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The horror genre has stood the test of time and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It is the gift that keeps on giving. I mean, who doesn't love good horror story? There are a handful of great horror movies that are released every year and I'm in line to see every single one. I don't mean to brag but I've seen the best horror movies on Netflix and all the classics. However, there is usually a considerable amount of time between the release dates of horror movies throughout the year. So how can someone get their horror fix if there are no movies out?
Well, I've recently discovered that the scariest horror books are just as good, if not better, than most of the movies out nowadays. It's simple; books have more room to develop characters, plot lines, and of course, scares. So if you're desperately awaiting the next scream-inducing flick to arrive, check out some of these books while you wait—they're guaranteed to make you scream all the same.
Diary by Chuck Palahniuk
Chuck Palahniuk's Diary is relatively short if you have a small attention span or don't have much spare time to read. Don't let the 272 pages fool you though, this book is packed with scary conspiracy theories, plot twists, and a creepy island with creepy tourists to boot. I, personally, am a sucker for any story on a weird island. Any story that's cut off from society is usually the perfect setting for strange and mysterious events going down, and Diary proves me right and then some.
Salem's Lot by Stephen King
The uncrowned king of the making people jump and author of many of the scariest horror books in existence, Stephen King makes his inevitable appearance. The original Salem's Lot was released in 1975 and became a #1 best-seller across America. The new and improved edition is the one I've decided to include because it has photographs, fifty pages of deleted and alternate scenes, and two short stories that connect with the original events.
It centers around a small town in America, Jerusalem’s Lot, that suffers from its residents turning into demonic beings. Okay, they turn into vampires, but demonic beings sound a lot cooler. This was before vampires were turned into attractive, glow in the dark high schoolers, so don't worry about them being lame and not scary, that is certainly not the case.
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Made into a major motion picture in 2011 (and sporting a 76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), We Need to Talk About Kevin started off as a best-selling novel in 2003. It also is more relevant and powerful now than ever before. The story is told from the first-person perspective of a mother whose son has committed a school shooting.
We learn the background of the son's upbringing and the rocky relationship he has with his mother and we, as readers, try to glean what could have caused him to commit such a heinous act. Shriver's well-written, insightful story won the Orange Prize in 2005, which is a U.K.-based prize for female authors who have written the best novel of the year.
The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Being the dog person that I am, it makes sense to me that one of the scariest horror books includes a possessed cat that, in turn, possesses its human owner. It just seems realistic, and I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often. Worm, the name given to the possessed cat of this story, is being controlled by witches that make it commit nefarious deeds. Soon, they come to control Jessica, the owner of the cat, and it all goes downhill from there. If you're a dog person, read this and use it as evidence against everyone you know who prefers those with nine lives.
Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons
Described as "one of the three greatest horror novels of the 20th century" by Stephen King, the aforementioned king of scary novels, this is one you need to check out. Carrion Comfort is another work that reimagines vampires to be scarier and more terrifying than what the 21st century has offered so far.
This race of nightwalkers is known as "mind vampires" and are capable of dominating other people and bending them to their wills, reading their minds, and experiencing events through their controlled victims' senses. It's creepy, suspenseful, and will have you valuing the horror aspects that vampires should possess.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Qualifying as one of the scariest horror books on the cover alone, Coraline is the real deal. Neil Gaiman's modern classic follows a young girl named Coraline who finds an alternate world from the boring one she knows through a mirror. In this world, she has two loving parents and an incredibly exciting life... Only, something is a bit off. Her parents have ghost-like skin and have buttons for eyes.
Does that sound creepy enough for you? It does for me but the best part is, it gets even worse. Full of strange occurrences and frightening sequences, Coraline keeps you on the edge of your seat and will make you think about what you truly want in life. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman
Finally, a weird cult that engages in odd rituals, Christopher Buehlman has hit the sweet spot of horror fiction. Admittedly biased, this type of horror story is my favorite for a few reasons. The first being that you truly connect with the main character because everyone else is insane and they react exactly as you would. The second being it's much more terrifying when no one around you is logical but are extremely connected with everyone else, making you the isolated, sane one.
The final reason is that it's produced my second favorite "so bad that it's good" movie, The Wicker Man (The Room is #1, obviously). If you haven't seen The Wicker Man, you really should. Despite Nicolas Cage claiming it was misunderstood, it truly is one of the worst movies you can see. Those Across the River is the opposite end of that spectrum, as Frank Nichols and his wife begin to discover the untold secrets of the newfound town they call home. Cults and rituals are always scary and they remain to be here.
Book of Ghost Stories by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl is a famous British writer known for some of the most famous short stories of the modern age. His works include Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG. It's surprising that he also penned one of the scariest horror books you could ever hope to read, but here we are.
Dahl collected his 14 favorite supernatural books and put them all in his Book of Ghost Stories. It's one of the best ghost story books in history because it contains so many high-quality passages and tales. So if ghosts are your thing, these short stories will give you 14 reasons to grab this Dahl classic.
It by Stephen King
No one is surprised with this one, right? One of the best horror movies of 2017, It was a cultural phenomenon well before it was a box office success last year. Arguably Stephen King's most famous work, It was originally released in 1986 and became a #1 best-seller soon after. At 1,138 pages, it's one of the longer horror books you can read but that only serves to increase its horror. Compare the movie with the book and see which one you prefer; my money is on the book.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Published in 1959, The Haunting of Hill House demonstrates that the scariest horror books are timeless. Laying part of the groundwork for the countless horror fiction authors after her, Shirley Jackson's masterpiece is still considered one of the works that shaped the supernatural genre.
The story revolves around four people who are determined to investigate and learn about the supernatural occurrences in the infamous Hill House. With a plot that goes from spooky to terrifying in no time, this will show you some of the roots of all the famous horror works you have seen.