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General Horror Chat > What Book Introduced You to Horror?

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message 1: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth McKinley | 677 comments Mod
I've noticed that many people that I talk to about horror fiction can remember vividly that one book that hooked them into the literary world of macabre. For many, including myself, it was during that period of adolescence where everything is changing in the blink of an eye. We want to hear what horror book changed your world forever and the story that goes with it.


message 2: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth McKinley | 677 comments Mod
For me, it was Pet Sematary and it all took place in my small-town library when I was 12. It's funny how you can remember the exact time and place you were when something changes your life forever. This was truly a monumental moment in my life. I had wandered into the adult fiction section and I wasn't even sure what I was looking for. I knew that I wanted something different than The Hardy Boys and The Three Investigators that I had been reading up to in that time. Something more dangerous, more adult. And there is it was under the Ks. Thick hardcover editions of Stephen King with names like Christine, The Shining, and Salem's Lot. I don't know if it was divine intervention that caused me to pick up Pet Semetary, but I do know that the cover mesmerized me. The glowing green eyes of the hissing cat. The shadow of Louis Creed carrying a body back behind the Pet Semetary. I took that book home and devoured. Slowly at first, my 12-year-old brain flexing adult page after page. The heavy lifting getting easier as the chapters rolled by. From that moment on, I sought out more Stephen King fright feats which eventually led me to discovering other by Robert McCammon, Clive Barker, James Herbert, JN Williamson and more.


message 3: by Volkun (new)

Volkun (wolfcreed) For me it was:

Christine by Stephen King The Shining by Stephen King It by Stephen King The Rats by James Herbert


message 4: by Kandice (new)

Kandice For me it was Carrie. Not only did it scare the crap out of me, partly because I was a young girl, partly...just because, but I loved how King used newspaper article and interviews to progress the story. That was new to me as a reader and I found it fascinating. I read 'Salem's Lot next and I was hooked.

I bet a lot of us began with King.


message 5: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth McKinley | 677 comments Mod
I'm sure you're right. Stephen King was the gateway drug for most of us to the horror world. Do you remember how old you were?


message 6: by Kandice (new)

Kandice 10. No, my parents weren't negligent, but they didn't believe in censorship. My mom loved King, so it was natural I would pick up her cast offs. All three of my children started reading King at about that age as well. The Long Walk is their universal fave.


message 7: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth McKinley | 677 comments Mod
I was fortunate too in that my parents never censored what I read, listened to, or watched. As a parent, I've introduced my little crumb munchers to Universal Monsters and they love them.


message 8: by Jon Recluse (new)

Jon Recluse | 5 comments My introduction to horror went through several phases.
As a youngster, it was the collection Ghosts and More Ghosts by Robert Arthur, and the story Footsteps Invisible.
When I was a teen, it was my uncle retelling stories from the old radio shows like Inner Sanctum and Lights Out by flashlight. After that, I couldn't get enough. But the horror boom was a couple of years away.
The first mature horror story I read was Algernon Blackwood's The Willows, the first novel William Hope Hodgson's The House on the Borderland.


message 9: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Jon Recluse wrote: "My introduction to horror went through several phases.
As a youngster, it was the collection Ghosts and More Ghosts by Robert Arthur, and the story Footsteps Invisible.
When I was a teen, it was my..."


I've never heard of your first two, so I'll look them up. Thanks!


message 10: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 52 comments I was trying to think of an actual adult horror book, and the only one I can think of is Carrie. We had to do a book essay as part of our GCSE English so I was around 15. We were supposed to read a book we loved, like To Kill a Mockingbird and what not, but I wanted to review Carrie. My Mum fought the school and I was allowed. Go Mum!

But I'd been reading horror for a while by then. So I'm thinking it was Point Horror that got me into it. I can't remember the story at all but Teachers Pet is the one I called my favourite at the time. I was probably 12 ish when I read most of that series.


message 11: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (spiralcity) | 406 comments Mod
Jaws was the first horror book I read and completely hooked me. I believe I read that book when I was in 8th grade.


message 12: by Kandice (new)

Kandice I loved Jaws too! I went on to read all of Benchley's, but none held the raw power of Jaws. Beast may have come closest, but just the idea of the deep was great so he mined that for all it was worth.


message 13: by Jim (new)

Jim Lay | 5 comments I read Gary Brandner's The Howling when I was 12 or 13. It was the first adult novel I ever read and I've been obsessed with horror fiction every since.


message 14: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Jim wrote: "I read Gary Brandner's The Howling when I was 12 or 13. It was the first adult novel I ever read and I've been obsessed with horror fiction every since."

