top 5 tuesday: Spooky Books (+Films!) for Halloween

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.)

594139Rebecca 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.

27833617The 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.

32796253Final 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.

27997200The 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.

51xb75isx7l-_sx343_bo1204203200_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!

p12732076_p_v8_aaHush (2016)
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.

teaser_poster_for_2017_film_get_outGet 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.

mv5bmmu0mjblyzytzwy0mc00mjlilwi3zmutmzhlzdvjmwvmywy4xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtqxnzmzndi-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_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_posterThe 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.

p8694014_p_v8_acThe 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! 

15 thoughts on “top 5 tuesday: Spooky Books (+Films!) for Halloween

  1. I’ve heard so many good things about Rebecca… I’ve only read Daphne du Maurier’s The Scapegoat which isn’t very scary but is a fun read. And I looved Get Out, I had a hard time sleeping and looking at windows at night after watching it 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really need to get around to reading more du Maurier! Rebecca is so eerie and her prose is gorgeous. Omg I have a really high scare tolerance so I didn’t find Get Out very scary at all, but I LOVED IT!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I definitely have to add The Night Sister to my TBR–I love basically anything set in New England. Also!! I have seen and loved almost all the movies on your movie list!! The first three are AMAZING, but I didn’t love The Witch as much and I have yet to see The Woman in Black. I’ve been kind of switching from watching TV shows to movies, so I’m actually thinking about incorporating other forms of media into my posts more (while still keeping books as the main focus, of course). I really like the combo here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Omg I know same, Vermont especially, if I see Vermont mentioned in a book summary it’s an automatic TBR.

      The Witch is definitely my least favorite from this list and for the first half of it I was like ‘god what am I watching’ but then I REALLY loved the final couple of scenes, and I thought the atmosphere of the film was great. I just wish I’d assimilated to the old fashioned dialogue quicker, I think I’d have enjoyed it more… but OMG YOU NEED TO WATCH THE WOMAN IN BLACK it is so delightfully creepy!!! I don’t get scared very easily but all the friends I was seeing it with in the theatre were like screaming and covering their eyes ahahahah. And I think it’s on Amazon prime iirc? Also since we apparently have very similar horror film tastes do you have any recs?

      I’ve been sort of switching from tv to movies lately too?? It’s so strange because I always used to binge watch shows and I never liked movies much, but recently I find myself getting really bored with tv and enjoying films more… so I am right there with you! And I would love to see your movie recs on your blog!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yesss, agreed. I think it’s fairly uncommon for Vermont to be mentioned in books so I get super excited when it is. (If you haven’t read it yet, I think there’s a Burlington, VT chapter of World War Z??)

        Ooohh, that’s good to know. I think we have Amazon Prime on our house TV, I’ll have to check it out! I actually watched Gerald’s Game last week and loved it, but the suspense was so much that I had to keep distracting myself on my phone. I had read the book ages ago and don’t remember much, but I think they did really well with the movie (save for the ending, which I didn’t enjoy). Huge tws for sexual assault and the like, though. It’s on Netflix instant.

        I also watched The Thing recently (the original and the follow-up film they made) and it was suuuper good. I think they had an xfiles episode based off of it? Or at the very least, there’s an xfiles episode that reminds me of it. It’s kind of a classic horror film, but I had never seen it before!

        I think the reason I’ve been getting bored with TV shows is in part because I don’t have the time to binge shows like I used to? Since I’ve been dedicating more time to reading and blogging, I just don’t enjoy sitting down and watching TV for 9 hours in a row (usually), so it’s harder for me to get into shows because I just don’t want to make the commitment.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Omg I googled Gerald’s Game and got the headline “A scene in Gerald’s Game is so gruesome it’s making people pass out” – is it really that bad??? I can handle most triggering things but I’m not crazy about Extreme Gore. But if it was written by the guy who did Hush I really want to check it out!!!

        I haven’t seen The Thing either – there are so many classic horror films I need to get around to watching.

        I know same, I rarely binge watch things these days either… and tbh I am 100% okay with replacing tv with reading, even if it means my friends are always yelling at me to watch their favorite shows that I’ve never seen hahahah

        Liked by 1 person

      • Uhhhh there is ONE hella gory scene that they must be talking about, near the end, but as soon as it starts you can look away and should be fine. The vast majority of the movie doesn’t involve gore!

        And yeah, I’m just starting to get into classic horror and I’m loving it. I also watched An American Werewolf in London recently. A lot of it was super cheesy, but it was still fun!


  3. These are some great recommendations; I’m gonna be adding a few to my TBR!

    I STILL need to read Final Girls, omg! On the bright side, I started Rebecca yesterday and DAMN I can already feel myself sinking into it; it’s so atmospheric. And the writing is really, really beautiful; it’s been a long time since I could just appreciate good writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Omg yes you’ve gotta read Final Girls, it’s so addicting!!! Ahhhh and I’m so glad you’re loving the prose in Rebecca, it is insanely gorgeous. I really need to read more of du Maurier’s work.

      Liked by 1 person

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