20 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Scary

  1. Oh, for me it was not a novel but a short story about Dracula.

    I read it in Russian. My friends for the university were of the opinion that the books I was reading were too soft, so they gave me for my birthday a book with “real” literature inside, as they called it. I don’t remember the authors or the names of the stories. One was of how the hell really looked like. It was not fire around the sinners, but the fire within that made them crazy. That story was very memorable.

    But the scariest was about Dracula. I don’t think it was the original one. What happened is that I tried to read it after not having slept almost all night, learning for an exam. And I tried to read it after an exam, while being on a trolley-bus on the way home. I became very nauseatic, as I read the first paragraph. I had to stop reading.

    I guess watching the Dracula movie before reading this story was not a good idea. 😉

  2. For me it’s gotta be the Exorcist. When a story leverages on things you believe to be real (God, heaven, a diabolical spiritual opposition; this is why The Davinci Code worked so well, too, though that one wasn’t scary), and then twists it in ways that create a collision between your reality (religion) and the dark side of it (the devil)… that’s a killer recipe for goosebumps. I thought the book was even more frightening than the film, which in and of itself was almost dangerous to watch. Both create scenes that, all these years later, still flicker in the back of my head.

    • Mine too! I was reading it during a flight to Europe. I actually put it down because I was afraid an evil thing was going to crash the plane. (I was a nervous flyer back then.) 😀

  3. I try to stay away from scary books. Horror, zombies, and books about visits to the dentist are just not my thing.

    But I am interested to see what others are going to say.

  4. First, Salem’s Lot, and then Dracula, both of which caused a lot of sleepless nights. When I was about four, a young girl scout selling cookies door-to-do in my town got snatched off the street. It took several weeks before they found her body, and they never had the glimmer of a suspect. I got a million lectures about never talking to strangers or I could end up like her. Books about vampires tap into my fear because hey, vampires look just like normal people, the kind who murder innocent children. Monster books and movies are loads of fun. Books about human or human-appearing monsters? Not so much.

  5. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Read it as a teenager and it scared the bejesus out of me. The movie adaption (first one with Julie Harris) is superb.

    Here’s the opening:

    No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill house, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years, and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, floors were firm, and were doors sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

  6. I had a boss once who was reading the Exorcist. He said he not even half way through when it had him so scared he could not sleep anymore. One morning at work he comes in looking relieved, as if a burden has been lifted off his shoulders.

    “Did finish the book?” I said.

    “Sorta,” he replied.

    “Sorta?”

    “Yeah, I didn’t finish reading it, only got to page 215, but I am definitely done with that evil book.”

    “You’ll pick it up again in a few weeks.”

    “Nope,” he leaned back in his chair and continued, “This morning I stopped by the river and threw that sucker as hard as I could. Watched it float out to the inlet. I will not be picking that book up again ever.”

    “What are you going to read while you’re on vacation next week?”

    The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, about as far from horror as you can get.”

    A few days later, while my boss sat on a beach somewhere, I went to the bookstore, bought a copy of the Exorcist, took it home and put it in a bowl of water along with a handful of sand and some sticks and flotsam from the river. After a good two day soak I set the book on top of a heater vent to dry out. The pages were curled and brown with flecks of sand and various detritus between the pages and embedded into the cover. I took several small dried anchovies from a jar in the pantry and stuck them at page 215. I took the book to work, slipped into his office and put it in his desk drawer where he kept his tea bags and snacks.

    He came back to work the following Monday.

    I’ve never heard an adult male make a sound like the sound he made when he opened his drawer to get a tea bag. And the paleness of his skin….that was scary.

  7. My own current WIP. Unfortunately it’s not a horror novel but everytime I read it I get scared

  8. I would have to say The Stand, by Stephen King. The reason is that I could see that as really being possible, it was so realistic. The fight of good and evil, God and Satan, was poignant to me. The fact that I live in Las Vegas and what happened at the climax made me want to move! 🙂

  9. I’d rather read light and funny than be scared. It’s scary enough to watch the news on TV. I don’t need to bring these nightmares to my reading choices.

  10. When I heard how The Exorcist movie terrified so many people, I just had to see it. The night before I actually did go, I had a nightmare that rendered the movie almost silly. I’d write about it but it still scares me.

  11. My scariest book without a doubt was IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote. Scary because it was real.

  12. I’m gonna cheat and not name a novel but a nonfiction book: HELTER SKELTER by Vincent Bugliosi (sp?), who was a prosecuting attorney on the Manson killings and wrote a book about the crimes and the trial. It’s been a long time since I read it, but I remember it keeping me up at night and giving me nightmares. Not sure I’d ever read it again…

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