As a public service during my favorite season, I offer a selection of my favorite scary stories, novels, comics, and movies for your pleasure.Â This list is by no means all-inclusive, but instead is merely a sampling.
1. “The Box” by Jack Ketchum. A boy on a train asks to look inside the box a stranger is carrying.Â What he sees changes his life and the lives of his family.Â A Bram Stoker Award-winning short and a powerful work by one of the masters.Â Available in Peaceable Kingdom.
2. “Pin” by Robert R. McCammon.Â Three pages of madness and pain that will leave you gasping.Â Seriously, this one is very hard to get through. Available in Blue World.
3. “Witch Hunt” By Andrew Vachss.Â Vachss crams thirteen chapters into right around four pages in this symphony of personal demons and other horrors. Available in Borderands 2 . . . I think.Â It could be in 3.
4. “How Sweet it Was” by Thomas Monteleone.Â An incredible twist on the CthulhuÂ Mythos, combining it with the world of Saturday Morning children’s science shows. I got toÂ see Monteleone readÂ this at Horrorfind this year, and it was a delightful experience.Â Available in Masques V.
5. “NightÂ they Missed the Horror Show” by Joe R. Lansdale.Â Two high school students looking for a bit of harmless fun end up way over their heads.Â Available in High Cotton.
1. Off Season by Jack Ketchum. A group of friends are terrorized by a family of cannibals in a book that that pulls no punches.Â Brutal from start to finish.Â One of two novels in the last five years to give me nightmares.
2. Desperation by Stephen King. And here’s the other one.Â Don’t let the heavy-handed and rather awful TV movie fool you, this is a visceral horror novel of high quality.Â Great work by that King guy.
3. City of the Dead by Brian Keene. Humanity makes its last stand against the zombie hoards in a skyscraper.Â Incredibly fun romp.Â Non-stop action.
4. One Rainy Night by Richard Laymon. A black rain turns the residents of a small town into blood-crazed psychopaths.Â Fun with a great B-Movie feel.
5. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. Matheson’s legendary vampire novel.Â Follow the tragic tale of the last human being on Earth.
1. Uzumaki by Junji Ito. A small village is haunted by spirals in this horror masterpiece.
2. Atmospherics by Warren Ellis and Ken Meyer. A woman is questioned following what may or may not have been an aliean landing.Â Great suspense by Ellis.
3. Batman: Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean. Don’t let the inclusion of Batman fool you.Â This one’s horror from start to finish.
4. Dead West by Rick Spears and Rob G. Zombie fun in the Old West.Â Action and fun in this beautiful black and white book.
5. Scars by Warren Ellis and Jacen Burrows. I didn’t want to repeat writers in one category, but this one’s too good to pass up.Â Ellis gets down to Earth on this one, so down you’re not sure you’ll ever claw your way back up/Â A descent into evil that’s almost too powerful.
1. Halloween. C’mon, where else am I gonna start?Â This one started it all, and Michael Myers remains the best of the movie slashers.
2. Night of the Living Dead (remake).Â The full tilt boogie version of the original.Â Made with Romero’s blessing, and even written by him.Â This one’s a blast.
3. The Evil Dead. Before it got fun, it was just plain terrifying.Â A classic.
4. The Exorcist. Another classic.Â Still the gold standard for horror films.
5. Black Christmas.Â An often overlooked horror movie.Â This one was Scream about 20 years before Scream was made.Â Pick it up today.