1. kitsune4
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    kitsune4 Member

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    Horror fiction recommendations?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by kitsune4, Apr 7, 2014.

    Hello everyone,

    I'm looking for some recommendations on some horror novels or short stories to read. I've read a bit of Stephen King but otherwise have no idea what authors or specific stories might be good to read (and I know to some Stephen King is debatable).

    I don't have a specific sub-genre in mine, I'm generally just looking for truly creepy or horrifying stories.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    Clive Barker's Books of Blood is a great place to start, I'd say. In these six volumes he terrifies, creeps-out, disgusts and inspires jaw-dropping awe, usually in the same story. For me, these stories demonstrate what can be done with horror, pushing those boundaries, and through into other genres. Which isn't a bad thing!
     
  3. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    Another vote for Barker from me.
     
  4. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    If you want to read some older horror, go for Edgar Allan Poe's works - you can get his complete collection for only a few pounds/dollars.
     
  5. Youssef Salameh
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    Youssef Salameh Active Member

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    Hi! indeed Edgar Allan Poe is one of the greatest writers in the world ever.
    Furthermore, although reading has very great value, and has no substitute, movies are considered the other face of the coin.
    There are many movies that have that shocking horror impact, for example "The conjuror movie, vacancy, 1408, and many other movies.
     
  6. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Hahaha, no he wasn't.

    Horror is funny, because it depends on what you mean. To get a good, broad ranging experience of the genre in a little amount of time get online and read a few of Poe's stories (though a lot are not actually 'horror'), a few stories by H.P. Lovecraft, get yourself a copy of, or read online, Dracula and Frankenstein, and then get yourself into the scribbles of Stephen King to see how and why horror is dying, and a copy of House of Leaves to see where horror should be going but sadly isn't. 'Horror' really covers a vast range of styles, writers, and movements, do you mean the Gothic? The science-based horror? The 'suburb' horror?

    There was a wonderful time for horror fans about 7 years ago when House of Leaves was popular, people were experimenting with more psychologically induced scares, and everything looked like a second revival of horror was coming, one that focused on psychology and a kind of weird, pseudo-internet mythology with things like the Slenderman. Sadly, that didn't happen. Psychological Horror fell on its arse because it wasn't getting the talent it needed to sustain itself, and Slenderman ... sorry, Marble Hornets is not scary anymore.
     
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  7. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    But that's just it, horror isn't dying. Record audiences for series like the Walking Dead and horror movies shows us that horror is still popular. Even Stephen King is still a bestselling writer. What's happened is that horror fans can get their fix watching it rather than reading it.
    And readers are now moving over to more mainstream horrors, such as crime and serial killers. They still have their horrors but they are packaged differently (such as John Connolly).
    I don't think there would have been any saviour for horror fiction, even with House of Leaves. Publishers have mostly moved on, and what horror or suspense stories they put out are marketed as "literature". The exceptions are books like The Passage, which are successful when they are marketed and publicised well enough. Which is another problem: publishers just don't want to publicise horror fiction anymore.
    Thankfully, those who are unashamedly publishing horror fiction, such as Salt Publishing, aren't going for a particular sub-genre, it's too stifling.

    Ultimately what makes horror successful is whether it plugs into the fears of modern audiences. Poe, Lovecraft etc can tell you how it was done effectively in the past, but you need to know what horrifies and scares people now to be really effective.
    And it ain't just about scaring people either or grossing them out. It's got to entertain, and that isn't the same thing as frightening the bejesus out of someone.
     
  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Films like Saw are torture-porn, they are just not scary. Most of the horror films released recently have been arse-gravy, relying on cheap jumpscares and creepy images. And The Walking Dead? Every time I hear that mentioned there is always someone in the room who says 'I am so sick of zombies'. The oversaturation of zombie-related fiction or 'a gang of teenagers all picked off, one by one, by evil *blank*' is killing the genre. The fact that it's moving from literature to film is evident of this. In film its easier.

    And no, the point of horror is to scare people. That's why the genre exists in the first place. That's really one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read: imagine a horror novel without any horror, or imagine a romance novel without any romance in it.

    It's like imagining an adventure story where the characters side around the house all day eating pizza and watching TV.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
  9. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    Did I say horror shouldn't scare people? Please read my reply again.
     
  10. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    'And it ain't just about scaring people either or grossing them out. It's got to entertain, and that isn't the same thing as frightening the bejesus out of someone.'

    I can think of a few things that scare and don't entertain. 'Entertain' is subjective, however, so something that entertains should not be a prerequisite for entry into a genre. For example, Ulysses is a lot of fun if you read it right, and the characters never stop moving in that novel. Does that make Ulysses an adventure story?
     
  11. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    You've answered this already by using Saw as an example of horror done badly. It is just horror for the sake of it. There is no entertainment in that. When I mean entertain, there has to be a reason for it. I can jump out at someone and scare the crap out of someone, but if there's no reason for it, they'll only get a fright which they'll hate ... Or they'll call the police.
     
  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    You jumping out and scaring someone isn't a creative work. I'm not sure why you think that something must do *blank* and entertain to qualify as being part of a genre, but it's not a good way to structure your thinking on literature genres - all fiction is trying to entertain. The fact that some don't is just down to taste and the skill of the creator. For something to be in the horror genre it's primary focus must be to scare the audience.
     
