By Danielle Schapaugh, Public Relations Coordinator
It’s the right time of year for a good scare, and I happen to work with some serious connoisseurs of horror. When I asked my coworkers, they were happy to give frightening recommendations.
Naturally, Stephen King was mentioned the most often, and everyone agreed that his older works were the scariest by far. As a talented writer, King’s startling tales will draw you in and leave you breathless while also making you care about the characters and marvel at the beauty that exists even in a cruel world.
“Above, the stars shone hard and bright, sparks struck off the dark skin of the universe.” – Stephen King, The Stand
If you haven’t read the complete and uncut version of King’s The Stand, you should start there. This 1,153-page epic is considered one of King’s finest works and will take you on a nightmarish journey into a bleak new world which just lost 99% of its human population to a super virus. This gripping tale of good vs evil is full of gore, violence, and horror, and it’s also packed with depth and character. For an extra bit of fright, wait and read this one when you’re home with the flu.
Hill obviously has big shoes to fill, but all of his books have reached the New York Times Bestseller list, so it looks like he’s filling them. His works have been praised by authors such as Neil Gaiman and Harlan Coben, and his third book, a supernatural thriller NOS4A2, might be his best so far.
NOS4A2 is creepy to the max. The villain, Charlie Manx, is a Peter Pan character who cruises around in a Rolls Royce Wraith with vanity license plate NOS4A2, looking for children to capture. When he finds an interesting prospect, he takes the child to a magical theme park called “Christmasland.”
For some reason, the children Manx brings to Christmasland become evil, so he is never satisfied and continues searching for more. Manx becomes obsessed with the only child who ever escaped. He finds her as an adult, and decides her son might be his very best prospect so far.
As you may have noticed, all the symbols in this book pack a serious emotional punch. It will tap into your deep-seated fears and keep you turning pages long past your bedtime.
For fans of major adrenaline who really don’t care about sleep, I recommend author Mo Hayder. Her books are psychological crime thrillers full of gore and action. Also, since there are seven books in her popular Jack Caffery series, you won’t run out of material anytime soon.
Hayder’s first book, Birdman, introduces the character Jack Caffery, lead investigator in the Major Crime Investigation Unit in Bristol, UK. Caffrey is new on the job and tasked with solving crimes of unspeakable horror. The first involves the brutal, ritualistic murder of a woman who is mutilated beyond recognition. As Jack delves into the details of the crime, you will squirm, close your eyes, and beg for it to end. As he gets ever closer to the killer, you’ll find yourself unable to tear your eyes away.
The seven books in this series are 1. Birdman 2. The Treatment 3. Ritual 4. Skin 5. Gone 6. Poppet (which is the Circulation Manager’s favorite) 7. Wolf. The entire series is available at the public library along with several “stand-alone” novels by Hayder.
Books are fantastic, but sometimes what you really need is a good scary movie. The library has thousands of DVDs and Blu-rays to choose from, but my coworkers agreed hands-down that only one movie sits at the top of the horror genre. Gore Verbinski’s The Ring (2002) might be the scariest movie ever made. It brings the audience genuine, pit-of-the-stomach, bone-chilling fear without relying on cheap tricks or excessive gore.
Diehard fans who have already seen The Ring might want to try the original Japanese version of the film by Hideo Nakata, available online, or the novel by Koji Suzuki.
If you’re interested in exploring other recommendations, stop by the library’s Reference Desk on the second floor. A librarian would be happy to help you find a book or movie that is just the right fit.