I loved that movie,mostly because of Dee Wallace, but never knew it was a book. I just looked and it seems they bare little resemblance to each other.


message 15: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth McKinley | 677 comments Mod
I thought Jaws was terrific. I have The Howling, but it hasn't made it off my TBR pile. Maybe I need to make that a priority.


message 16: by Jim (new)

Jim Lay | 5 comments The Howling is pretty dated now and almost has a Lifetime Movie feel to it, I suppose, but that book was a magical experience for me at the time. (His book "Hellborn" was another favorite of mine.) It kicked open doors in my imagination and life that made me an obsessed bookworm forever after.


message 17: by Mary (new)

Mary (maryjane70) | 6 comments Dracula by Bram Stoker The Stand by Stephen King

My parents bought me a hardcover combo edition of Dracula/Frankenstein when I was in grade school. I've been hooked on vampires ever since. But The Stand by King set the hook. I've read it at least 6 times.I'm sure I'll read it again before I die!


message 18: by Kevin (last edited Jun 05, 2016 09:55PM) (new)

Kevin (spiralcity) | 406 comments Mod
Ken wrote: "I thought Jaws was terrific. I have The Howling, but it hasn't made it off my TBR pile. Maybe I need to make that a priority."

We had a group read here featuring The Howling.
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 19: by Kellie (new)

Kellie | 150 comments Stephen King was my first horror writer and he suckered me in.


message 20: by Chara (new)

Chara | 13 comments The same thing happened with me, Kelly! My first -and favorite- was King's "The Shining". This was the book that introduced me to horror.


message 21: by Terry (new)

Terry | 47 comments For me, it was the novelization of Halloween II (Dennis Etchison) that I first read when I was 12 or 13 that got me hooked. Kinda a cheesey one to start with, but it hooked me. After that, it was Stephen King that kept me going (Pet Cemetary being first). I've lost that Halloween II book and have been wanting to pick it and the first Halloween books up, but they run $40 and $70 used on Amazon, and I can't make myself spend that much. Both of those books get pretty decent reviews, too. How much is too much to spend on a used book you want?


message 22: by Jim (new)

Jim Lay | 5 comments Terry wrote: "For me, it was the novelization of Halloween II (Dennis Etchison) that I first read when I was 12 or 13 that got me hooked. Kinda a cheesey one to start with, but it hooked me. After that, it was S..."
I still have my copy of that book, Terry! I also read the first Halloween novelization by Curtis Richards but lost my copy. It goes for $75 + now.


message 23: by Misty (new)

Misty  (linkypie) Squelch by John Halkin was my first adult horror read, before that I was addicted to all the Fear Street books by RL Stine


message 24: by Terry (last edited Jun 12, 2016 11:12AM) (new)

Terry | 47 comments Jim wrote: "Terry wrote: "For me, it was the novelization of Halloween II (Dennis Etchison) that I first read when I was 12 or 13 that got me hooked. Kinda a cheesey one to start with, but it hooked me. After ..."

I'm jealous, Jim! I want both of those but not enough yet to spend that much. Hoping to stumble on them in a used bookstore sometime, but not much chance of that, though.


message 25: by Kylie (new)

Kylie (new-vogue-ravyn) | 9 comments First adult one was Interview With the Vampire, but I had been reading Goosebumps and Point Horror for years before. My favourite Point Horror was The Mummy because I was also really into Ancient Egypt at the time.


message 26: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth McKinley | 677 comments Mod
Terry wrote: "For me, it was the novelization of Halloween II (Dennis Etchison) that I first read when I was 12 or 13 that got me hooked. Kinda a cheesey one to start with, but it hooked me. After that, it was S..."

I remember seeing those (Halloween 1 & 2) paperbacks when I was a kid. It seemed like everyone had them. Now they're worth their weight in gold!


message 27: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth McKinley | 677 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "The Howling is pretty dated now and almost has a Lifetime Movie feel to it, I suppose, but that book was a magical experience for me at the time. (His book "Hellborn" was another favorite of mine.)..."

