Me.too.  I like his older stuff and I like his newer stuff but Odd Thomas is the best character ever.

Posted by: huerfano at October 31, 2010 09:33 AM (No0N3)

117 Scariest movie I ever saw was Psycho.  When Vera Miles walked up behind Norman's mother and the chair swung around, I levitated about six inches off the couch.  I thought The Exorcist was more creepy than scary.

Posted by: huerfano at October 31, 2010 09:37 AM (No0N3)

118 Late to the thread, so don't know if the books of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have been mentioned.  Anything co-written by them, or their own individual books, scares the bejeesus out of me.

Posted by: Jane D'oh at October 31, 2010 09:44 AM (UOM48)

119 Late to the thread, so don't know if the books of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have been mentioned. I shat from a great height upon their Wheel of Darkness last week. Most of the "Pendergast" books are good, but that one...dogshit. Cemetery Dance was pretty lame too. Fever Dream was better, but it's pretty obvious that they're working hard to set up another arch-villain -- like Diogenes in the previous books. I think Mssrs. Preston and Child might want to give old Aloysius a breather and focus on other books for awhile.

Posted by: Monty at October 31, 2010 09:48 AM (o2hlb)

120 Some would add The Stand, but while much of that book is very good, a lot of it is horrible -- it's a bad book and a good book rolled up into a single mediocre book.

I'd argue the best version sits somewhere between the original abridged and the later unabridged version.  King, by his own admission in Danse Macabre, is constitutionally unable to keep his literary mouth shut ("Stevie, when you open your mouth, your guts fall out" - Grandpa King).  As such, the best version would have had all the stuff about The Kid put back in, but nothing else.  All the other filler, hundreds of pages worth, should have stayed out, instead of being put into the unabridged version.

Posted by: Additional Blond Agent at October 31, 2010 09:57 AM (SHKl9)

121

105 Another vote for the blowingness of World War Z. So much potential, so little creativity. And the whole scene with the  hispanic maid who is in now charge of her former employer (because the evil rich people don't have any skills for the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse,  don't you know), was just groan-inducing.

I'm sure the movie will be like 'The Day After Tomorrow', but with zombies.

Posted by: negentropy at October 31, 2010 01:49 PM (hJT0

 

Ah well, I have been shot down on the World War Z

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 10:00 AM (XXRI4)

122 I'm sure this is totally OT, but I've been out running around and just hitting the HQ.  I'm currently reading A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) and loving it -- can't think why I never read it before, it's been around since 1989.  Highly recommended!

Posted by: Peaches at October 31, 2010 10:01 AM (zxpIo)

123 As for Stephen King, I thought Christine was one of his best.  It started out as just an ordinary slice of life that became something totally sinister.  What's more natural than a boy wanting a car?

Posted by: huerfano at October 31, 2010 10:04 AM (No0N3)

124 Fuck George R.R. Martin. Fuck him up his Obama-supportin' ass. And fuck his ASOIAF series too, its nihilism meets moral relativism to the 10th power.

Posted by: jules at October 31, 2010 10:06 AM (k4uDN)

125

@110 Monty, Exorcist.

 

I agree, that movie gets my vote of #1 scariest movie...I first saw it when I was 12 and couldn't sleep for weeks after.  The book was excellent as well.

Another movie that scared the crap out of me was The Evil Dead, even though it was low budget it still kept me awake at night...that one gets my #2.

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 10:07 AM (XXRI4)

126

123 As for Stephen King, I thought Christine was one of his best.  It started out as just an ordinary slice of life that became something totally sinister.  What's more natural than a boy wanting a car?

Posted by: huerfano at October 31, 2010 03:04 PM (No0N3)

 

The John Carpenter movie of that book was a cult classic with me and my school buddies at the time...had the whole dialogue memorized. 

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 10:09 AM (XXRI4)

127

OT: Anyone going to tune into The Walking Dead on AMC tonight?  I know nothing about it except that it's about zombies, and that they had promotional zombie wandering around the Picasso in Daley Plaza last week to promote it. 

(Insert Obama/Chicago Democrat zombie joke here.)

Posted by: Gem at October 31, 2010 10:12 AM (zw+pb)

128

The John Carpenter movie of that book was a cult classic with me and my school buddies at the time...had the whole dialogue memorized. 

