Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fantastic Bionic Bookworm. This week’s topic:
OCTOBER 10 – Top 5 spooky reads for Halloween!
For someone who likes horror as much as I do, I surprisingly do not read much horror. I think it’s probably because I don’t see it recommended very often in the online bookish circles that I follow, so a lot of it just flies under my radar? Well, anyway. Here are 4 horror novels and 1 just sort of ~atmospheric one. (Also, my omission of Stephen King is due to the fact that I’ve never actually read anything by him. Oops.)
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Let’s get the non-horror out of the way. I seem to talk about this book a lot, but only because it’s so good. Rebecca is an atmospheric, Gothic novel about a young woman who marries a rich man whose mysterious, alluring dead ex-wife Rebecca exerts a certain pull over their lives. It’s not a ghost story, but it is haunting in a more psychological way, and the creepy setting of the Manderly estate makes for an excellent book to read around this time of year.
The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon. Set in an abandoned motel in rural Vermont, this is obviously a book that I had to check out. This is an eerie, creepy, suspenseful paranormal horror book that isn’t the least bit gruesome, so if you like your horror light on the gore, this is a perfect book for that. While I did have a few criticisms by the end, I ultimately thought it was ridiculously entertaining, and genuinely frightening at times.
Final Girls by Riley Sager. Another one that I’ve talked about a lot, but I promise it’s a quick, engaging read that is well worth checking out. This mystery/thriller novel is more of a love letter to the horror genre than a proper horror novel in its own right, but the flashback scenes set in a cabin in the woods are properly chilling. This is a novel which follows a young woman, Quincy, the sole survivor of a brutal massacre that left several of her friends dead years ago. The problem is, she can’t remember what happened that night.
The Silent Children by Amna K. Boheim. This is a fantastically entertaining modern-day ghost story set in Vienna, filled to the brim with dark family secrets. It follows the story of a young man, Max, who discovers some unsavory details about his family’s past, including flashbacks to World War II era Vienna. I’ll admit that I had a slow start with this book, but once it hits its stride about 20% in, it’s almost impossible to put down.
The Last Night at Tremore Beach by Mikel Santiago. This is a vaguely paranormal mystery set on the idyllic Irish coast, as renowned composer Peter Harper decides to spend some time on his own following a messy divorce. One night as he makes his way home during a storm, Peter is struck by lightning, and in the events that follow, dreams and reality begin to blur as he attempts to save his family from an impending crime. This is another highly entertaining novel that’s easy to fly through in a couple of hours.
BONUS: I may be a book blog, but I love horror movies. Hands down the best part of Halloween tbh. Rather than making a separate post for this, I thought I’d just tack these on here. So here are some of my favorites!
Directed by: Mike Flanagan.
Starring: Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jr.
Hush is a subversive twist on the slasher genre… it starts with the ‘woman alone in a cabin in the woods being terrorized’ premise, but slowly progresses into something so much better. The main character, played by Kate Siegel, is deaf, and she uses her deafness to her advantage to fight back against the man who’s psychologically torturing her. It’s amazing and also terrifying… I would not advise that you watch this alone if you live in a cabin in the woods.
Get Out (2017)
Directed by: Jordan Peele.
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams.
On this list, I’d say that Get Out is the least scary film, so if you like psychological thrillers more than flat-out horror, I can’t recommend this highly enough. I’m sure everyone knows the premise since it was getting so much buzz earlier this year, but briefly – an African American man goes to visit his white girlfriend’s parents for a weekend, and… things get creepy. It’s a really socially relevant film, but also weirdly humorous and incredibly well made.
It Follows (2014)
Directed by: David Robert Mitchell.
Starring: Maika Monroe.
It Follows is a paranormal horror film about this supernatural entity that follows a group of teenagers around after they have sex. It’s better than I’m making it sound, I swear. Basically, if you have sex with someone who’s come into contact with this demon thing, it follows you everywhere, but it can only walk at one pace and in a straight line – so you can run from it, but it always catches up with you eventually.
The Witch (2015)
Directed by: Robert Eggers.
Starring: Anya Taylor Joy, Ralph Ineson.
Set in 17th century New England, The Witch is a paranormal horror film, focused on one family who suspect their daughter (played by the stellar Anya Taylor Joy) of witchcraft. One thing I wish I’d known going into this film is that it’s written in period-appropriate dialogue, including the likes of ‘thou hast,’ etc, you basically feel like you’re at a Shakespeare play – and it takes some getting used to, but the overall result is done incredibly well.
The Woman in Black (2012)
Directed by: James Watkins.
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds.
I’m sure every Harry Potter fan knows about The Woman in Black, but I had to include it, as it’s one of my all-time favorites. Adapted from the novel by Susan Hill, it’s a downright terrifying ghost story set at a haunted estate in an English village. I tried to get my dad to watch this with me once and he only lasted about ten minutes.
What are some of your favorite horror films and novels? Comment and let me know! I need some recommendations!