Sometimes it's hard to remember how groundbreaking these books were for their times. Amazon is loaded with so many selections that have are more over-the-top gore and horror than the next one. In the early 1970s, horror was a different animal. It was the red-headed stepchild that most of society wrinkled their noses at. Horror was a much tamer, more gothic feel. Haunted houses, ghosts, and Hammer-like stories were about all there was. Very little blood or sex, and many topics of the the day were taboo. Then you had books like The Exorcist, Carrie and Jaws. These stories may seem tame now, but back then they were unlike anything that had every been written before. The critics hated them, calling them gratuitous, unmoral, seedy, and trash. But for many, they tapped into our primal senses and didn't let go. And we LOVED it! They also paved the way for pretty much every horror author that followed. Imagine the literary world of horror today if there was no Stephen King. Now that's scary!


message 28: by Kellie (new)

Kellie | 150 comments Chara wrote: "The same thing happened with me, Kelly! My first -and favorite- was King's "The Shining". This was the book that introduced me to horror."

Ch'kara,

That one was good.


message 29: by Christal (new)

Christal | 5 comments When I try thinking about it, I'm not sure what my first horror book was. I started out reading the "13.....Ghosts" books while in elementary school. When I became a teenager, I started reading Christopher Pike, a YA horror writer, the first one being Chain Letter, and continued to read all his books. While still in MS/HS, I just started reading any horror author that anyone recommended to me.


message 30: by Kevin (last edited Jun 20, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Kevin (spiralcity) | 406 comments Mod
Ken wrote: "Jim wrote: "The Howling is pretty dated now and almost has a Lifetime Movie feel to it, I suppose, but that book was a magical experience for me at the time. (His book "Hellborn" was another favori..."

Well, without Stephen King there would be no Stephen King books.

I know many love King and worship the ground he walks on, but horror would have emerged with or without King. I would dare to say King was in the right place at the right time. A brilliant idea man, a middle of the road writer. I do not find his writing extremely articulate nor poetic. I have read King books that I felt were flops, but his die-hard fans will never admit to such a thing as a King clunker. Tommy Knockers, Duma Key, and a handful of others didn't work from my perspective, but that's me. I actually felt his early novels were his best novels. After "It", I lost interest in King, although I did read a handful of his later books. Trying to hang on to that top spot is the equivalent to a rock band or pop star trying to remain relevant well after their prime. It all come to an end and there's a time to pass the torch.

I do not worship King but I do respect the man for what he has accomplished. To me he is just another author pushing his books to the masses.

I have read many story tellers who hold their own and then some in the horror field.


message 31: by Holly (new)

Holly (goldikova) Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Illustrated Stories for Children) by Washington Irving Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Before I started kindergarten this was my fave horror. The edition with the Arthur Rackham illustrations is key.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Lewis Barnavelt, #1) by John Bellairs The House with a Clock in Its Walls. Top pick from fifth grade, along with Among the Dolls by William Sleator Among the Dolls. In sixth grade it was this one Jane-Emily by Patricia Clapp Jane-Emily

We didn't have much in y/a horror back then.


message 32: by Anna (new)

Anna (doppiocuore) | 35 comments The first adult horror I remember and has stuck with me through out my life is Carrie by Stephen King. I did see the film first but I did read the book shortly after. Other than that, The Exorcist, but it took longer for me to get from the film to book than Carrie. I think King gave me the first real love of the horror genre when I was 11 or 12. So many people say that, and I'm no different. Getting older I still read his books but I have found many other authors that I enjoy more, but Carrie will always hold a special place.


Lisa *OwlBeSatReading* (owlbesatreading) The Dark by James Herbert got me totally hooked on horror about 30 years ago. Loved all his stuff since.


message 34: by Kenneth (last edited Jul 12, 2016 01:02PM) (new)

Kenneth McKinley | 677 comments Mod
Lisa *OwlBeSatReading* wrote: "The Dark by James Herbert got me totally hooked on horror about 30 years ago. Loved all his stuff since."

