This one proved every bit as difficult to come up with as the first two. And here I thought it would be the easiest!
The list, perhaps unsurprisingly, is in the order I wrote them and in no way an order of prefrence. One also must point out that it’s now a list that goes to Eleven!
Whatever that means.
Anyways, let’s list them out.
- Pet Semetary – But… But there are so many Stephen King novels out there that I like! I could make a list on that alone! Chosing just one isn’t right! But, push comes to shove, I’d pick this nasty Monkey’s Paw variant. Although, considering the unconscious theme of my other choices, Salem’s Lot or The Shining might be a better fit…
- Some of Your Blood – Theodore Sturgeon won me over with this novel Like Dracula, it’s a serious of letters and reports detailing the case of a young private charged with assaulting a superior officer. Unlike Dracula, it breaks the fourth wall with a vengeance, calling into question reader expectations.
- Land of Laughs – Johnathan Carroll’s tale of strange biographies is most haunting, with an ending I read over and over again. Dark and good as a horror tale should be.
- Hell House – Richard Matheson is, without a doubt, a masterful writer. He has written better horror short stories than this, but, for my money, this is one of the best haunted house stories out there. (And no, I haven’t read House on Haunted Hill. From what I know about it, though, it probably would be on this list if I had…)
FUTURE CULLEN sez: I meant Haunting of Hill House. I swear, with God as my witness, I thought I wrote HILL HOUSE. My Lord, how many holes do I have in my brain?
- Ringu – Koji Suzuki’s little ghost story is one of the few foreign book to make one of my lists, which only means that I have a hell of a lot more reading to do. The American and Japanese movies are fairly good adaptations of the novel, but there are enough changes in all three of them to make seeking them out more than worth while.
- House of Leaves – I hardly ever think about this one, but when I do, hoo boy. Mark Z. Danielewski’s haunted house story (?) is one of the most bizarre books I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
- Darkfall – A New York cop struggles to save his children from the forces of Hell. This is the only Dean Koontz book I can say I still like as much as when I first read it. It’s been a while, though.
- Our Lady of Shadows – Fritz Lieber is one of my favorite authors, ranking right up there with Theodore Sturgeon. This tale about unexpected sentience is well worth hunting down.
- Ghost Story – This conscious echo of Salem’s Lot (among other horror stories and situations) is one of the best ghost stories out there, even if it’s not really a ghost story. This was Peter Straub’s breakthrough novel and you can see why.
- Dracula – Bram Stoker’s best novel is meant to be read by a bored fifteen year old male trapped in the center of a jumbo jet hurtling towards Alaska. It sure as hell isn’t getting read by his elder counterpart. However, the musty old King of the Vampires has a place in my heart, and every now and then I give it the old college try despite the fact that, y’know, I only took two semester courses in college. On this, I felt that there should be at least one of the Big Three listed, and as I never finished Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde and hated Frankenstein, Dracula won by default
- The House Next Door – Anne River Siddons’s haunted house deserves a place on the list, forcing me to change this from a top ten list to a top eleven list. It’s a story about a Bad Place and the things it does to its owners and neighbors. Really good stuff.