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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.

Tapirbackrider Sun 25-Aug-13 01:34:18

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Message withdrawn at poster's request.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 ...

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 27-Oct-13 11:26:04

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.

NoMoreMarbles Mon 28-Oct-13 14:18:42

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.

NoMoreMarbles Tue 29-Oct-13 14:35:57

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.

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