Herbert never made as big of splash on this side of the pond as he did in Europe and it's an utter shame. He's one of the very best at setting a creepy atmosphere that can chill you down to the bone.


message 35: by matthew smith (new)

matthew smith | 3 comments for me it was richard laymon bite I was hook after that one


message 36: by SeraphIonna (new)

SeraphIonna | 9 comments I didn't really get into horror until this past year, sad to say. When I read God's Eye by A.J. Scudiere , I decided to read another book in the horror genre and branched out from my usual fodder of Sue Grafton. Yet the book that stands out to me and impressed upon me the desire to keep reading this genre was The Stand by Stephen King .


message 37: by Nick (new)

Nick (veryevildead) | 26 comments Shattered by Dean Koontz in 7th grade. Had me hooked.


message 38: by Jessie (new)

Jessie | 31 comments In the 70's I read Amityville Horror and it scared the heck out of me. But my love for horror didn't happen until I saw Friday the 13th in the theater. Cheesy movie yes, but back then as a young teen, it was fantastic!


message 39: by David (last edited Sep 27, 2016 11:18AM) (new)

David Brian (davidbrian) | 116 comments I honestly can't remember which came first. I used to read a lot of collections: Poe, Block, Bradbury. Outside of these, Hell House, I Am Legend, The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, all were early front runners.


message 40: by Anna (new)

Anna Willett | 26 comments Jessie wrote: "In the 70's I read Amityville Horror and it scared the heck out of me. But my love for horror didn't happen until I saw Friday the 13th in the theater. Cheesy movie yes, but back then as a young te..."
I remember loving Friday the 13th too. I think reading Carrie got me into horror.
Love you profile picture by the way.
Anna


message 41: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth For me it was Dracula by Bram Stoker and It by Stephen King


message 42: by Tom (new)

Tom | 17 comments I will have to say Lois Duncan books. Some Hardy Boys Nancy Drew mysteries. These grew into darker and more bloody fare, thank you Mr. King. I lucked out where my Mom and Aunts were all into scary stuff so I grew up on old monster movies (Mom) and 70's horror (aunts).


message 43: by Christy (last edited Oct 06, 2016 05:11PM) (new)

Christy | 14 comments Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1) by Anne Rice . I remember sitting on the floor of my room reading this one--and I really wanted to get on my bed and under the covers, but I couldn't move....I think I ended up covering the book...so I couldn't see it! This was probably 30 years ago....Now, sadly, I am extremely hard to scare....and I miss that feeling! I still read mostly horror, but today I only find them entertaining. I really don't understand what happened :(


message 44: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth McKinley | 677 comments Mod
Christy wrote: "Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1) by Anne Rice. I remember sitting on the floor of my room reading this one--and I really wanted to get on my bed and under the covers, but I couldn't move....I think ..."

I'm with you, Christy. I love all things horror - books, movies, EC comics, Halloween, haunted house, etc - and I find plenty of stories that entertain me, but very few move me, shake my foundations, give me that giddy feeling of excitement down to the core. I'm sure much of it is that damnable growing up that we all have to do, eventually. But, I still chase that feeling and, every once in a while, a writer delivers it. Those are the stories that really make sit up and take notice.


message 45: by Anna (new)

Anna Willett | 26 comments Ken wrote: "Christy wrote: "Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1) by Anne Rice. I remember sitting on the floor of my room reading this one--and I really wanted to get on my bed and under the covers, but I couldn't ..."
Hi,
Yes, I get it. I love reading horror and thrillers, but I can't say anything really scares me anymore. Shame. I miss that feeling too.


message 46: by Kandice (new)

Kandice I think the majority of us that read horror don't get scared anymore. Maybe we keep reading hoping for that thrill again?


message 47: by Holly (new)

Holly (goldikova) A good supernatural horror story can still give me that sense of unease and dread; but the current trend in 'reality based horror' has actually motivated me to read more dark fantasy. I like the creative use of horror themes in the world building of this genre.


message 48: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 3 comments Carrie by Stephen King was the first horror novel I ever read when I was in high school and after that I was hooked!


message 49: by Marie (new)

Marie My brother loaned me Cujo by Stephen King when I was about 14 and ever since then I have been hooked on horror books. Then I started trying to find other authors like King and then I found John Saul which ended up being my second favorite author - the second horror book I read was Nathaniel by John Saul - very creepy, leave the light on kind of book. From there I discovered a whole bunch of horror authors.


message 50: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth McKinley | 677 comments Mod
Cujo still gets to me to this day. I love how dark it is.


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