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 03:09 PM

Keith Gordon was terrific as Arnie, the menacing geek.

Posted by: huerfano at October 31, 2010 10:13 AM (No0N3)

129 Monty, one of the creepiest books of Lincoln & Child was Relic.  The movie was dreadful.  And Riptide was good.

The tomboy in me is into military novels right now.  Recently finished Col. Ralph Peter's The War After Armageddon, and while not a "horror story" per se, gave me nightmares for days.  My husband just finished it today. 

Posted by: Jane D'oh at October 31, 2010 10:15 AM (UOM48)

130

 Fuck George R.R. Martin. Fuck him up his Obama-supportin' ass. And fuck his ASOIAF series too, its nihilism meets moral relativism to the 10th power.

Gotta agree.  Plus he's a litigious panty-wetter regarding fan fiction, like Anne Rice, whom I also hate, despite the fact that Interview with a Vampire is a great book. 


Posted by: Gem at October 31, 2010 10:16 AM (zw+pb)

131 Gem, I hope to be able to stay awake long enough to catch The Walking Dead tonight.  Just found out today it was filmed in Atlanta.  Hopefully, they'll cast my husband's Obama loving niece as a zombie. 

Posted by: Jane D'oh at October 31, 2010 10:18 AM (UOM48)

132 Keith Gordon was terrific as Arnie, the menacing geek.

Posted by: huerfano at October 31, 2010 03:13 PM (No0N3)

 

Totally.  They did a good job of characterizing the car too.  Darnell the junk yard guy was priceless.  'Shut the damn thing off before we all choke to death'

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 10:18 AM (XXRI4)

133 Gem, thanks, glad to know I'm not the only one. I don't see why anyone should waste their time reading authors who shit on conservatives when they aren't busy ignoring them.

You're right about Straub, he's even more of a hardcore liberal than Stephen King. That's the problem with liberal writers, inevitably their BS morality shows up in their works. I love James Cameron's films, but I'd rather watch six more star wars sequels than go anywhere near a theater showing avatar 2.

Posted by: jules at October 31, 2010 10:26 AM (k4uDN)

134 129 Monty, one of the creepiest books of Lincoln & Child was Relic.  The movie was dreadful.  And Riptide was good.
Posted by: Jane D'oh at October 31, 2010 03:15 PM (UOM4

Relic was the first Lincoln and Child I read - got me hooked, in a roundabout way.  Very creepy, but in a great way.  I loved the "monster."  The movie absolutely ruined it - I can't remember if I saw it before or after reading the book.  Whoever made the film took a good strong female character and destroyed her.  Thanks, Hollywood.

Unfortunately, L/C have strayed a bit.  The last one I read tried to be scary (1st or 2nd all Pendergast book), but instead it was rather ho-hum.  I blame Pendergast.  They've tried to make a character with a lot of quirks, which tend to overshadow the actual character.  He's too quirky and murky.

Posted by: soulpile is... expendable at October 31, 2010 10:32 AM (afWhQ)

135 And the whole scene with the  hispanic maid who is in now charge of her former employer (because the evil rich people don't have any skills for the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse,  don't you know), was just groan-inducing.

Yeah, but as I recall they were rich Hollywood types... and the elite-because-we-have-a-degree-in-the-humanities bunch. Thought that part was pretty sweet.

The only cringe-worthy libtard stuff I remember was the Bush/Cheney stand-in who wound up a fertilizer dealer or something... haven't read it in years though.

Posted by: Blackford Oakes at October 31, 2010 10:35 AM (0IR+C)

136 One word: Wolfen.

The movie was great also.

Albert Finney is one of the world's greatest actors.
This is indisputable.
Also Diane Venora is/was pretty hot.

Posted by: Retired Geezer at October 31, 2010 10:39 AM (J5v7j)

137 love straub.  dark matter was not his best (not bad) but got me to re-read a couple of his older ones.  he's huegly more talented than king

john connolly is awesome-- charlie parker character is brilliant (and as lib as he can be, gotta love his black gay republican conservative assasin character-- coolest fix it man since repairman jack)

Posted by: Ex-pat in Oz at October 31, 2010 11:07 AM (y/d2S)

138

A minor correction:  the book is The Haunting of Hill House and the movie is The Haunting.  It's a good book, but it still doesn't live up to the first paragraph:

"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."

