OK horror hounds, it’s time for some basic training. I understand there are a lot of new recruits out there, and even some lifers, that need the foundation to become a true horror aficionado. Now, put your chainsaws and machetes down and listen up. I’m going to give you a list of books and authors you must know inside and out. Are you hearing me Private Pyle?
Decades later and I still obssess over Full Metal Jacket. I’m not going to say you look like 50 pounds of chewed bubble gum. I won’t raise my voice. I’m simply here to open your horror eyes a little wider. Shall we begin?
This is what you should read to see how a master works their trade. I’m only leaving out Stephen King because he’s soooo obvious.
Algernon Blackwood. Get your hands on everything he’s ever done. Read it at night and enjoy your nightmares.
M.R. James. I can’t count how many horror writers cite him as an inspiration.
Richard Matheson. He’s the author of I Am Legend, Hell House, the best Twilight Zone episodes and Kolchak, The Night Stalker. “Nuff said.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Maybe the scareist haunted house novel ever written.
The Store by Bentley Little. So close to the truth that it’s terrifying.
The Magic Cottage by James Herbert. I’m always astounded by how many folks in America have never heard of Herbert. He’s only like the Stephen King of the UK. You can’t lose with any of his books, but I highly suggest you start with this one. He just passed away last month, so cherish each book as you tread down the path of discovery.
Curfew by Phil Rickman. Another UK import, Rickman’s books can be hard to find, but when you do, treasure them.
Richar Laymon. He was taken from us way too soon, but thankfully he was prolific. Almost every up and coming horror super star waxes poetic about his books. My favorites are Bite and One Rainy Night.
Ghoul by Brian Keene. Yes, Keene may be responsible for resurrecting the zombie genre, but Ghoul is still my favorite.
Oh no, I’m not stopping at 10. My list goes to 11.
Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon. Words can’t express how great this book is.
You have your list, now hit the bookshelves. Hard. Stay tuned for part 2 where I highlight movies.
And if there are any books/authors you feel should be on the list, speak now or forever hold your peace.
Don’t get me wrong, Stephen King and Dean Koontz are great writers and I’ve read dozens of their books. But there are so many other excellent authors out there that most people have never heard of. So, I feel it’s my duty to spread the word about these captains of the horror world and some of their better books. Every month I’ll post 3 different books so you have time to pick them up and read them. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
1. The Store, by Bentley Little. — Bentley is a master at exposing the dark fears hidden behind every day people, places and events. He’s arguably the best in the biz now. The Store is a twisted story of a Walmart-ish superstore run by the worst that hell has to offer. Clean up in aisle 666!
2. Necroscope, by Brian Lumley. This is the first in a series of vampire books that Lumley wrote in the 80’s. After all the crap we’ve seen about vampires, this should purge the sparkle from them. These beasts are otherwordly and downright savage. Possibly one of the best horor series ever written.
3. The Magic Cottage, by James Herbert. Not many folks in the US know about his work. Basically, James Herbert is the Stephen King of the UK. And this book is one of his best. Thanks to my pal Karl the Welsh Dragon for turning me on to him.
So now the question is, what books do you think should go on this list?
Need more horror? Brave enough to enter the Forest of Shadows?
What are some of your favorite horror novels? It’s always great to discover new authors and books.