50 Scariest Books of All Time: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

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Halloween is near, and if you’ve been following along I’m reading and reviewing my way down one site’s list of the 50 scariest books of all time. Today I bring to you a classic from my childhood –

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
By – Alvin Schwartz

Scary_Stories_to_Tell_in_the_Dark_cover

It seems that people who are really drawn to horror as adults, got into it as young children. I really cannot explain to you what it is about horror that I love so much, but what I can tell you is that I have memories of watching Night of the Living Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Pet Semetary, It, The Amityville Horror, etc. for the first time as vividly as I remember what I ate for breakfast today. I was 6 years old and it was New Years Eve, mom let me stay up late and Night of the Living Dead was playing on TV – I remember that but I don’t remember meeting my sister for the first time and I was 6 when she was born…  priorities, right?

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is classic to kids who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s – they scared us to death!

Light, cheerful nighttime reading.

Light, cheerful nighttime reading.

There are three volumes in total, and they are all amazing. The stories are urban legends and folk tales all adapted by the author, and the illustrations that came with these tales are the things of my nightmares to this day. Sadly the publishers have taken the terror out of the artwork for the newer generations. It’s a tragedy!

original

Original on the left, tame new version on the right.

If you can get a copy of the original version of these three books, do so and don’t let go! If you can only find the newer versions that’s fine too, the stories are all amazing still, it’s just the illustrations that have been changed.

Regardless, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a must have for anyone who loves horror, adults and kids alike!

50 Scariest Books of All Time (3 down, 47 to go)

  1. It – Stephen King
  2. Piercing – Ryu Murakami
  3. The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty
  4. Ghost Story – Peter Straub
  5. American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
  6. Hell House – Richard Matheson
  7. Dracula – Bram Stoker
  8. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  9. The Best of H.P. Lovecraft – H.P. Lovecraft
  10. The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
  11. House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
  12. The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
  13. The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
  14. Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin
  15. The Amityville Horror – Jay Anson
  16. The Trial – Frankz Kafka
  17. Books of Blood – Clive Barker
  18. Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
  19. Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill
  20. Carrion Comfort – Dan Simmons
  21. The Complete Tales and Poems – Edgar Allan Poe
  22. Dawn – Octavia Butler
  23. We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
  24. The Girl Next Door – Jack Ketchum
  25. The Painted Bird – Jerzy Kosinski
  26. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
  27. The Cipher – Kathe Koja
  28. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  29. The Ruins – Scott Smith
  30. Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – M. R. James
  31. Naomi’s Room – Jonathan Aycliffe
  32. The Ritual – Adam Nevill
  33. Johnny Got His Gun – Dalton Trumbo
  34. Incarnate – Ramsey Campbell
  35. The Woman in Black – Susan Hill
  36. The Great God Pan – Arthur Machen
  37. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – Alvin Schwartz
  38. The October Country – Ray Bradbury
  39. White is for Witching – Helen Oyeyemi
  40. Let the Right One In – John Ajvide Lindqvist
  41. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream – Harlan Ellison
  42. The Collector – John Fowles
  43. The Store – Bently Little
  44. Penpal – Dathan Auerbach
  45. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  46. Swan Song – Robert R. McCammon
  47. The Wolfen – Whitley Strieber
  48. The Hot Zone – Richard Preston
  49. The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson
  50. 1984 – George Orwell

 

Book Review: Witches, Stitches and Bitches

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I’m going to take a break from going through the list of 50 Scariest Books of All Time, and bring to you another review, just in time for Halloween!

Witches, Stitches and Bitches
Edited by Shannon Page

WS&B

Evil Girlfriend Media has published the first of their three little word anthologies. As you can guess from the title, each story has to encompass witches, stitches, and well…yeah…bitches! There are 16 short stories in total – some set in our world, some set in fantasy lands, all including stitches in vastly imaginative ways ranging from stitched up doppelgängers to a skin stitched from dogs. And the bitches…well you won’t be disappointed by them.

I’m going to reflect here my review from Amazon. I am a woman, but I tend to hate when too much “girl power” is thrown around.  It’s not like I want the man to oppress me, but I tend to be turned off by too much women’s lib as well. That being said, I was a bit apprehensive I was sitting down to potentially read nothing but a bunch of girls rule boys drool stories.

That is absolutely NOT the case at all. These are all fun and vastly different treats. I love short stories and found them all evenly paced and developed. These short stories are written by men and women with different styles – you seriously cannot go wrong.