I don't think anything could possibly live up to that, the most ominous paragraph ever written.

Posted by: Tonestaple at October 31, 2010 11:22 AM (KvoAj)

139

138 A minor correction:  the book is The Haunting of Hill House and the movie is The Haunting.  It's a good book, but it still doesn't live up to the first paragraph...

Posted by: Tonestaple at October 31, 2010 04:22 PM (KvoAj)

 

The Haunting...good movie.

Posted by: CanaDave at October 31, 2010 12:30 PM (XXRI4)

140 Monty is clueless about horror. Stephen King has written horror novels in the past few decades. 'Bag of Bones', 'Green Mile', 'Desperation'. They aren't all good, but they are horror. There are many new horror writers besides King - Richard Laymon's 'Night in a Lonesome October', Brian Keene's 'Conqueror Worms', Jack Ketchum's 'Girl Next Door', and Bentley Little's 'The Resort' are all good. Horror is a thriving genre.

Posted by: Internet Commenter at October 31, 2010 12:49 PM (G2mdy)

141 I should have mentioned in my above recommendations that some popular horror writers in the last 10-20 years are conservative leaning. Richard Laymon was a good friend of Dean Koontz and almost certainly a closet conservative. Brian Keene is pro-military and shows some conservative tendencies in his books. Bentley Little is, unfortunately, annoyingly liberal.

Posted by: Internet Commenter at October 31, 2010 01:30 PM (882Iu)

142

"Cell" was bad. "Under the Dome" was utter tripe. King didn't jump the shark there, he fell in and the shark ate him alive.

Despite the oddness, I loved "A Dark Matter", and thought "A Special Place" just made it that much more disturbing. Peter Straub's ramblings are more interesting than most writer's epics.

If you want some truly serious horror, dig up a collection of Ambrose Bierce's Civil War short stories. His actual horror stories are intriguing in a "Hey look, someone says Hastur in this one!" context, but none of them reach above the level of a very simple campfire ghost story. His Civil War stories are just brutal.

Posted by: Sam at October 31, 2010 02:58 PM (hvDIX)

143 I saw John Connolly mentioned here and am glad to see it; he's my favorite writer right now. His stuff is borderline horror; it's crime fiction with a touch of supernatural thrown in. It's an interesting concept; he's saying some people are so evil that they can't possibly be human.

Posted by: UGAdawg at October 31, 2010 03:15 PM (/VjHB)

144 The Uncanny by Andrew Klavan is a great read by a great conservative.  Spooky, thoughtful, funny ... everything you could ask for in a ghost/horror story!

Posted by: Flybrarian at October 31, 2010 04:22 PM (f96w8)

145 I highly recommend the "Atrocity Archive" books by Charles Stross.  He has done an excellent job of combining Cthulu mythos with the modern spy novel along with a compelling mixture of computer hacking and number theory thrown in to explain it all. When I am bored at work, I read his online novelette, "A Colder War" to wake me up. Even after reading a half a dozen times it is still quite scary.  



Posted by: Chrome22 at October 31, 2010 04:44 PM (VTXfh)

146 Has anybody read "Declare" by Tim Powers?  Maybe it's just fantasy istead of horror.

Posted by: Kathy at October 31, 2010 06:16 PM (VafME)

147 The tomboy in me is into military novels right now. Recently finished Col. Ralph Peter's The War After Armageddon, and while not a "horror story" per se, gave me nightmares for days. My husband just finished it today. Posted by: Jane D'oh at October 31, 2010 03:15 PM (UOM4 Read "War After" a couple of months ago. Loved it. A little too much moral equivalence involved. 'Though I'm not Christian (converted to Judaism 15 years ago), I don't fear the "Christianists" near as much as I do the Islamists. That's an equation established by the Left, and I find it aggravating to the extreme.

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Posted by: Pittsburgh events at March 03, 2011 06:21 PM (hsdL4)

151 In one extreme case a peer sent us a pre-copy of a big thought piece and asked us to offer our feedback to making it better. Wow!!!

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