Since we’re two days out from Halloween, I thought it might be fun to talk up some of my personal favorite books of horror and ghost stories.
Clive Barker (1952 – ) remains a modern master of horror and fantasy. Mr. Barker blends modern themes, esoteric strangeness, and a dash of gore into a potent, fear-induing mixture that will keep you up at night. While the general public might know him best for films like Hellraiser, I would point folks to his Books Of Blood for some truly chilling reading.
Montague Rhodes James (1862 – 1936) innovated the concept of the English ghost story by using antiquarian protagonists and narrators, and then placing them in situations where their seemingly mundane lives strayed into the worlds of the strange and the supernatural. If you have to grab one M. R. James collection, go for Casting The Runes And Other Ghost Stories. This copy features a wonderful intro from Michael Chabon. I would argue that M. R. James helped set the stage for the next name on this short list of luminaries.
H. P. Lovecraft (1890 – 1937) simply must be included on any list of horror writers that I assemble. His creation of the Cthulhu Mythos inspired generations of horror writers and film makers. While his career abruptly ended as the result of a tragic suicide, his influence continues to this day. The Call Of Cthulhu And Other Weird Stories will serve as an excellent introduction to anyone seeking the essential flavor of Mr. Lovecraft’s remarkable body of work.
King, Stephen (1947- ) has earned mention from me before on this blog. His work inhabits a special place in the collective minds of most horror fans. While Mr. King’s long career and diligent work habits have graced his fans with plenty to choose from when it comes to horror favorites, Salem’s Lot stands as my personal number one.
So there you have my own short list of favorites. Now let’s read about some of yours in the comments section!