TOP TEN ON TUESDAY - HORROR STORIES

23:25 Jazz Blackwell 0 Comments

It's probably not surprising at all that Little Miss Creepy and Weird is a massive horror fan. Of course, I read books from other genres - I'm quite partial to a touch of fantasy, a little bit of sci-fi -hell, I've even been known to get into a good Chick Lit novel once in every blue moon. But at the very core of my being, I'm a macarbe and strange kind of person and horror is the thing that I crave. As with any genre, there are the good, the bad, and the ugly - and I'm here to share with you what I perceive as the best of the good. I'll preface the list by issuing a warning, just so that I'm not repeating myself ten times over. All of these texts are intended to frighten and/or disturb and as such will inevitably contain content that some people will find upsetting or distressing. If you are easily disturbed, disgusted, upset or frightened, please approach all of these texts with caution.

10. The Secret of Crickley Hall - James Herbert

I got this book as a present for my sixteenth birthday from my brother, who is surprisingly good at book-gifting when he puts his mind to it.

To summarise, it's about the Caleighs - a troubled family who move into a large, countryside house that was once upon a time a home for evacuated orphans. However, as this is a horror novel, things are not quite what they seem and the family finds themselves plagued by supernatural forces. I've a fondness for this book because it is the one that introduced me to the late and great James Herbert, who quickly became one of my all time favourite authors. Some of you may have seen the BBC miniseries that was based on this book and if you have, I implore you give it a read. As much as I hate to be that guy (by which I mean I don't hate it at all), the book is so much better. There's a lot more goes on, and Gabe is much, much more three-dimensional in the novel. 

9. The Shining - Stephen King

I'm pretty sure I don't need to summarise this book, because it's on the top-ten list for the whole world and his wife. 

This was actually one of the first horror novels that I ever read. I saw the film at an age so young it's probably deemed unsettling by most (I was a creepy, strange kid - what can I say?) and when I realised it was a book, I jumped at the chance to read it - much to the horror and disapproval of my local librarian. It's classic King - bizarre, frightening and oh, so beautifully written. If you haven't read this book yet, you are absolutely missing out. 

8. What the Night Knows - Dean Koontz

Any fan of Dean Koontz will tell you that, by his usual standards, this novel is shockingly bad. And I agree whole-heartedly. I'm a huge, huge fan of Koontz and What the Night Knows? Well... it's not Odd Thomas*, put it that way. 

That being said, as a novel in and of itself, this one isn't terrible. It's an interesting concept - a string of murders continued from beyond the grave. I've mentioned this book before, in my favourite villains post, where I lauded Alton Turner Blackwood as one of my top ten - and he's a lot of the reason the book made this list. Infinitely creepy and the absolute embodiment of pure evil, he's a villain you will absolutely love to hate. 

*At this point I'd like to state that, while I'm a huge, huge fan of the Odd Thomas series, it didn't quite make this list because as far as I'm concerned its primary genre is detective/thriller, and I wanted to dedicate this list to primarily horror stories. 

7. The Tell-Tale Heart - Edgar Allan Poe

Don't you look at me in that tone of voice. 

I don't care how clichéd it is. I just really bloody love Edgar Allan Poe. The dude is well-loved for a reason - he was fantastic at what he did. I actually almost went one step further into the cliché and let The Raven take this spot, but I've decided to save that for a Favourite Ballads post that you can expect in coming weeks. The Tell-Tale Heart is a truly creepy tale of madness, murder and paranoia, and it's not very long either. 

You have no excuses for not reading this one.  

6. Blind Witness - Nick Shadow 

The Midnight Library actually almost made it onto the post about my favourite series from two Tuesdays ago. However, it can't really be called a series in that there's no consistent story across all of the books - there are twelve books, each a collection of three short stories and boy, oh boy, will they wet your horror appetite. They are technically aimed at a younger audience but I don't really care about that, I first read the books in Year Five at the age of nine and I still thumb through them as keenly as I did back then. 

Blind Witness is by far my favourite book from the collection, and I don't really have a reason why. It's just the one that's really sticks in my head every time that I read it. As I mentioned earlier, this is aimed at a younger audience but I would be careful when giving them to your kids. Imagine if Goosebumps was on steroids, and that's about how scary these are. If you intend to give these to a child who is easily frightened, or are easily frightened yourself and intend to read them, know that the fact that they are children's books does not make them in any way less scary. 

5. Ghost Beach - R.L. Stine

Speaking of Goosebumps, Ghost Beach had to get a shout out on this list. For a solid four years of my childhood, this was my favourite book ever. I live pretty near to the coast, and every time I went to the shore as a kid I'd hope for some kind of otherworldly encounter so I could be cool like this book. 

Like I keep telling you. Young Jazz was both strange and creepy. 

4. The Call of Cthulu - H.P. Lovecraft

Much like Poe, Lovecraft is popular for a reason - his stories are just so damned good. 

The Call of Cthulu is probably the most famous of Lovecraft's works. I'd've liked to maintain my low-key hipster status and chosen one of his lesser heard-of pieces, but I just couldn't find it within myself to skip over this one. Creepily enough, this story has a place in my heart and it always will. Much like The Shining, I believe enough people have read this story that I don't need to make a summary and if you haven't, I implore you to drop everything you're doing and go find it, right now, and read it. It really is wonderful. 

3.  Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill

Another book you've seen mentioned before - this time from my favourite heroes post. This book is actually relatively new to me, and it was very much a where have you been my whole life?! deal after I finished it for the first time at the start of this year. Starring the king of the badasses, Judas Coyne and featuring some pretty awesome, yet pretty gruesome imagery, this is definitely worth a read for absolutely anyone who enjoys horror. Joe Hill is every bit as good at writing as his father, and his style is just phenomenal. Really, do pick this up if you get the chance. You won't regret it. 

2. Dracula - Bram Stoker

Ah, the clichéd classic. And classic for a reason. 

I'm sure everyone is familiar with at least the basic story of Dracula, if not from reading the original novel, for the hundreds upon hundreds of adaptations - both in literature and film - that have been made over the years. Those adaptations are truly a testament to how amazing this text is. Few novels stand the test of time the way that Dracula has. 

1. '48 - James Herbert

Up until recently, when I discovered the wondrous lunacy of Angela Carter, '48 was absolutely my favourite book. Once again, this novel made it onto my favourite heroes list because honestly? My heart belongs to Eugene Nathaniel Hoke. I have a full review on this book, so I won't waste your time banging on and on about it, but I will absolutely recommend it to you a hundred thousand times over. If you read no other books on this list, make sure you read this one.


What are your favourite horror novels? Agree with any of mine? Have I intrigued you to pick any of these up? Let me know! 

Happy reading 
Jazz xo 

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