Happy Halloween

Good All Hallows Eve. Before you slice open a vein attempting to carve your jack-o’-lantern, or hide in the bushes and eat that entire Hefty bag of candy you intended to hand out to trick or treaters (okay, by “you,” I mean “me”) — tell me: what are the scariest books you’ve ever read? The scariest movies you’ve ever seen?

My choices:

Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury
The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty
The Stand, Stephen King
Alien
Aliens

24 responses to “Happy Halloween

  1. ‘Salem’s Lot – Stephen King
    The Omen – I was veeeeery young when I first saw this. (Parents: what were they thinking?!)

  2. Er, that was rude. (sorry, I forgot because Halloween was yesterday for us) 😳

    Happy Halloween/Good All Hallows Eve… to everyone.

  3. 1) Salem’s Lot
    2) The Shining
    When I first read Salem’s Lot I couldn’t put it down. Finally, around 2 A.M. I had to sleep but made sure very single window was latched along with the door. The Shining, to me, made Salem’s Lot look like a kiddie book. I think because the true horror was all in the imagination. Nothing has scared me since.
    When I was a child (not all that long ago according to my wife) my brother and I were terrified by The Tingler. Our dad had dropped us off at the theater to see this matinee. We wound up missing the end of it as we hid behind the wall outside the seating area. After that, Jaws has been the only movie to freak me out. I still don’t go into the ocean.

  4. Stacy McKitrick

    “The Stand” by Stephen King – That scene in the Lincoln Tunnel still gives me chills!
    “The Amityville Horror” (1979) – I usually tell myself “it’s just a movie” after watching a scary one, but this one was supposed to be based on real events, so that mantra didn’t work for me and I had a hard time sleeping that night!

    Happy Halloween!

  5. Book: The Amityville Horror
    Movie: The Exorcist
    ’nuff said.

  6. Oh, and as a bonus, the scariest (perhaps most shocking is more appropriate) short story is The Lottery.

  7. Salem’s Lot. When I read this I was around 18. I slept on my parents bedroom floor for about a week. When I would walk in the room, I could hear my dad breathing, but my mom was so quiet. I would lean right down in her face and listen. She woke up one night while I was doing this and calmly asked, “Dana, what are you doing?” And I just let her know I was checking to make sure she was still alive.

    Scariest movies? That’s a hard one because there were so many back in the day. Today’s movies are stupid slasher things. And as Stephen King said in his stint on TCM’s Night at the Movies, (paraphrasing) “We used to go to the movies to watch the monster be killed, now we go to watch the monster kill….I watch these movies, but there is a moral queasiness to that.” And I agree with him.

    The Innocents
    The Exorcist (I saw this in the theater when I was around 12? My mom and aunt took me (very cool mom and aunt.) When that little girl walked into the party and peed, I was immediately scared. To lose control of oneself in such a private way in front of people, I found that horrifying.

  8. Happy Halloween! Stay safe.

  9. Scary book? 11/22/63, which I never actually got very far into, because by the time our hero was just finding his feet in 1958, it was already clear that things were going to go very very very wrong. I had to stop reading.

    Movie: The one that kept coming back to me as a kid was Lost Horizon, seen on TV. When that beautiful young woman turned old…. Oh, the horror, the horror. I had to have the light on in my room for a week.

  10. As a youngster, ALIEN scared the piss out of me.

    Book? Hmm, ones that come to mind are: The Alienist and Silence of the Lambs.

    Honorable mention goes to John Connolly’s The Killing Kind for creating a fabulously creepy atmosphere. John does an amazing job of making things dark to the point of being borderline horror.

    Also not really scary, but I love Robert Weinberg’s Masquerade of the Red Death trilogy…really fun vampire series with a rich mythology that is based on the old Vampire role-playing game.

  11. Book: Pet Sematary by Stephen King – now that I have children of my own, I simply cannot re-read it.

    Film: Rosemary’s Baby – the only film ever to give me actual nightmares and to wake me up screaming. Really. (But The Haunting comes a close second – that is, the original b&w Robert Wise version.)

  12. The Legend of Hell House with Roddy McDowell, that thing was so scary. But, I think the kudos have to go to the sound and music people. I think it was their terrific use of sounds and music that really set the tone for this movie.

  13. Yeah, I watched The Haunting (of Hill House) late one night while I was babysitting. Brrr….!

  14. Surprised to see so many votes for ‘Salems Lot. I dug it, to be sure, but The Shining trumps it for scare factor hands down. Of course, it pushes my particular scare buttons pretty hard, and those buttons are always down to the individual.

    For movies, I used to say The Blair Witch Project (see previous comments re: buttons). Now, though, it’s The Strangers. I wasn’t sure I’d ever sleep again after that one.

  15. As a kid, the movie “Crawlspace” (1972) freaked me OUT! Couldn’t handle crawlspaces OR basements for years…

  16. Rosemary’s Baby. Exorcist. Parts of Shadow of the Wind. I’m actually reading The Shining right now but haven’t reached the scary parts.

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