As evidenced by the amount of money new horror movies make in this country, we like to be scared. Everyone out there loves to discuss all of the best movies and TV shows, but very few people talk about the books that scared the wits out of them. For a lot of people, novels can be a great fright as the author is often able to describe the situation in such vivid detail that the reader feels as though they’re in the scene. Of course, only a truly gifted writer can scare someone using only words, but many have given it quite a try.
Not everyone has the ability to give a person the chills from a well-written paragraph. Most people require some sort of visual aid to truly raise the hairs on the back of their necks. However, the following books are truly spine-tingling frighteners.
Seven Scariest Stories
- It by Stephen King – A story in two parts that features the tribulations of a childhood group of friends battling a horrific monster and then revisits the same friends as adults who are forced to face the demons of their childhood. There is a bunch of frightening imagery as only Stephen King can conjure, spliced with incredible bits of humor, a great deal of profanity, and natural dialogue that carries this massive book and makes it seem short. Just for the bonus scare factor, there’s a clown.
- The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty – If you think the movie is freaky, you haven’t seen anything yet. This book features a story inspired by real life events and tells the tale of a tragic demonic possession of a twelve-year old girl. The lengths to which the priests and her mother go to save her from the demon create the patchwork of the story and the demon’s response inspires the fear.
- American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – Although the movie adaptation of this book is ingeniously acted by the incredible Christian Bale, the book is quite good as well. Based on the horrifying descriptions of murders he proudly committed, Patrick Bateman takes us along on his journey into insanity. What makes the book so beautifully terrifying is the idea that the serial killer is a buttoned up business man by day.
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy – Set in a post-apocalyptic world where people are struggling not only for survival but to retain their humanity, The Road is so much more frightening than it’s film adaptation. McCarthy uses stunning imagery to keep the reader’s interest, while reaching into the depth of their greatest fears.
- Hell House by Richard Matheson – So terrifying that it comes with a disclaimer, this book is a tale about a house that is intent to destroy the lives of anyone who enters it. Although meant to be a suspense thriller, this book with raise all of the hairs on your arms and the back of your neck as you journey deeper and deeper into Matheson’s haunted house.
It may be easier to sit down and take in a scary movie, but there’s nothing truly as satisfying a delving into a terrifying book and finding yourself unable to escape the world the author has created. Reading a horrifying novel will stay with you so much longer than simply watching a horror flick on the television. Want a good fright? Get your hands on one of these books today!