Check out the EGM site for more about this fun little publisher, plus links to where you can buy the book. There are two more similar anthologies coming out in the near future!

50 Scariest Books of All Time – A Challenge

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I’ve always been a sucker for horror. At 29 years old I can without a doubt say that for over 2 decades I’ve been in love with the genre. I’ve also found that it seems people who love horror were drawn to it at a young age. For me it was Stephen King’s It, and A Nightmare on Elm Street that I remember watching first in the early 90’s. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare came out when I was 7 years old in 1991, and I saw it in the theater. So by the time I was 7 I was already a die-hard Freddy Krueger fan, because I begged to be allowed to go see the movie once the previews began running on TV.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that I am really into horror!

Recently my local library posted a link to a list of the 50 Scariest Books of All Time. Admittedly these are listed as the scariest books, not the 50 greatest horror novels – so some of these are non-fiction horrific events.  Some of these I’ve read, but a lot I haven’t. So that got me thinking – I love making up book challenges for myself, (like my challenge to read 10 books in January 2012), so why not read and review all 50 books! It should be a fun challenge for not only my inner book geek but also my inner horror geek!

  1. It – Stephen King
  2. Piercing – Ryu Murakami
  3. The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty
  4. Ghost Story – Peter Straub
  5. American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
  6. Hell House – Richard Matheson
  7. Dracula – Bram Stoker
  8. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  9. The Best of H.P. Lovecraft – H.P. Lovecraft
  10. The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
  11. House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
  12. The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
  13. The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
  14. Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin
  15. The Amityville Horror – Jay Anson
  16. The Trial – Frankz Kafka
  17. Books of Blood – Clive Barker
  18. Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
  19. Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill
  20. Carrion Comfort – Dan Simmons
  21. The Complete Tales and Poems – Edgar Allan Poe
  22. Dawn – Octavia Butler
  23. We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
  24. The Girl Next Door – Jack Ketchum
  25. The Painted Bird – Jerzy Kosinski
  26. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
  27. The Cipher – Kathe Koja
  28. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  29. The Ruins – Scott Smith
  30. Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – M. R. James
  31. Naomi’s Room – Jonathan Aycliffe
  32. The Ritual – Adam Nevill
  33. Johnny Got His Gun – Dalton Trumbo
  34. Incarnate – Ramsey Campbell
  35. The Woman in Black – Susan Hill
  36. The Great God Pan – Arthur Machen
  37. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – Alvin Schwartz
  38. The October Country – Ray Bradbury
  39. White is for Witching – Helen Oyeyemi
  40. Let the Right One In – John Ajvide Lindqvist
  41. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream – Harlan Ellison
  42. The Collector – John Fowles
  43. The Store – Bently Little
  44. Penpal – Dathan Auerbach
  45. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  46. Swan Song – Robert R. McCammon
  47. The Wolfen – Whitley Strieber
  48. The Hot Zone – Richard Preston
  49. The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson
  50. 1984 – George Orwell

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Game Over Man, Game Over!

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Ok Ghouls and Goblins. I’m back for another round of my favorite horror films.

Previously I talked about my favorite childhood horror films – which are still favorite films into my adulthood. But now that I’m “grown-up” I’ve discovered a new set of hauntingly good horror.

I can’t choose an order, though, so without further ado here are my favorite horror films.

Hellraiser

This movie is based on Clive Barker’s novella The Hellbound Heart – which is a must read for any fan of horror. Pinhead is probably the most terrifying franchise movie villain to me (you know, out of Jason, Freddy, Chucky, etc..)

The Devil’s Rejects

This Rob Zombie flick is probably one of my favorite movies ever, horror or otherwise. The main characters have no redeeming qualities about them, and the ending is just epic. If you want to see the ending – go here. It is probably in my top 5 favorite movie endings of all time.

Cabin in the Woods

This is, of course, a newer film by Joss Whedon. I love it because Thor is in it, I mean Chris Hemsworth…I mean that’s not why I love it, it’s a great story! It looks like the standard dumb teenagers go camping movie, but it’s definitely got some interesting twists!

Saw

What I love about Saw is the fact that it was almost never-ending. When I was a kid i loved that there were a ton of Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, Pinhead, etc films and Saw brought that type of franchise back, and with the exception of a few of those films (the last one.. UGH) they were really good.

