What's the scariest book you've ever read?

(161 Posts)
Thurlow Tue 30-Jul-13 21:34:41

I'm currently reading IT and I didn't think it was particularly scary, maybe because I know what it's about because it's just one of those stories you know without reading/seeing it - but when I walked over a bridge over a stream today and thought "ooooh, this would be exactly the place Pennywise would hide if he lived in this town..." So it must be scaring me somehow!

Of course, it could just be the memory of Cujo, which I remember as the single most terrifying thing I've ever read at the time.

Also, Mo Hayder's first two Caffrey novels, Birdman and The Treatment, but they're probably more violent than scary. Though The Treatment was set less than half a mile from where I lived at the time I read it, which really didn't help much.

KateCroydon Tue 30-Jul-13 21:35:49

The Haunting of Hill House.

HarderToKidnap Tue 30-Jul-13 21:41:06

Pet sematary. Threw it down the stairs the first time I tried to read it. Tried again fifteen years later and my heart was pounding and I was in a cold sweat throughout.

orangeandemons Tue 30-Jul-13 21:41:48

Dracula. Shit me up good and proper when I was 18

MrsHowardRoark Tue 30-Jul-13 21:50:55

House of Leaves gave me such bad nightmares I never did finish it.

Cheddars Tue 30-Jul-13 21:55:42

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris is the only book that actually made me jump. shock

LEMisdisappointed Tue 30-Jul-13 21:57:38

Pet Semetary here too - fucking awful, i could never read it now - i read it when i wa a teenager, enjoyed it but couldn't turn the page when it got to the bit where the little boy got run over by a truck sad

Dracula didn't scare me, i just thought it was really sad

MikeLitoris Tue 30-Jul-13 22:00:51

The shining is probably the scariest.

Closely followed by Rose Madder.

I didnt find red dragon scary at all.

Agree - pet cemetary - still couldn't read it

Or 'the fog' - but I was about 12 when I read it so very impressionable

EeTraceyluv Tue 30-Jul-13 22:02:04

Probably 'the woman in black' I was v disappointed with the film tbh. And not 'scary' as such but extremely shocking - 'The boy in the striped pajamas' I really didn't see the ending coming!

LegArmpits Tue 30-Jul-13 22:02:34

Flesh and Blood by Graham Masterton. Horrible. But great.

snozzlemaid Tue 30-Jul-13 22:03:42

I was going to say the ones you mention op-
The treatment

Brilliant all of them.

Mondaybaby Tue 30-Jul-13 22:18:30

I'm easily spooked so avoid anything scary. However, a few months ago I decided to read a Sherlock Holmes novel so got The Hound of the Baskervilles from the library. Terrifying! I couldn't even get out of bed in the night to go to the loo in case a mad evil hound chased me and after 2 nights of no sleep I had to swig some piriton syrup to knock me out. I won't be reading anything scary again.

Flourfairy Tue 30-Jul-13 23:26:54

A true crime book called Fatal Vision terrified me many years ago

Nerfmother Tue 30-Jul-13 23:29:46

The girl on the landing. Horrible.

AdoraBell Tue 30-Jul-13 23:33:18

Stephen King's The Stand, because it all starts with a genetically fiddled with flu.

I'm not easily scared by books tbh, but my sister lent me an awful trash horror book once about a babysitter being killed by the children she was looking after and it frightened me beyond belief. I couldn't finish it and I still had nightmares about it for weeks. Horrible.

waycat Wed 31-Jul-13 08:27:03

Skin by Mo Hayder - gave me the creeps and I made the mistake of always reading just before bed time!

Thurlow Wed 31-Jul-13 10:11:45

Mo Hayder's just grim all around, isn't she? I got quite freaked out what I was pregnant and kept smelling odd things in the house, it reminded me too much of The Treatment blush

I saw The Woman in Black on stage and it frightened the absolute bejeesus out of me!

But then telly's much scarier than books, I think - I don't watch horror movies at all, I found things like The Fall creepy beyond words and checked all my doors and windows before going to bed - but stories of monsters just don't do it. I keep reading bits in It about giant eyeballs falling out of fortune cookies and blood spurting out of the drain and thinking "meh". But then I do remember one Stephen King, I think it must have been Needful Things because I haven't read many books by him, where someone had all their nails pulled off and that properly freaked me out.

stargirl1701 Wed 31-Jul-13 10:17:05

The Road.

LeonardoAcropolis Wed 31-Jul-13 10:22:27

Coma and Brain by Robin Cook are very disturbing but I was terrified reading The Shining and Haunted by James Herbert. I am reading Misery at the moment and i think that will haunt me for years to come.

Deffodil Wed 31-Jul-13 10:29:43

All of Stephen King,James Herbert and Dean Koontz's are wonderfully scary.

iismum Wed 31-Jul-13 21:10:26

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. What the actual fuck was going on? Soo creepy ... I'm not easily scared by books, but that when gave me a few restless nights.

