Boo! Happy belated Halloween. I meant to publish this post yesterday, but as I was too busy going out with friends, this got pushed back a day. Oh well.
Regardless, I introduce to you today the scariest classics on my bookshelf. I actively avoid horror books if I can help it (as I’m a bonified scaredy-cat), but it’s inevitable that I run across some creepers from time to time, so here we are. I consider classics to be among the most disturbing and dark of all genres, so this is just a few off the top of my head. Enjoy, and trick or treat!
The Sweetest Fig by Chris Van Allsburg
When he woke up the next morning, Bibot was confused. He was not in his bed. He was beneath it. Suddenly, a face appeared in front of him–his own face!
“Time for your walk,” it said. A hand reached out and grabbed him. Bibot tried to yell, but all he could do was bark.
Yikes, Chris Van Allsburg wrote a lot of creepy picture books in his time, but this one really tops it all. Following the story of a wealthy but cruel dentist who receives figs one day from a patient, this dentist is told that these figs will make his wishes come true.
However, when the dentist’s dog accidentally eats the figs, the dog becomes the dentist and the dentist the dog–because it was the dog’s wishes that had come true!
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
“How do I know you’ll keep your word?” asked Coraline.
“I swear it,” said the other mother. “I swear it on my own mother’s grave.”
“Does she have a grave?” asked Coraline.
“Oh yes,” said the other mother. “I put her in there myself. And when I found her trying to crawl out, I put her back.”
This book isn’t so scary to me anymore, but it really gave me the heebie-jeebies when I was eleven. The idea of a monster masquerading around in the form of your parents, as well as the dismembered mother’s hand scuttling around like a spider…*shudders*
The Witches by Roald Dahl
“In fairy-tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks. But this is not a fairy-tale. This is about REAL WITCHES. The most important thing you should know about REAL WITCHES is this. Listen very carefully. Never forget what is coming next.”
A great children’s classic, but the illustrations in it still scare me to this day….
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
“There are always some lunatics about. It would be a dull world without them.”
I hate to admit, I DNF’ed this collection halfway through–because I was getting so paranoid! I really love old detective shows like Columbo, but I feel like Sherlock Holmes is definitely on the creepier side.
Especially the Hound of Baskerville. The Devil’s Foot. The Adventures of the Speckled Band. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
“Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew, didn’t you?’ said the head. For a moment or two the forest and all the other dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of laughter. ‘You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are?”
Remember that one scene where Simon is sitting in the clearing with that pig’s decapitated head, and the lord of the flies just “grinning” grotesquely at him? The sense of dread and impending horror was simply chilling to read at the time, and I couldn’t even go pee afterwards. (I was in the basement at the time.)
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”
Whew, what a grotesque story! Following the story of a man who gets turned into a cockroach, it induced a lot of repulsion and horror from me while reading it, and it still makes me uncomfortable reading it to this day. Still can’t believe I read this for fun…
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
“Fearful and ghastly to me—oh, sir, I never saw a face like it! It was a discoloured face—it was a savage face. I wish I could forget the roll of the red eyes and the fearful blackened inflation of the lineaments!”
On the whole, this is an enjoyable classic with a happy ending. However, I remember the mystery of the presence haunting the manor’s attic all throughout the book, and it FREAKED ME OUT. I was reading this book for the first time when my mom came knocking, on the door, and I literally screeched “WHO?!” It was pretty funny because I ended up scaring my mom too.
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe
I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture – a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees – very gradually – I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.”
A short story about a psycho who decides to kill his neighbor because his neighbor had a glass eye that creeped him out. Yup. A good reason for murder.
However, after the deed is done, the psycho buries his neighbor’s body under the floorboards when suddenly, he hears pounding–the pounding of a heart coming from beneath the floorboards!
Creepy honorable mentions (a.k.a the ones I remembered only after finishing this list. Silly me.)
The Divine Comedy by Dante – no wonder religious people are so scared of hell!
Wuthering Heights – the beginning really scared me at first for some reason…
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Hyde – dark and pyschological
The Picture of Dorian Gray – yikes, a disturbing premise