  13. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    And again, re-read my reply. I didn't de-prioritise scaring within horror, just suggested that successful horrors should also entertain. Horror is horror whether it entertains or not, just as murder is murder whether or not someone finds it fun. A thing is a thing is a thing and so on. But look at what makes them successful.
    For example, Stephen King in his own words has said he is successful because he entertains his audience; he makes them care for the characters he puts in horrifying situations. I go along with that one. I mean how can millions of readers be wrong?
    (And please, don't use the Dan Brown argument!!)
     
  14. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Adding the word 'successful' doesn't change what you said. Of course horror should try to entertain, as I pointed out in the post you replied to, all fiction should try to entertain, so saying (as you originally did) that horror should also entertain is utterly redundant.

    Steven King is a funny example for me, because I like Stephen King more when he's not tethering himself. And to be fair, so does Stephen King himself when he's honest. I've heard him say many times he dislikes being called a 'horror writer'. But popularity is not the hallmark of quality; I can think of plenty of things that are not known today, but were popular many moons ago. Back around WW1 there was a huge, international best seller called When it Was Dark by a writer named Guy Thorne. You'd be hard-pressed to find a copy of it today. Cute you asked me not to mention Dan Brown though, shows critical thinking and I like that.
     
  15. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    Perhaps I should've explained what I meant by "entertain" and "successful" in my original post?

    And, not a fan of Dan Brown?;)
     
  16. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    If I'm picky about Stephen King and E.A. Poe, just imagine what I think of Dan Brown. :p
     
  17. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    Me neither. I prefer Dan Brown's existentialist works. :D
     
  18. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    I guess what's horrifying me right now is that after an erroneous mouse-button press on this forum it has directed me to a porn site.
    What's that all about? :eek:
     
  19. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Well, halfway through his Inferno I did start feeling I was in a godless, joyless, ridiculous universe where we are all alone and doomed to simply become rotting, empty shells. But then I read something else and felt much better.

    I'm a fan of Dante. And yes, I've read all of Dan Brown's novels. No, I don't know why either.
     
  20. Youssef Salameh
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    The great author, Poe, did not specialize only in horror, he wrote science fiction, satire, detective and horror stories, etc... these factors ae among the few that let him deserve to be among the greatest people.
    As for the horror itself, to know its effect, then it should be experienced. If someone reads it, and doesn't experience the meanings of it, and the moral in the story, and grasp the elements of it, then he can't judge it.
    There is a difference between skimming and reading with attention. Furthermore, the story should be illustrated in a film; and that's were it breathes. So to make itself understood, it should contain all the elements of successful story; entertainment and horror.
    Let's take into consideration the "Raven" poem by Edgar Allan Poe. the thought of a talking bird is normal, because parrots can talk. But could a raven talk, as a normal person speaking to someone? and never leave that person? Absolutely not.
    But everything is possible, and here where the horror came. Horror is horror, and does not have a certain era. What changes is our view to the things, how we take it into consideration.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
  21. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Ravens can talk:



    The raven in the poem only sits on a bust of Pallas/Athene above some door and repeats the same word over and over, 'Nevermore'. The raven in the video above imitates and repeats more than just one word, it seems to have at least a four-word vocabulary. The narrator of The Raven also theorizes that his raven learned that word from an 'unhappy master/whom unmerciful disaster fallowed fast and followed faster', and we never really know what the narrator is actually doing while he's talking to the bird, he could just be standing around with his hands in his pockets, but the bird is out of reach and it must feel safe. That's all it did, the Raven in the poem is actually completely believable as an entity.

    I don't think Poe was a 'great' author. I think he certainly was a good one, but 'great'? I'm perfectly happy to admit this might be my Classical background talking, but Poe hasn't earned that status in my opinion.
     
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  22. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    A lot of people I know did the same thing, scratching their heads and wondering what possessed them to not only read, but buy Inferno, after the previous warnings.
    In my case, I admit to giving up half-way through the Da Vinci Code. I thought I'd give the movie a try too, but gave up half-way through that as well.
    Sorry, going off-topic. Must get back to the writing too ...
     
  23. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Bentley Little, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon. Brian Keene, Simon Clark. Not sure what you're interested in. Or what level of horror you'd enjoy so it's hard to say. Richard Laymon is rather like Stephen King without the wordiness. He's very fast paced has interesting characters - it's hard not to like him. Bentley Little loves psychological horror. Jack Ketchum looks more towards the horror workings of people rather than the paranormal. Brian Keene I think does graphic novels as well so there's a touch of that in his work he's done zombies and giant worms overtaking the earth ( actually that was a pretty interesting read ). I haven't read many of Simon Clark's but his one zombie novel I read was well done.
     
  24. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    For me horror is Edgar A. Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.
    It's the only horror that makes sense to me, I'm not a big fan of the genre.
     
  25. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    Oooh, forgot about Simon Clark. He wrote a very uncomfortable novel called King Blood. It appealed to the apocalyptic-nut in me, but it was very nasty in places. Once I got through that bit, I really liked it. Good characters, believable situations, and compelling. But absolutely not for the faint-hearted.
     

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