AvonCallingBarksdale Thu 01-Aug-13 19:05:34

The Darkest Corner Elizabeth HAynes

The Exorcist terrified me almost as much a the film did.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 01-Aug-13 19:22:20

I've read The Shining and Pet Semetary, didn't find them very scary.

Misery was a bit freaky, but I wasn't scared as such. The film was crap though IMO, didn't capture the psychopathic nature of the female character at all. And as for The Shining, that film was laughably crap!

I've just finished James Herbert Ghosts of Crickley Hall which I didn't find especially scary but the ending did disturb me a bit.

I'm going to have to try some of the others mentioned because I would quite like to find a book that properly scares me <odd>

millersangels Thu 01-Aug-13 19:28:21

Let the right one and the Wasp factory scared me. Also made me feel quite sick.

SilkySocksSinkShips Thu 01-Aug-13 19:36:10

The original Amityville Horror by Jay Anson. It was printed in 1978.

I've never been able to read it past sunset. I'm not sure I believe what happened did happen, but the almost emotional detachment from the characters (the author is relaying all information told to him by the family and a priest), and being written as a more factual story than fiction makes it hard to not believe it. You may laugh but I dare you to read it in bed, lights low and dark outside... shudder

Galaxymum Thu 01-Aug-13 22:54:19

Let's Go Play at the Adams's - about a group of children who kidnap a teen babysitter as far as I can remember. But I do remember the torture.

Dennis Wheatley has gone out of favour but I read them in the early 90s when they were rereleased. The Haunting of Toby Jugg, The Devil Rides Out and To The Devil A Daughter were very scary in the original form.

The scariest story I ever read I can't remember the title. In a children's horror stories book - some teens tease this old man who has a false eye and he curses them saying "I'll always have my eye on you." When he dies the eye follows them everywhere - that completely freaked me out and I had nightmares! I'd love to reread it but can't remember the title.

cocolepew Thu 01-Aug-13 22:57:59

The Mo Hayder book that has a big man in it hmm. Its either the first or second one, scared the crap out of me. I've read most of Stephen Kings they never scared me in the way this did.

Oh God - yes that Let's Go Play thing is the one my sister lent me. Hideous, horrible, terrifying book. It still makes me feel really uncomfortable and I only read about 50 pages of it. Shudder.

hardbeingme Thu 01-Aug-13 23:07:35

i read The Rats when i was 14 and absolutely shat myself!!!! i had to have the bedroom light on all night for about a week and then the hall light on for months.
i kept thinking i could see them just out of the corner of my eye and was twitchy for about a month.

i eventually had pet rats but i still don't do horror books or films although do read thriller - as long as the killer dies and stays dead or gets locked up and stays there i'm fine...

shazbean Thu 01-Aug-13 23:16:28

House of Leaves!
The start scared me so I couldn't read it in the house alone!
But by the time I finished it I couldn't decide whether it was really clever or a load of pretentious rubbish.

Ihatemytoes Fri 02-Aug-13 07:27:33


ClassyAsALannister Fri 02-Aug-13 07:42:18

Salem's Lot by Stephen King!

HandOfTheKing Fri 02-Aug-13 08:29:16

Coldheart Canyon by Clive Baxter. So, so disturbing - really got to me. Also re-read The Shining recently and found it much scarier this time round. I must be getting soft in my old age.

NotAroundTheEyes Fri 02-Aug-13 09:05:26

I know I keep mentioning it - but Melmoth the Wanderer. I've read everything scary from Rats and The Omen and The Stand to American Psycho and The Naked Lunch, and nothing -.no film, no book, no TV series - has ever seemed so utterly depraved and chilling. More than once the words on the page were so vivid and disturbing I had to cover them with my hand shock sad

It was written in 1810. BY A VICAR.

shazbean Fri 02-Aug-13 09:09:40

The Midwitch Cuckoos.
Found it very disturbing.

Moln Fri 02-Aug-13 09:16:04

oh I read the Adam's on. horrible, read the whole of it, bleurgh

Pet Semetery was scary too, think I was 15 reading it, found it freaky

Thurlow Fri 02-Aug-13 10:54:06

Coco, that's the second one, isn't it, The Treatment? With the kids and the families being stalked? Doyouthinktheysaurus, it looks like you need to try some Mo Hayder's, everyone's agreeing that they are terrifying grin

HumphreyCobbler Fri 02-Aug-13 10:59:43

As a child LOADS of books frightened me. I used to read terrible John Saul novels when I was far too young. Most unsuitable for an 11 year old, I don't think my parents really noticed.

As an adult it has to be Wild Swans. The cultural revolution was real, and utterly terrifying. I simply cannot imagine the fear of living in such a situation sad

Don't read scary books, but No Exit makes me cry and get properly spooked. I hate it, it gets really creepy in the end.

cocolepew Fri 02-Aug-13 12:32:54

That's it Thurlow! I remember throwing the book across the room at one point shock
I might read it again actually to see if it's as scarey as I remember.

