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  1. #1 Horror Novel List, Week 1 -- Horror Classics! 
    Senior Member DarkScribe's Avatar
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    Well, in keeping with the Horror Movie thread, I'm doing the Horror Novel List for the month of October. Each week will have a specific thread topic, and Week 1 will focus on classics of horror fiction. Everyone's tastes and preferences will differ, of course, but I will list what I think are classics, and to me, this means books by authors who lived and wrote their time-honored terror tales long before I was born. Also, here's a preview of the other week Horror Novel topics in the upcoming weeks:

    Horror Novel List, Week 2 -- Haunted House (or ghost) novels. Pretty self-explanatory, folks!

    Horror Novel List, Week 3 -- Psychological Horror! These involve books dealing with monsters of the non-supernatural variety.

    Horror Novel List, Week 4 -- Monsters! Yep, you guessed it. What are your favorite horror novel monsters...vampires, werewolves, ghouls, zombies, demons...even Cthulhu! What horror "monster" novels scared you the most?

    Horror Novel List, Week 5 -- The New Breed! While there may be some cross-over from previous weeks, I'm going to introduce you all to the ghoulish host of NEW horror authors out there, fantastic "dark scribes" who are well worth taking a look at. Be scared, be VERY scared!!!! :eek:


    Classics of Horror Fiction

    #1 The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe -- lets face it, Poe left an undeniable mark on horror fiction, from his classic haunting poem, "The Raven," to such horror gems as "The Masque of Red Death" and "The Fall of the House of Usher."

    #2 The Collected Works of H.P. Lovecraft -- clearly influenced by his predecessor, Poe, Lovecraft created a mythos that still influences modern horror writers today. His Cthulhu (arguably pronounced "Kuh-thoo-loo") mythos became his most notable literary creation, a cosmic terror out of time and space, that landed on Earth eons ago and seeks to destroy mankind. He also penned a number of other classics of horror fiction, including his excellent essay, Supernatural Horror in Literature. Tragically, like many contemporaries of his time, Lovecraft died young but his work lives on.

    #3 The Haunting of Hill House -- Shirley Jackson's haunted house novel set the bar for what is a staple in modern horror fiction. In my opinion, any good horror writer will try his hand at a haunted house story, and Jackson's terrifying tale stands the test of time. The opening paragraph in the book is the one of the best horror novel openings ever!

    #4 Bram Stoker's Dracula -- of course, a vampire novel would make it on my list, however, I have to admit Anne Rice pretty much killed my love of the blood-sucker. Plus, horror novels of the 80's pretty much overloaded the market with poorly written stories. That being said, Stoker's classic novel--written in letter form between various characters--was ingenious and insightful. No tall, svelte, suave romantic Count here...but pretty damn ugly and terrifying, yet erotic for its time! As Dracula should be!

    #5 I Am Legend -- no doubt the recent Will Smith movie did a LOT to bring legendary author, Richard Matheson, to the attention of newer, younger readers, but his classic novel of apocalyptic vampire horror is in a class by itself. (On a sidenote, while I enjoyed the film quite a bit, the book is FAR better and much different!) Matheson's publishing resume is vast and impressive, writing for such TV shows as The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, as well as movies based on his novels, such as Spielberg's first feature film, Duel.
    Last edited by DarkScribe; 10-02-2008 at 09:37 AM.
    "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." H.P. Lovecraft in Supernatural Horror in Literature
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    I love the "Haunting of Hill House", although it was made into a very unsatisfactory movie, as so many excellent books are. You're right about the first paragraph - it pulls you right in and snaps you right into the mood.

    "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, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."

    I also like the moody, atmospheric ghost stories of M.R. James, written about a century ago. They are not the "booga-booga!" horror people sseem to like today, but they can induce a shiver in the spine. For those unfamiliar with him, I recommend starting with his short story, "The Mezzotint":

    http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/mezztint.htm
    "Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
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    Senior Member LibraryLady's Avatar
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    I love Poe. We went to the "Poe House" in Richmond. He didn't actually live there but it's a very satisfactory museum.

    Is "The Haunting of Hill House" the book where two young women are supposedly holding hands during the night and the next morning one of them said she wasn't.?
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    Yes; it's sort of a minor plot point, though. :p Claire Bloom and Julie Harris were in the movie.
    "Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
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    People new to Lovecraft might want to start with the novella "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward". Lovecraft didn't much care for this work and it was published after his death but I like it a lot. It examines the role of fate and ancestry in human behavior as well as the many difficulties ancient supernatural entities face in adapting to the modern world. :D

    It's creepy and poetic without being gory. Also, for the new reader, it isn't too concerned with the Cthulhu mythos or other long running story lines.
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    The Lovecraft and Poe stuff I love. At the Mountains of Madness by Lovecraft is one of my favorite pieces of fiction. Poe's poetry I can't get enough of.

    I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
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    Senior Member DarkScribe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linda22003 View Post
    I love the "Haunting of Hill House", although it was made into a very unsatisfactory movie, as so many excellent books are. You're right about the first paragraph - it pulls you right in and snaps you right into the mood.

    "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, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."

    I also like the moody, atmospheric ghost stories of M.R. James, written about a century ago. They are not the "booga-booga!" horror people sseem to like today, but they can induce a shiver in the spine. For those unfamiliar with him, I recommend starting with his short story, "The Mezzotint":

    http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/mezztint.htm
    I will have to check that out. I have a book by James as well as Ambrose Bierce (but haven't read either yet). And August Derleth, who co-wrote with Lovecraft towards the end of his life. Also, I want to read The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
    "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." H.P. Lovecraft in Supernatural Horror in Literature
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    Dracula is one of my all- time favorite novels.
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    If I may add one author here, Clive Barker. To me he is already a classic. The Books of Blood series is excellent. Also his novels "The Great and Secret Show" and "Everville" are my favorites by him. The two novels are connected by characters that appear in each and a underlying subplot but each can be read as stand alones.

    I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
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    Have you read any Arthur Machen? He wrote "The Great God Pan", among others. He influenced both James (his direct contemporary) and Lovecraft.
    "Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
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