Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Thursday Three

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.

Your turn.


Dumdad said...

The first two are really scary; I haven't read the third but will look out for it.

I remember the Exorcist movie. My ashtray in front of me (in those days I smoked and it was allowed in cinemas) was spilling-over full.

Flowerpot said...

I can't read any o fthose or I don't sleep - or if I do, have terrible nightmares! Feeble or what?

Jen said...

I don't generally read scary books for the same reason as flowerpot, I read before bed, and I wouldn't sleep if I read that. As for The Stand, it is an awesome book. He recently came out with Cell, which is also a viral type story, but it only wipes out folks who were on their cell phones. It's interesting.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I remember reading The Exorcist when I was 13. When I slept, I had to leave the book across the room from my bed with something over it. I don't tend to read scary books these days. But scary movies, that's a different matter.

Jo Beaufoix said...

The Exorcist is terrifying.

I too read it when I was too young to read it.
It's funny, but in the film the bit that disturbed me the most was when Regan came downstairs and peed in front of her mum's guests.

I hated that scene.

The book that has haunted me the most was The Amityville Horror.
I had a copy and once I'd read it I thought I'd thrown it out several times but it appeared back on the book shelves. I'm hoping Mr B put it back but I don't know.

I finally buried it deep in a wheelie bin at our old house and it seems to have gone.

Every night I make sure my girls curtains are shut tight so there's no chance of seeing Jodie on the otherside.

Ohhh I have shivers just thinking about it.

I might have to read The Stand now.

laurie said...

i hate being scared so, so, so much that i couldn't even read this post.

i'm with coffee--i read "the exorcist" when i was a teenager and it haunted me for months. i only wish i was as creative as Jo B. and thought of burying it in the yard.

so i asked my husband what the scariest book he's ever read was, and he said he doesn't read scary books, but he found "the collapse" to be extremely disturbing.

(it's about how civilizations collapse, and how we appear headed toward a great fall.)

somehow, i don't think that's what you had in mind.

PixelPi said...

The Exorcist and Red Dragon were both two of the most horribly disturbing books I've ever read. I'll never read them again. Oddly, I don't see the Stand as that scary and I've read it more than once. But "IT" has to be my scary Stephen King nomination. I can't read any of this stuff at night. Also, I can read scary stuff much better than I can stand to see the movies. The movies terrify me. I saw "Silence of the Lambs" and "The Exorcist" once and once only, and I was scared to death.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

dumdad - the Exorcist was a smoking movie if there ever was one.

flowerpot - I kept asking myself why I picked this category with my husband still out of town. Talk about feeble.

jen - I'll have to read Cell. It sounds interesting.

wakeup - I was about the same age, maybe even younger. Every time I walked past the book I'd avert my eyes.

jo - in that peeing scene it's the look on her face that gets me. And also because it's such a strange thing to have happen in such a normal setting.Ugh. You should read the stand. I bet you'd like it.

laurie - I don't think Doug's pick is off-base at all. It was all I could do to not put Ann Coulter's Godless on this list.

pixel pi - do you know that I've never read IT? Strange really,because I've read most of his other stuff. I think we've even got a copy. I'll have to dig it up. Maybe I'll wait until the FG gets home.

la bellina mammina said...

Saw Exorciat when I was younger and scared the bejezess out of me...I HATE scary movies or books - I didn't read Red Dragon but watched the movie only because Ralph Fiennes was in it - or as it the other Fiennes??

Akelamalu said...

I can't say any book has really scared me. The Exorcist film certainly did though!

Amy said...

I don't think any book has scared me. I don't read scary books, though. Maybe I'll read The Exorcist. It's a scary subject.

Sweet Irene said...

I have stopped reading scary books and watching scary movies. I have too much of an imagination as it is and I certainly don't need to be scared anymore than I can scare myself already. Besides, really horrible stuff happens in real life too, and then you sort of stop wanting to be scared by a book or a movie. Thanks for bringing up the subject though, it gives me food for thought while I sit here all by myself!

merry weather said...

I read quite a few scary ones - gross horrors and sci-fi stuff in my teens. Just thinking of that now, I can remember the feeling of going cold and still over some horrible image - YUK! Stopped reading them after a particularly bad one, Nazi theme, I remember. Have always shunned frightening books since then, they stay in my head forever!!

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Kaycie said...

I really love Stephen King.

My favorite is probably "Salem's Lot". It scared me to death the first time I read it. And the second.

I love "The Stand", too.

The other King book that really haunted me wasn't a novel, but a collection of short stories called "Night Shift" which includes "Children of the Corn" and "Sometimes They Come Back". It's very creepy.

You know, I don't really read scary books anymore. Like you said, life is scary enough on its own now.

Happy in the Abyss said...

I am so behind on your blog and I haven't felt the need to blog myself...sorry.

The only book that scared me was Red Dragon, but I also love it. It's a double edged sword and usually it is sticking out of my chest.