Mo Hayder didn't scare me. I just didn't think she was a v good writer. I read two and decided that was probably one too many.

scratchandsniff Fri 02-Aug-13 12:38:07

Another vote for The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

ColdfeetPinksocks Fri 02-Aug-13 14:42:10

Another vote for Dracula. Only book that has ever actually scared me.

Clawdy Fri 02-Aug-13 17:24:02

M R James ghost stories are absolutely terrifying without a hint of gore.
That "Adams" book was horrible. Years ago I took it down from the shelf in our local library,decided I wouldn't get it out but flicked to the last chapter to skim-read the end. Stupid mistake. I actually felt sick and thought I was going to pass out. It wasn't scary,just vile.

emmelinelucas Fri 02-Aug-13 17:42:15

I think Mo Hayder's books are just horrible, sickening and not very well written.
Never Let Me Go was a book that I found very unsettling, not scary exactly, but gave me a kind of chill. It stayed with me for weeks.
Thomas Slemen writes good "true" stories. Some of those have been very frightening.
MR James - brilliantly spooky reads. I re-read every couple of years, on winters nights.
I actually enjoy being spooked !

Passmethecrisps Fri 02-Aug-13 19:02:35

I used to read a lot of supernatural books when I was younger - so many that they have all melded into one

I do remember a Stephen king one though but I can't remember the title. A woman is in a very isolated cabin with her husband. He likes kinky sex and has her handcuffed to the bed. She gets disgusted by him, knees him in the goolies and kills him. It is then just her in this cabin handcuffed to the bed. It made my stomach flip for many years thinking about it.

Gerald's Game - one of SK's silliest. smile

Passmethecrisps Fri 02-Aug-13 19:09:49

Is that it? See, I am not a SK fan at all but that one really sticks in my head. There was a particularly silly bit in the middle (won't plot spoil! grin ) but I liked the psychological bit.

I prefer crime stuff - still dead scary but not paranormal.

IT is still the only book that has ever made me jump.

Pet Semetary really, really creeped me out as a teen. I keep thinking I want to reread it as an adult, but actually I think now I have children I would find it awful - which also happened with Cujo.

Passmethecrisps Fri 02-Aug-13 19:15:52

I have just read the plot of Gerald's game and parts of it seem very different to what I recall. How strange.

I used to read and reread a book by James Herbert I think. The cottage?

englishmumcominghome Fri 02-Aug-13 19:20:39

IT. I'm with you OP.
I read it too young and then saw the movie on TV.

I have a huge fear of clowns and even pictures of three balloons together bring me out in a cold sweat. I'm giving myself the willies just thinking about it. And the shivers.

Capitola Fri 02-Aug-13 19:24:37

I remember reading Salem's Lot as a young teen and being very scared indeed.

Thurlow Fri 02-Aug-13 20:55:57

SK writes some really, really dodgy stuff like Gerald's Game - it's like he has this really sick stuff that every now and again he just writes to get it out of his head. There's a short story about a doctor who is shipwrecked with a load of heroin and starts amputating parts of his body to eat <hurls>

pointythings Fri 02-Aug-13 21:21:56

The Wheatstone Pond by Robert Westall. Actually marketed as a YA confused - scared the absolute crap out of me. Also the Stones of Muncaster Cathedral (the title story of a collection of short stories by Robert Westall).

teacher123 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:30:21

Oh god that muncaster cathedral one-just had to google it to make sure it was what I remembered! Horrible story, really scary. I also read it as a teenager.

Woman in black is horrid and the MR James ghost stories are terrifying, I can't read them at all now!

Elsiequadrille Fri 02-Aug-13 21:40:01

Thanks, TheEyes, I've just had Melmoth the Wanderer delivered to my Kindle grin

Elsiequadrille Fri 02-Aug-13 21:47:05

Haunted is the only book of James Heberts that I found scary. Though it's been a while since I read it.

Agreeing with Pet Sematary [sic] It's really quite thought provoking actually. And, of course, Woman in Black. The TV versions don't come close.

M R James Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to you, My Lad.

Elsiequadrille Fri 02-Aug-13 21:49:33

I liked IT very much, but the silly ending (involving the insect) put me off it and made it much less scary.

elQuintoConyo Fri 02-Aug-13 21:58:53

Read I.T. when I was 15, it shit me up.
The only thing that's scared me since is The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood, just because it could happen in a flash shock

I think I should get some of these King and Koontz books to read, I get so bored of novels!

HarrietSchulenberg Fri 02-Aug-13 21:59:16

I read The Amityville Horror when I was about 11 or 12. The blurb made it out to be factual so I totally believed it. I couldn't put it down, then I didn't sleep for about a week afterwards.

PlateSpinningAtAllTimes Fri 02-Aug-13 22:10:25

Another vote for House of Leaves. Twice I've tried to read it and twice I've had to stop about quarter of the way in. <wimp>

The short story is, 'Survivor Type' and is my v favourite King short story.

