People love to be scared. Perhaps it is fascination or maybe it is the adrenaline rush of finding yourself with cold sweat and pounding pulse because of a scary experience. The perpetual popularity of the horror genre in fiction is probably the best proof that we like these stories.
Horror is indeed a genre of fiction that has always been a hit with the fans. Whether it is horror novel or short story or a film that’s keeping people sleepless, you can say that horror has never been a bigger hit. Fans of horror that find it more terrifying to read a scary story than anything, have much to choose from. That’s because there is such a rich source of literature that’s dedicated to making people’s blood curl, perhaps much more than what some might think.
Let us thus take a short and yet pulse-pounding look at some of the scariest books
ever written. Read on at your own risk, and try to see if you could get to read each of these books without pausing every now and then – especially if you have yet to read a single line from them.
The Shining by Stephen King
Stephen King is considered to be a master of the horror genre, and The Shining is one of his true masterpieces. This book certainly reinforces that notion and makes it even stronger. The movie that was based on this book has become a classic on its own, carried not only by the great story, but also by the fantastic performances of its actors. But as is usually the case with books and the movies that were based off of it, the books are so much better.
For those who have yet to read the book and are about to do so for the first time, you should read it yourselves. That’s because this is one story that can really get into the head of its readers. It has the capacity to make readers question whether their hold on sanity is still there. The supernatural events as well as the tension in the story are sure to grip them as much the plights of the characters.
As far as the basics of the story, it is likely to be familiar with most people, but here it is: an aspiring writer who also happens to be an alcoholic takes a job as a caretaker of a mountain resort during its off-season. He took advantage of the chance to work while also doing some writing and at the same be with his wife and son. The son happens to be a “shiner” who can see the haunting that’s happening within the hotel.
IT by Stephen King
It is another great work by the master himself, Stephen King. Many are even of the opinion that this is the most terrifying work, although it might share that distinction with the one that made the top of this list. There’s no denying how much of a great work IT is, which reaches deep into the hearts of those who read it and touches upon their own fears. IT is basically about fear itself, which helps in making it all that more effective.
Originally published in 1986, IT describes the events surrounding seven children as they are subjugated to horrifying events by a particularly evil being. This being usually appears in the guise of a clown – Pennywise the Dancing Clown. He sows terror into his victims by exploiting their phobias as well as their deepest fears and all the while he is wearing the form of the clown and he hunts for his latest prey.
The reason that the evil being typically takes on the form of a clown is to ensure that it is able to attract the kind of prey that it prefers – young children. Themes that run throughout the novel are the very ones that would recur in most of King’s novels – trauma sustained during childhood, the power that memory holds over people, and the truth behind so-called traditional and small town values.
IT received widespread acclaim right from the start. In 1986, it was said to be the bestselling book in the United States. The following year, 1987, the book received nominations for the World Fantasy and Locus Awards and won the British Fantasy Award.
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
We all know about The Exorcist, but it is mostly because of the movie. Even though the novel was an instant classic, the movie became better known because it was such a massive success. And further proof of the high quality of the novel is that it has consistently remained a staple of lists featuring the greatest horror novels ever.
So the movie shocked the world when it was first shown, which is great as it reflected on the quality of the story on which it is based. However, it should be noted that the general consensus about the novel is that it is many times more terrifying than the movie, so that’s something to think about especially for horror who have yet to read it.
The main characters in the story are an old priest, a young priest, a police detective, and the young girl who becomes possessed. It is the old priest who is the one who is a specialist when it comes to demons and exorcisms, while the younger priest who is actually in the process of struggling with his beliefs because his mother has died. The police detective, on the other hand, is investigating a murder.
Aside from the supernatural aspects of the book, what make it such a great book are the themes that it tries to tackle. Themes like faith and about how unfair life could be, are undoubtedly serious issues that makes the readers think and consider their own beliefs. For how can anyone remain steadfast on their faith when life has been quite unfair to them? It makes one look at how vulnerable he is and especially when confronting evils that seem beyond our power to comprehend or withstand.
Books of Blood Volumes 1 to 3 by Clive Barker
Many consider this collection of stories by author Clive Barker to be the scariest horror book of all time. That’s pretty high praise, considering how the genre has spawned so many great works over the years. Although it is a series of books, Barker has always had a single vision running through it, so much so that it could be considered as a single piece of work.
When it was first published in 1984 and through 1985, Barker became an instant star and even had Stephen King label him as the “future of horror”. It garnered awards such as the British and World Fantasy Awards during that time. An inspiration for the work was Dark Forces, which Barker read in the early 80’s.
There are many different kinds of stories in the volumes, and some elements of fantasy are mixed in with all of the horror. Stories usually involve ordinary people in a contemporary setting who are thrust into mysterious and weird events. The range of the stories also varies widely and the tones do tend to have variations as well.
These are some of the scariest titles in fiction so far. These books are so scary that you might forget that you are just reading fiction and that’s what makes them classics.