Properly scary books

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  • Properly scary books
  • Premier Icon DavidB

    Seeing as it is Halloween this week I fancy reading something to make me shiver and quake.

    What’s properly scary, not James Herbert/Steven King scary but really scary?

    Premier Icon dannybgoode

    Disturbia in the UK (Tobias K Phipps) is a nice collection of short stories.

    Some are stronger than others as is often the case but overall well worth the entrance fee.

    If you’ve never read Royals Roald Dahl’s short stories for adults then you’re in for a treat. They’re dark and twisted.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner

    MR James.
    Genuinely scary, atmospheric stuff.
    Pennies on Kindle for the complete ghost stories.

    Some of the early Stephen King stuff still stands up really well.


    Check out Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk.


    Dark Matter by (I think) Michelle Paver is a pretty creepy ghost story set during a pre-war arctic expedition. Not one for the bothy put it like that!


    The classic Pan Books Of Horror Stories are full of scary stories.
    Pan Book of Horror Stories

    Premier Icon kilo

    Birdman and Pig island by Mo Hayder

    Don’t think I’ve ever read a book that has ‘scared’ me. Creepy, most definitely.

    +1 MR James, especially ‘O Whistle and I’ll Come To You’, ‘A Warning To The Curious’ and ‘View From A Hill’

    For me the master of creeping fear is Algernon Blackwood, notably the short story – ‘The Willows’

    I did enjoy Dark Matter, but was a little disappointed only as it was talked up so much in reviews. But a noble effort, well-paced and read authentically re the period setting. IMO.

    *Edit – and ‘The Haunting Of Hill House’ – Shirley Jackson

    Dunno about scary, but American Psycho gave me the heebie-jeebies.

    Premier Icon DavidB

    Cheers ordered Dark Matter and Haunted and some spare pants

    Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, short stories but some gooduns, especially “the Mist”. Still freaks me out.

    Yup Dark Matter scared me! Also F G Cottam stories are ok.


    The Rats ..James Herbert .
    Don’t like them ..and it took a lot for me to read it but very probably pales in light of some others mentioned ..


    A compendium of daily mail articles.

    I’m being serious.

    The mailanomichrom.


    James Herbert’s rats series though was brilliant.

    In the world of media and modern technology, nothings going to be as scary as what people do to each other, just put the news on, or watch prime ministers questions.

    That scares the shit out of me more than any book. And I’ve read a few.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager

    House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski is properly scary, not James Herbert / Stephen King scary but really scary.

    It’s not necessarily properly good – it’s a first novel that tries to weave two stories together in quite an ambitious way and misses by a mile, IMHO. But the haunted house story is legit and quite original – a real frightener.


    Its probably just me but i really liked House of leaves by Mark Danielewski. I like scary house type stuff

    Edit. Haha i gues im not alone afterall ^^^

    Premier Icon rone

    The Uninvited by Clive Harold.

    Back in the 70s; supposedly true story of a UFO encounter on a remote farm in Wales.

    Absolutely terrified me when I was a kid.

    Huge +1 for Dark Matter. Slow burning, psychological horror in the grimmest imaginable setting. Stays with you… I do love MR James but not much of it is particularly unsettling tbh. The Ritual is a good read and The Loney is atmospherically unpleasant 😀

    Premier Icon flashinthepan

    Susan Hill’s Woman in Black is pretty atmospheric and creepy. Well worth a read

    Premier Icon darrell

    the early horror books by Clive Barker


    Yes, Clive Barker, The Damnation Game I think was a good one.
    I should read it again myself.


    Some good stuff in Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood”.


    Dark matter is one of my all time favourite books.

    Premier Icon darrenspink

    The shining is pretty intense. Much better than the film. Actually thought The fear series by charlie brooker were brilliant even if they are for a young adult audience. Can’t say I’ve read any more horror since since when I was a lad looking for those for odd few pages of titillation in James herbert books.

    Premier Icon garage-dweller

    I know you’ve said not Herbert or King but there’s a lot of variety in their books in terms of levels and type of menace.

    I’ve read a few of both authors’ books and the following stand out as creepier than average.

    King – Desperation.
    Herbert – The Dark or Others

    Partly I think what’s scary is down to your own sensitivities, beliefs and fears. So what works for me might not work for someone else.

    Premier Icon takisawa2

    Woman in black.
    Christ that scared me.


    Thanks for the link to the pan horrors.

    Didn’t the ‘hammer house of horror’ release a series of books, much like the pan ones.

    I vaguely recall buying one branded ‘hammer horror’, with a picture of a dolls face, protruding incisors and peeling, milky-white skin on the cover.

    The stories were a bit too disturbing for a ten year-old. but the first one was about some bloke spying on the girl downstairs who, as it turns out, was not remotely human.

    The second one involved a guy being tied down by some miniature toys which came alive at night.

    I’ve tried to hunt that book down, to no avail.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp

    Some of Dean Koontz earlier work was scary (for me anyway). Winters Moon in particular freaked me out. Then all his novels started to contain magic labradors for some reason.


    I love Clive Barker’s books but don’t find them scary at all

    House of Leaves gave me nightmares: it’s a difficult read, but a good one.


    funkmasterp – Member
    Some of Dean Koontz earlier work was scary (for me anyway). Winters Moon in particular freaked me out. Then all his novels started to contain magic labradors for some reason.

    I believe he caught religion and decided to shoehorn a jesus saviour reference into everything.

    Premier Icon richardkennerley

    +1 woman in black. It’s only short so you’ll knock through it in no time. Then go see the play.

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