I didn't find, 'Pet Sematary' scary at all; I thought it was really, really silly. The Stand is King's scariest, imho.

gaggiagirl Fri 02-Aug-13 22:20:35

Mo Hayder- pig island brilliant but shit me up
Anything by graham masterton particularly hymn,ritual,mirror and family portrait.

HairyPoppins Fri 02-Aug-13 22:28:36

I can't remember what it's called but MIL lent me a book she'd just finished and said was amazing, when I was pregnant, about a woman who kidnapped and killed babies and kept their skeletons in a cave. It was only revealed that that was what happened right at the very end, and I take the full responsibility for being that person who can't put down a book they've started reading especially when it's crime novels because I like being right about whodunnit. But why anyone would think it was a suitable read for a pregnant woman who's in hospital with high blood pressure is beyond me.

HairyPoppins Fri 02-Aug-13 22:35:07

Totally agree with elQuinto about the Handmaid's Tale, though, scary. Any dystopian future/collapse of society stuff that doesn't veer off into Mad Max territory is really creepy. I used to live in a tower block and reading Highrise by J G Ballard scared the shit out of me, like we were just one power cut away from dead dogs in the swimming pool and the end of civilisation.

notnowImreading Fri 02-Aug-13 22:50:35

It's the bit in The Handmaid's Tale where they just stop women getting money out of the ATM that's so frightening. I kept £20 in a margarine tub all the way through university, even when I didn't have any other money, just in case.

The Turn of the Screw properly gives me the willies as far as supernatural scares are c

notnowImreading Fri 02-Aug-13 22:51:14

Concerned. There's just such a feeling of evil about it.

Just remembered, 'The Woman In White.' That is scary, because it was so easy to have a woman declared insane. Terrifying.

HairyPoppins Fri 02-Aug-13 23:34:17

Remus now you've reminded me of The Yellow Wallpaper. And The House of Mirth - even though Lily Bart is privileged, she made one or two mistakes and that was it, no safety net.

thenightsky Fri 02-Aug-13 23:50:00

I'm amazed. I came on to post about a book I read about 30 years ago which I thought nobody would ever have heard of, only to find 2 MNers were also disturbed by it.

Let's Go Play at the Adams. Babysitter is tortured and killed in a horrible way by group of kids.


Elsiequadrille Fri 02-Aug-13 23:56:00

Oh yes, the Yellow Wallpaper is good read.

Im not keen on a lot of stephen kings. Find them a bit 'wordy' sometimes but i do love his short stories. Theres one about a guy who ends up with eyes on the ends of his fingers that always made me feel a bit 'itchy'.

Theres one though which still always terrifies me. I have to have all the doors locked when i read it. I like being scared but this one gets me every time. Its about a guy who buys a painting at a yard sale of a strange man with a fast car. As he drives across country with the painting it changes to show that the stranger is following him!! I wont give the ending away but the finale always gives me the heebie-jeebies.....

Right, im off to check that the front door is locked grin

Yes, yes to The Yellow Wallpaper. What a story.

MorrisZapp Sat 03-Aug-13 23:44:30

Your Pregnancy and Birth by Miriam Stoppard.

Only kidding. I can't handle the horror genre in any format, as a teen I read Rosemary's Baby and couldn't sleep for a month.

I love a bit of Lesbian Victoriana so have braved Affinity by Sarah Waters but it bloody terrified me. I'm too scared to attempt The Little Stranger. Wish she would write a good old romp again and leave out the ghoulies.

I read the first five or so pages of The Wasp Factory when I was a student, wish I could get my hands on some brain bleach. I still remember how sick it made me feel.

Junebugjr Mon 05-Aug-13 11:29:39

Not sure of the author but - The Entity. Has that classic supernatural/mentalhealth ambiguity.

I'm reading Birdman Mo Hayder atm, does it get more scary? Am quarter of the way through.

ZombiesAteMyBigToe Mon 05-Aug-13 13:01:48

Lovecraft, I always start his collected stories chuckling to myself about how ridiculous some if his stories were and it always ends at 4am with the book stored in the freezer and all the lights in the house on.

World war Z and anything with zombies generally, but I cannot resist. There is one I read a year or so ago with the most horrifying opening scene that I have never forgotten.

MR James and books of ghost stories generally. There is one about Room 13 in a hotel that only appears at night and 'steals' the space from other rooms. Oh and another about a picture where the Image changes slightly over time to give the story of a horrific tragedy/mystery.

All of these are probably responsible for the fact tht I am 31 and still afraid of the dark.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Mon 05-Aug-13 13:05:06

The Woman In Black was very scary, far more so than the film.
yy to The Yellow Wallpaper as well
And The Turn of the Screw

Rollermum Mon 05-Aug-13 13:06:29

Great thread!

Lots Stephen King here too - IT, and The Shining in particular.

When I was a teenager I read MR James ghost stories and terrified myself so much I had to run to a friends house to stay the night because my parents were away.

I find the vaguest hint of ghostly terrifying and generally leap into bed from a distance so the hand can't grab me - harder now 35 weeks pregnant. My Dad (75) also admitted to doing this!

