There exists a plethora of titanic horror films that have influenced pop culture in unimaginable ways. However, before horror made its way into the cinematographic medium, it was already an icon of the literary world.
You’ve heard of names like Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, Bram Stoker and H. P. Lovecraft, titans of the horror genre that forged the platform authors write from today. Without them, none of the following works would exist.
This listicle will highlight four of the spookiest, most spine-tingling works of horror literature that readers should sink into before this Halloween season ends.
Stephen King — “Pet Sematary”
No horror list would be complete without at least one work from the prolific titan of terror, Stephen King.
His 1983 novel “Pet Sematary” strikes fear into the hearts of readers through its conceptualization of necromantic land and the resurrection of the dead.
The novel was nominated for a World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1986 and boasts two film adaptations, the more recent one hitting theaters in 2019.
He came up with the idea after his daughter’s cat got ran over by a truck and later considered what would happen if the cat was resurrected but returned different in some fundamental way. Following, he pondered on the concept but with a human child as the victim.
Victor Lavelle — “The Ballad of Black Tom”
Written in 2016, “The Ballad of Black Tom” is a novella that reimagines H. P. Lovecraft’s 1925 short story “The Horror at Red Hook,” but told from the perspective of a Black man.
Such a concept is interesting most particularly because of the racist undertones — in some cases overtones — that Lovecraft’s writings contained.
Victor Lavelle is a phenomenal Hawaii born author, and “The Ballad of Black Tom” has been nominated for a total of eight literary awards.
In short, the story takes place in Harlem in 1924, when low-life Tommy Tester is drawn into occult schemes — related to The Great Old Ones — by millionaire Robert Suydam.
Ray Bradbury — “Something Wicked This Way Comes”
This 1962 tale by Ray Bradbury follows two teenage boys when a travelling carnival sets up shop in their Illinois home.
Unbeknownst to the people of Green Town, this carnival runner is a product of the occult and malevolence, enslaving the people of the town and feeding off their life force while masquerading as a man who can grant their dark desires.
The title come from a certain line in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” quoting one of the witches, “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”
Samanta Schweblin — “Distancia de Rescate” or “Fever Dream”
This 2014 work is the brainchild of Argentine Spanish-language author Samanta Schweblin, translated into English in 2017.
“Fever Dream” is the tale of a woman named Amanda who wakes up on her death bed in a clinic, and is visited by a child named David who urges her to remember what happened, asking her, “the exact moment when the worms come into being.”
This psychological horror, focusing on ghosts, memories and Argentine environmental issues, has received acclaim for its use of the horror genre to speak on issues plaguing the country.
Schweblin and her novel have won three merit awards and were shortlisted for a fourth.