Alien/Aliens

I don’t have anything wrong with any of the Alien franchise, but I think the first two are my favorite. I’d even go as far as to say I prefer the second. All because of Bill Paxton. “We’re in some real pretty shit now, man!”

Honestly, it’s hard for me to not like a horror film. I think that’s the good thing about the genre. The ones that are made well are amazing, the ones that flop turn into comedy hour. I find it just as fun to make fun of a bad horror as I do enjoying a good one.

I always find it a little sad when October is over – it does mean loads of turkey around the corner, but the weeks leading up to Halloween are always so much fun. I hope everyone had a great Halloween!

For the Love of Horror

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It’s the theme this time of year – Horror!
I’ve always been a horror fan, literally as long as I can remember. 6 years old watching Night of the Living Dead. 7 years old watching A Nightmare on Elm Street. 8 years old loving Pet Semetary and It…. these movies in a way defined my childhood.

That had me thinking – people who love horror really seem to love horror. I mean almost in a way that it’s ingrained in them as a person. Maybe it’s that way with every genre, and I just dont’ realize it. A lot of my friends are fans of horror as well and we all seemed to be introduced to it as children. Is that why we love it so much as adults?

As an homage to my childhood, here are my favorite horror flicks that defined my love of the genre. I tried to make this list in order but I kept moving some around and can’t decide if I love certain movies more than others so I said screw it – this  list is in no particular order except for number 1, that one is definitely number 1 and always will be.

10. Poltergeist

One of the reasons I didn’t like sleeping with the lights off when I was a kid!  The kid creeped me out, the old lady creeped me out – the whole freaking thing was creepy!

9. The Amityville Horror

This is another I remember watching at a really young age, glued to my granny’s television probably around the age of 9 or 10. I later found the book for 25 cents at a library sale and bought it “for my mom” in hopes of getting my own hands on it.

8. The Lady in White

This is more of a children’s horror (rare for me at that age, I know). When I was 5 or 6, my Papaw would record movies off of HBO for me to watch when I was in town to visit. There was one VHS (yes I’m talking late 80’s early 90’s here) with two movies on it – Mio in the Land of Faraway (has anyone else seen this movie?? It has Christopher Lee and a young Christian Bale in it but no one I have ever met remembers it) and The Lady in White.  I wore that VHS out watching both films, I loved them so much. One fateful day, as was the norm with VHS, my tape was accidentally recorded over and I lost those two movies for years. I finally found the DVD of Lady in White a few years back and snatched it up.

7. IT

I don’t really remember how or when I was introduced to Stephen King. My Memaw and Daddaddy (mom’s parents) love the King and have every book he’s written. I don’t know if it was IT or Pet Semetary that I watched first, either way storm drains were never the same to me after.

6. Pet Semetary

This is one of the movies when I was a kid that actually scared me – it was the sister Zelda. Here, take a look yourself:

Yeah, thanks, I’ll never get out of bed again because I’ll be too busy hiding under the covers from Zelda!

5. The People Under the Stairs

This Wes Craven flick is one that I watched over and over as a kid. I think it terrified me because my Granny and Papaw had stairs to a dark dank basement that I was sure hands were going to start grabbing me from.  I never willingly went into that basement and I think this movie had a part in that.

4. Stephen King’s The Stand

By the time I was 10 I was a pretty hardcore Stephen King fan. When The Stand miniseries came out I was allowed to watch the 1st hour each night, because the 2nd hour was my bedtime. I was so annoyed at that! Thanks mom for making me sleep sheesh. I had to wait until later when the DVD’s came out – then I got to see the whole thing in all its glory. Today the special effects lack a little something but the story itself is so good that I don’t care.

3. Night of the Living Dead

I remember watching this, New Years Eve when I was in the 1st grade. Mom gave me special permission to stay up late because it was a holiday. We even came up with a song for the naked zombie – “I am the zombie butt!”…It was love at first sight, and the first time I remember watching a horror film.