Thurlow Mon 05-Aug-13 13:27:43

Junebugjr, I guess it depends what you find scary! I find Hayder terrifying because it it more real life, but ghost stories, vampires, alients etc just aren't very scary because I don't believe in them.

Psychotic mass murderers who happen to live and work in my neck of the woods, however <shudders>

OKnotOK Mon 05-Aug-13 14:14:04

Clive Barker - The Books of Blood.
These are all short stories (Dread & The Book of Blood being faves) and still up there with some of the best stuff he has ever written (he seems to have gone more into fantasy than horror nowdays). God alone knows what goes on in that mans head but his ability to put it down on paper is incredable &....sinister!!
I agree with Zombies about Lovecraft, wonderfully dark stuff his bleak descriptions are second to none.

Elsiequadrille Mon 05-Aug-13 14:23:45

Has Dark Matter been mentioned? That's not too bad; set in the Arctic, nice and atmospheric and a quick read.

Insomnia by Stephen King <shudder> I read it years ago, bit I still sometimes wonder if there's a wee bald man standing ing the corner of the room with some rusty scissors shock <- that's a scream BTW!
The most sick making, disturbing story for me was The library policeman by SK, just unnecessary IMO.

littlecrick Mon 05-Aug-13 21:52:00

Yes I found The Yellow Wallpaper really haunting. Everyone thinks they're helping her, but actually they're just making her more ill. And she knows that being able to write and draw again will help her recover from the loss of her baby but she isn't allowed.

It's just so sad and the end is really quite horrific.

But I thought the end of A Handful of Dust was terrifying too.

I've just finished Pet Sematary and that really disturbed me, and I didn't sleep well for a few nights. At the end do we know if his wife comes back 'nice' or 'bad' it's left very open ended???

Kasterborous Mon 05-Aug-13 23:37:38

The thousand eyes of night by Robert Swindells. I read it as a teenager from the school library scared me to death!

Galaxymum Tue 06-Aug-13 10:44:08

The Yellow Wallpaper is such a haunting novella. I studied it at uni many years ago in a module about women and mental illness. I also read The Shutter of Snow by Emily Holmes Coleman which is similar - written in a modernist form and very disturbing. I loved them at the time and was very disturbed. The writing in both was so striking.

littlecrick Tue 06-Aug-13 12:31:08

Yes I studied it at university too Galaxymum and found it so sad but also so creepy. The whole concept of a grown woman being treated like a little baby even when she'd had a baby of her own, and those around her killing her with suffocating kindness.

GinOnTwoWheels Tue 06-Aug-13 13:35:09

Not fiction, but a book about the crimes of the Yorkshire Ripper.

Many of the crime scenes were and still are 'local' to me and I shudder when I drive past them. Even today, over 30 years later, I can't walk down a ginnel* without remembering the fear that was around at the time and checking that no-one is behind me or lurking along it.

I was a young girl then and I remember crying my eyes out because my mum had gone out (probably locally and not for long) and I was convinced he had got her.

* Urban footpath, between high walls, for non Leeds/Yorkshire folk.

NobodyPutsTomArcherInTheCorner Tue 06-Aug-13 13:41:48

Lots of Stephen King books of course, but another (by FG Cottam) The House Of Lost Souls terrified me.

SarahAndFuck Wed 07-Aug-13 00:55:40

I love FG Cottam Nobody. Lots of my favourites have been mentioned here already so I'm going to suggest a different one.

I read Last Days by Adam Nevill and it gave me the creeps with just a few shadows and creaky floorboards. I liked his previous one, The Ritual, as well.

NobodyPutsTomArcherInTheCorner Wed 07-Aug-13 09:27:25

Sarahandfuck (Love your name btw, it always makes me grin) as you said you liked Cottam, I just took a look at Last Days on Amazon. That def sounds like my sort of horror; more psychologically scary. Think I might give it a go, thanks!smile

Rufus43 Fri 09-Aug-13 17:27:31

eetraceyluv agree with woman in black, read it when my husband was out! I had to do the whole arm out to switch on the hall light thing!

And the film was pants! Don't know why the book was so scary, I like horror stories.

Also liked the little stranger, books that let you use your imagination are the scariest IMO

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Sun 11-Aug-13 13:20:25

Nerfmother I also found The Girl on the Landing scary, or at least very unsettling.

I wasn't scared by The Woman in Black, but I read it in a busy and well-lit place, probably very different if I'd read it at home alone after dark! I've got The Small Hand on my shelf but haven't read it yet.

SarahAndFuck Sun 11-Aug-13 18:34:41

Thank you Nobody grin

Hope you like Last Days, I thought it had some very good creepy moments in it.

ninah Sun 11-Aug-13 18:39:32

Gin, I grew up in the Midlands and I was still terrified he was going to come through my window. I remember them playing that tape that turned out to be hoax on the news

carovioletfizz Thu 15-Aug-13 18:30:10

Mine are Dark Matter and one called Shrike by Joe Connelly - about a seance that brings a demon into the world. So so scary!

