Forget (illegal) costume-parties and predictable horror films, this Halloween you are cordially invited to spend your dark October evenings in the company of ghouls, monsters and the occasional axe-murderer. After hours of research and deliberation, I have compiled the ultimate list of Halloween themed book suggestions, one that isn’t just a regurgitation of the typical choices of Shelley, King or Stoker, but a selection of varied, lesser-known horror books for you to really sink your teeth into.
- The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
Perhaps the basis for every haunted house film since, ‘The Amityville Horror’ is a controversial book and film ‘supposedly’ based on the real-life events experienced by the Lutz family after moving to their new house. Soon after moving in, they realise their house is haunted by the DeFoe family who had lived there a few years prior, who were murdered by their eldest son, Ronald Defoe, whilst they slept…
2. The Call of Cthulu by H.P. Lovecraft
In this novel, H.P. Lovecraft creates one of the most iconic entities in the history of horror fiction and perhaps all of literature! It focuses on the dangers that come with the constant pursuit of knowledge in a manner akin to Shelley’s Frankenstein. You can’t create a list of great horror novels without including Lovecraft, given that his work is so entertaining it has its own sub-genre!
3. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
In an era where psychology was just emerging as a science, we are left to follow a Governess who attempts to protect the children she is looking after from the ghosts of the manor’s past residents – but do the ghosts really exist? Suspenseful and full of twists, James’ novel is one to remember.
4. The Doll Master and Other Tales of Terror by Joyce Carol Oates
This collection of shorts is extremely creepy. The titular tale, The Doll House follows a young boy who develops a fetish for dolls after his sister dies of a rare disease, eventually taking a horrifying turn as he gets older. The entire collection is extremely unsettling – which is perhaps the best quality a horror-story can have.
5. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
A post-apocalyptic novel set in a dystopian future where most civilization have been blinded by an apparent meteor shower and are now being set upon by an aggressive species of plants. Despite being classified as science-fiction, this is the perfect novel for those who are tired of the same old horror genre stereotypes.