2. Creepshow

I don’t remember how many times I rented this Stephen King classic when I was a kid. There was a movie rental place down the street from my Granny and Pap’s house that I could walk to (though why they were letting someone under the age of 10 rent this crap I can’t tell you!)  I’d go down there and rent some favorites over and over, and this was one of them.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street

This is number 1 for a few reasons. I do remember the first time I watched it – it came on TV and I asked my granny if I could watch it, and she said I could unless I got scared then I’d have to turn it off. Well I didn’t get scared, I fell in love instead. I was around 6 or 7 at the time. It was probably around the same time that Freddy’s Dead came out (1991). I was so excited to see it and I think my friend’s parents must not have known what we were watching because they took us to the movies and dropped us off –I guess 1991 was a simpler time because I can’t imagine dropping a 7-year-old off at the theater — Anyway, man I can’t explain to you how much I loved Freddy Krueger. It seems that a lot of people out there are either a Freddy or  a Jason or a Michael Myers…. I love Friday the 13th and Halloween but Nightmare on Elm street is definitely my main squeeze. Yes I am one of those adults with Freddy Krueger action figures and I’m not ashamed to admit it! While I did love A Nightmare on Elm Street at that young age of 7, I didn’t own any of the movies myself so I didn’t really get into all of them at that time.

Then, when I was in the 6th grade at around 11 or 12 years old, I got really sick. It was dead of winter and I was stuck in bed for a full week. At the time I lived with my Memaw and Daddaddy, and being the awesome grandpa that Daddaddy is he went to the video store and got me the full run – A Nightmare on Elm street all the way through Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Being sick sucked but I couldn’t tell you how many times I watched through the full run of those movies.

So there you have it, my list of my favorite childhood horror films. All of these movies were watched when I was no more than 10 years old. (well…11 or 12 if you count that big run of Elm Street when I was sick in the 6th grade)

I know there are some quintessential 80’s and 90’s horror classics missing from this list – movies i didn’t get to until I was a teenager or an adult. Well, what can I say, I was just a kid and had to watch these movies by my own means….which just means I’ll have to make another horror top 10 before Halloween 😉

Braaaaains

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So, Friday night at midnight kicked of the 2011 Short Screenplay Challenge. Halloween weekend… great, fantastic, thank you so very much. I spent Saturday roaming around on 3 hours of sleep watching Puss in Boots with my 7 year old sister, taking her to the park Halloween-fest, making my Halloween costume,  going to a party – and getting completely smashed, sleeping too late today, and with the 3 hours I had from the time I woke up until the time I had to go to work I lazed around watching the R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour marathon I recorded yesterday (because I’m roughly 12 years old…) instead of thinking about what to write for this challenge.

Our assignment was – Genre: Drama, Location: A pizza shop, Object: A copy machine. Bah humbug … drama?! No thank you. I don’t really feel confident with what I wrote this time around, and I didn’t particularly have fun with it either. These challenges are hard (well its not a challenge if its not hard) but at least I usually have fun with them. This time I was just grumpy. I am not sure how we will place, but even if we bomb this round we still get to go through round 2 and maybe redeem ourselves (that is, my husband and I… no I’m not two people referring to myself as ourselves….or am I!? mwuahaha).

Anyway, onto something a little less grumpy — Halloween! This year I dressed up as Ursula from The Little Mermaid and my husband dressed up as some sort of mishmash guido from Jersey Shore. He painted his face bright orange, that doesn’t come across well in pictures but it was really funny. He also drew “abs” onto his stomach and would go around lifting his shirt to show everyone his situation.

I wish the picture I had for myself was a little better, for some reason I didn’t get many good pictures this year – oh well. I made the necklace out of “Model Magic”, I also made some seashell earrings but they broke and I didn’t have time to fool with making  new ones or fixing the broken ones. For the dress I took an old black dress that I had and 6 black stockings. On one side of the stockings I painted them a light purple with acrylic paint, and then when that dried I painted on suction cups with a darker purple. I sewed the stockings to the dress and blamo done. It took a lot longer to actually do than I thought it would though, thus the almost 0 sleep I had.

Also, there is a reason for this title — we ate brains! We went all over town looking for brains – pig, cow, anything we could find. My favorite was in Wal-Mart. My BFF  (see, I told you I was roughly 12) went up to the guy stocking the shelves, “Do you have any brains?” Yeah, might want to re-state that question next time. At any rate, Kroger was our savior, they had pig brains. Which were of course then fried up and fed to everyone at the party. At some point my husband talked our friend into eating a fried brain and peanut butter sandwich. The worst part was he seemed to genuinely enjoy it.

Halloween is truly the best time of the year!  Everyone dresses up in something, you have an excuse to get smashed, and my husband can find a real reason to force feed people brains. Actually the sad part was everyone seemed a little to willing to try the brains… myself included.