Louise1956 Fri 16-Aug-13 14:18:34

i don't really care for scary books, but I once read an absolutely terrifying short story by Gerald Durrell, in a collection called The Picnic and Suchlike pandemonium. The story frightened me so much i have never attempted to read another horror story. And I can never be in a room with a mirror in it if I am alone in the house.

mistlethrush Fri 16-Aug-13 14:20:15

Louise, funnily enough that's the story I immediately thought of when I saw the thread title. I agree, extremely frightening story - and from someone you wouldn't expect to write that sort of thing.

ZingWantsCake Fri 16-Aug-13 14:24:59

all of Stephen King's books are scary as shit.

Little Shop of Horrors
and there's one with bones or cemetery or sg in title

I blocked out the rest.

MrsGeologist Fri 16-Aug-13 20:39:30

Salem's Lot, especially after I saw a bit of the TV series (film?) where the little boy is scratching at the window <shudder>

Also the Woman in Black. I've seen the stage show twice because it is amazing.

curlyclaz13 Fri 16-Aug-13 20:54:15

prophecy by Peter James, read nearly everything by Sk and many other horror writers but this freaked me out so much. I actually wrote yo the author it was so good.

marissab Fri 16-Aug-13 23:59:20

I read a horrid book once about a boy who joined a cult that worshipped christ and baron samedi and ate pieces of each others bodies. Still stuck in my mind years after. Horrid sad

marissab Sat 17-Aug-13 00:00:58

Oh and the one roald dahl wrote about the man who turns in to a bee. That and the film 'the fly' both meld together in my mind and scare me bad!

SarahAndFuck Sat 17-Aug-13 15:36:59

Marissab I think that was a Graham Masterton book wasn't it?

If it's the one I'm thinking of, it's called Ritual and it's about a food critic and his son who visit a restaurant which is run by some kind of cult that practices cannibalism as part of it's religion. The father has to try and join the cult to save his son.

I love Graham Masterton. His Harry Erskine books are some of my favourites, he features in the Manitou series and one called The Djinn and I loved them all when I was younger. Very scary and creepy in places if I remember rightly. I think the third one of the Manitou books, Burial, is my favourite.

Have you read The Hymn by the same author? It's about a man whose fiancé burns herself to death shortly before the wedding. Shortly afterwards a bus full of people drive out to the desert (I think) and set themselves on fire as well. One of them is his fiancé's friend so he starts to investigate and realises that something sinister is taking place. The bit where the young woman sets herself on fire is just awful though, at least in my memory. She's so calm and almost cheerful about it.

And the Night Warrior series was good as well I think. It was about a group of fairly ordinary people who turned into some sort of superheroes while they slept and had to join together to defeat a demon.

Faezy Sat 17-Aug-13 15:42:51

I vaguely remember a book about a picture appearing on the internet of a woman murdered in a room then it disappeared. Might've been on a site advertising houses. Does this ring any bells with anyone?

marissab Sat 17-Aug-13 18:07:03

Yes Sarah. Thats it! Still in my head after all these years! Horrible but you couldn't help but read on to the end!

HarderToKidnap Sun 18-Aug-13 16:19:02

That's a Sophie Hannah book, faezy. Lasting damage I think.

GiraffesAndButterflies Sun 18-Aug-13 16:36:15

an absolutely terrifying short story by Gerald Durrell, in a collection called The Picnic and Suchlike pandemonium.

Yes yes yes <nods frantically> Scariest shit ever, as voted by me and DH. Everyone please go click Amazon's 'I would like to read this on Kindle' link for that, it is terrifying!

Also Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. From Stephen King, his short story 1408 is the one that gets me most. Funny how short stories can be much much scarier (for me anyway) than books. It's much more 'undiluted' horror.

GiraffesAndButterflies Sun 18-Aug-13 16:37:56

Oo, it turns out that Gerald Durrell book is out on Kindle now. link

MumnGran Sun 18-Aug-13 16:44:27

Definitely SK's Pet Semetary (that is the title, not a typo!!)

Faezy Sun 18-Aug-13 22:21:42

That's it HarderToKidnap thank you!. Just asked my dad if he could get Pet Semetary from the library next time he was in town and turns out he took it out a few days ago, what are the chances! He didn't finish it as wasn't impressed so has passed it on to me.

SarahAndFuck Mon 19-Aug-13 10:24:11

Faezy did you like Lasting Damage? The multiple endings and the just plain weird plot annoyed me so much I gave my copy away.

ImpulsePineapple Mon 19-Aug-13 10:28:18

Dracula also. I have never had an actual nightmare about a book ever before, and I've read/seen some scary shit.

