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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.

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 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

quirrelquarrel Fri 02-Aug-13 11:52:25

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

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