The topic today is
Books that have scared the
everlovin' bejeezus out of me.
I like scary books well enough. I guess I liked them more when I was younger, before life got scary enough on its own. These three, for different reasons, continue to haunt me to this day, even though I read all of them for the first time years ago. Just because they're classics, I may reread #1 and #3 one of these days. #2 will never see the whites of my eyes. Ever again.
#1. The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty. Scared the daylights out of me when I read it. Of course I was pretty young and wasn't supposed to be reading it in the first place, but I did. Then my mom said she'd take me to the movie since I kept begging. The movie didn't scare me. The book was a different story.
Just yesterday I was in a Halloween store and Tubular Bells was on the sound system. Gave me the heebies simply listening to it.
It reminded me of the hysteria when the film came out, with people passing out in the theaters and claiming to be possessed. I thought the movie was on the cheesy side, but the book was really well done. Very tense and dramatic, lots of personal drama and a mood that got darker by the minute.
I still have a copy on the bookshelf. In my opinion it's a classic that totally deserves the acclaim it's received.
#2. Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris. This book scared me so badly that I can't even tell you the exact details of the plot, because I haven't picked it up in over twenty years. And I won't either. It's about a serial killer in the South who targets entire families, and is the "pre-quel" to Silence of the Lambs, which was a great book and disturbing but didn't scare me a bit.
I read this in college and was so terrified that I barricaded my door with a dresser. The Film Geek and I have played a little game with this book for years. I keep throwing it away and he keeps taking it out of the trash and putting it back on the shelf.
He thinks he's had the last word, but that's because he's an absent minded professor. He never noticed that the book somehow didn't make the move to the Midwest with us and ended up in a trash bin in California.
I wonder how that happened.
#3. The Stand, by Stephen King. For me this is the scariest by far of King's books, because on some level it's actually possible. It's about a pandemic that kills pretty much everyone on the planet, leaving just enough survivors to make it interesting.
I read this book for the first time in a doctor's office waiting for an appointment. It was high flu season and all around me was the sound of the sick and the miserable. People were hacking and spitting and coughing up lungs as characters in the book were dying of this disgusting Ebola type illness. It made quite an impression on wide eyed little old me, let me tell you.
King has done plenty of other scary writing, and I'm well aware that most people consider The Shining to be his masterpiece. It's just that I don't feel it's really likely that my family is going to willingly go off to some deserted hotel for the winter while dad becomes more and more tacos short of a combo. But every time there's a flu season, I think of The Stand. Shudder. Hack Wheeze.