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Tue 20-Aug-13 21:56:35

just started reading pet sem... on chapter 7. not scary yet grin

MumnGran Tue 20-Aug-13 22:48:39

Best thing about it is the very slow build. smile

Thehoardernextdoor Tue 20-Aug-13 23:08:35

When I was a teen (about 40 years ago) there was a whole series of Pan Books of Horror Stories. I can still remember some of the stories to this day. They seem to be out of print now-probably banned for being too disturbing

EugenesAxe Tue 20-Aug-13 23:52:52

marissab - some of Roald Dahl's came to my mind too actually. I think yours is called Royal Jelly; there's another I found horrible called (I think) Piggy.

I found Woman In Black very shocking but only slightly scary. It bothered me for a few days after. Sheridan LeFanu's In A Glass Darkly has some brilliant spooky stories in it... and of course Poe's collection The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Stories. A lot of those are nasty. I read The Shining but it didn't massively freak me.

I'm too chicken to read many of those mentioned, but I might try the Durrell one. Amityville Horror the film still terrifies me so there's no way I'm going near that!

SarahAndFuck Wed 21-Aug-13 09:47:55

I read one that was aimed at teens recently. It was called 172 Hours and it was about three teenagers who win a trip to the moon with NASA, who have held the competition to disguise the real reason they are going back, mining something that is in short supply on Earth.

But something strange is up there, something they have known about since the moon landings in the 60's, and it's been waiting for us to go back.

It really wasn't scary at the time but last night DS was looking at the full moon and it gave me the creeps thinking something might be up there looking back at him. I love it when a book can do that weeks after I've read it.

I read all the mentioned SK books as a teenager and still break out into a sweat at the memory.

I also loved James Herbert as a teen. The Rats terrified me so much that, even now - 35 years later, I still have to check the exits in a cinema, just in case The Rats come!

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Sat 24-Aug-13 22:23:18

Chapter 27 now... getting freaky grin

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

The one that's stayed with me for 40 years is 'The Monkey's Paw' by W.W. Jacobs. Not a book, a short story. Salem's Lot also scared me, and parts of It, and parts of The Shining. Stephen King lost me when he started going for graphic nastiness rather than horror, though his recent offerings of Under the Dome and 11/22/63 are better, though not horror novels at all, really.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Another SK one - The Long Walk. I read it when I was a young teen and something about it just terrified me.

Elsiequadrille Sun 25-Aug-13 01:40:42

I remember The Monkey's Paw. It grants you wishes doesn't it? I listened to that on the radio a while ago. Very chilling.

volestair Sun 25-Aug-13 02:13:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jux Sun 25-Aug-13 03:07:34

Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti. It's a collection of short stories, and is described as "in the style of Edgar Allen Poe". I'm not a fan of Poe, not scary, just annoying.

However, I couldn't finish the Ligotti. I was half way through the third story when I realised I was so scared I couldn't continue.

DH read it first, and handed it to me saying it was alright; dd got hold of it and thought it was pretty boring. I just couldn't take it. It was the atmosphere of brooding menace the author conjured up. No, too terrified to read the whole of it.

However, DH loved Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill and said it the scariest book he'd read since he was a teen. I enjoyed it, but it didn't scare me at all. Not even a little bit.

No accounting for folk, is there? grin

Elsiequadrille Sun 27-Oct-13 01:06:52

I'm approx halfway through Melmoth the Wanderer and am really enjoying it. Thought I'd mention, thank again for the recommendation, and bump up the thread!

TheNunsOfGavarone Sun 27-Oct-13 10:21:30

The ones that came to my mind have been mentioned on this thread but it can't do any harm to vote for them again:

The terrifying short story by Gerald Durrell in the Picnic & Suchlike Pandemonium collection

The Woman in Black

I also found The Little Stranger very unsettling.

What most recently scared me to the point of losing sleep wasn't a ghost or horror story, but monstrous creatures in Perdido Street Station. I may start a thread on fictional monsters now grin

notapizzaeater Sun 27-Oct-13 11:14:37

By reason of insanity - read it when I was 16 had nightmares for days, now read it every few years, only book I have ever read more than once. It was banned in some usa states when it first came out (or at least that's what my dad told me !)

VivaLeBeaver Sun 27-Oct-13 11:17:39

Amytiville horror

notapizzaeater Sun 27-Oct-13 11:24:47

Just added lets go play at the Adams to my amazon basket, never heard of it ...

It hmm
The film is almost as horrifying too.

Beeyump Mon 28-Oct-13 09:48:30

Just reading reviews and discussions of Let's Go Play at the Adams last night made me feel sick with fear. I am clearly a wimp of the highest order.

Elsiequadrille Mon 28-Oct-13 13:34:16

Is By Reason of Insanity the Shane Stevens book, notapizzaeater?

PublicEnemyNumeroUno Mon 28-Oct-13 14:07:47

Never thought I'd be scared by a book til I read The Shining a few years ago.

I enjoyed IT but it didnt scare me nor did Rose Madder...

I thought World War Z was terrifying! i was actually shaking and kept having to put it down for a break!

Many of Dean Koontz's are great scary ones! (Phantoms and The Watchers to name 2)

I dont go in for scary films much but scary books are a new found favorite of mine smile

Glittermud Mon 28-Oct-13 14:35:16

House of Leaves is genuinely terrifying.

PublicEnemyNumeroUno Mon 28-Oct-13 19:24:13

I've just read The Yellow Wallpaper - not scary but very....weird?

HarrietSchulenberg Mon 28-Oct-13 19:29:29

I read the Amityville Horror when I was 12 and it scared the pants off me. The blurb said it was a real story and I believed it.

I'm listening to Dracula on audiobook at the moment and I've had to leave the lights on a couple of times now. Serves me right for listening to it at bedtime.

ThePlatypusAlwaysTriumphs Mon 28-Oct-13 19:44:33

I read Desparation by SK many years ago, then realised the living room window was open (late at night). Got halfway across the room to close it, then became convinced if I did the cop-but-not-a-cop with bits falling off him would suddenly hoist himself up to meet me with a horrific grin on his face. the window stayed open, and I stayed under the covers.

Also read Helter Skelter (the Charles manson story) and freaked myself out about them doing their "creepy-crawling" round people's houses at night. Shudder.

notapizzaeater Mon 28-Oct-13 20:15:03

Elsie yes it's by Shane Stevens

BloominNora Mon 28-Oct-13 20:41:26

Tapirbackrider - yy to The Long Walk - utterly devastating. All of the original four Bachman books were quite disturbing. Rage went out of print though after a high school shooting in America and Running Man gives me the shivers.

I found I am Legend quite disturbing as well, but thoroughly enjoyed it.

I think I find plausible post apocalyptic stuff much more disturbing than out and out horror, because the really good ones are utterly believable - you can really imagine that other human beings would act that way.

GeeinItLaldy Tue 29-Oct-13 10:19:52

I just finished reading All The Dead Are Here by Pete Bevan (author is married to a MNer but I don't recall her username). I haven't been that scared by a book since I read Salem's Lot when I was 14. If you like a good Zombie Apocalypse book then I can highly recommend it.

ooo GeeinitLaldy i love a good zombie apocalypse book! smile Have you read World war Z? If not i highly recommend that on smile

VerySmallSqueak Tue 29-Oct-13 14:40:18

Recently "The plague of the dead" by Z A Recht (zombies)

For its day,"The Rats" by James Herbert.

VerySmallSqueak Tue 29-Oct-13 14:46:47

Not from a ghosties and ghoulies POV but from a subject matter POV (nuclear bombs):

"Aftermath" by Roger Williams

SpecialAgentFreyPie Sun 10-Nov-13 11:41:44


The thought of an 'on purpose' stroke chills me.

Ellisisland Sun 10-Nov-13 11:51:51

Just finished reading 'How to be a Good Wife' and that really gave me the creeps

BeQuicksieorBeDead Sun 10-Nov-13 12:04:17

Some great things on this thread. Thanks everyone, have filled my amazon basket!

I love M.R. James, Whistle and I'll Come to you....is terrifying.

Shirley Jackson is brilliant, The Haunting of Hill House has been mentioned but I love We Have Always Lived in the Castle...creepy!

Emma's Diary is also creepy. For very different reasons.

dizhin79 Sun 10-Nov-13 22:52:15

One not for pregnant women Nemesis, Shaun Hutson, eeeurgh!!!! Disturbed isn't quite a strong enough word as I recall it *closes that chapter of mind again*shock

MrsBradleyCooper Wed 13-Nov-13 18:43:10

Marking place to read later

nobodysbaby Wed 13-Nov-13 21:48:25

All Adam Nevill's are brilliant, especially The Ritual.

Welshwabbit Wed 13-Nov-13 22:07:15

I'm sure everyone will laugh, but when I was 10 I read "And then there were None" by Agatha Christie and it scared the pants off me. Couldn't get to sleep and when I did, I had nightmares. I love Agatha Christie, but that one still scares me, even now.

steff13 Sun 17-Nov-13 03:09:06

I've read quite a few scary/horror novels, but Red Dragon was the only one that I've actually had to stop reading because it scared me so much.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is not exactly scary, more disturbing, but it's excellent.

madasamarchhare Sun 17-Nov-13 09:26:12

My amazon wish list has just grown with so many recommendations on here so many sound fab. I must admit though mo hayder with birdman and the treatment were absolutely brilliant. In fact I may start reading them again

tb Sun 17-Nov-13 15:24:05

Anything by Jean-Christophe Grangé - the first one I read was Serment des Limbes, all about negative near death experiences. I was reading until 2am to find a safe place to put the book down.

They're really good though.

LittleBairn Sun 17-Nov-13 16:40:08

The hand Maids Tale by Margaret Atwood made me feel sick to my stomach and stayed with me for a long time afterwards.

Bram Stoker Dracula I found really creepy.

paperclips Sun 17-Nov-13 16:48:00

The Shining. Scary as! I read a few Stephen King books when I was a teenager, as you do, but I think this was scariest.

Recently I read "Into the darkest corner" which I really wasn't expecting to find scary, and I did.

Watching this post with interest as I might want to read something scary next.

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