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Must Read Classic Horror Lists > The Ultimate Classic Horror Must Read List

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message 1: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (last edited Sep 22, 2011 11:35AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
The goal is to compile a list of classic horror must reads, and the intrepid can use this as a guide. Read them and cross them off their list.

I will create a master list based on your suggestions.

Guideline:

Generally the consensus among group members is that classic horror would be that written prior to beginning of 60s. That is open to interpretation, of course.

Caveat: Some of these volumes may have crossover and include the same stories!

List so far (in order of suggestion by readers):


I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Hell House by Richard Matheson
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Best Ghost Stories of J. S. Le Fanu by Joseph Sheridan LeFanu
In a Glass Darkly by Joseph Sheridan LeFune
Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories by Algernon Blackwood
The Dreams in the Witch House & Other Weird Stories by HP Lovecraft
The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories by HP Lovecraft
The Call of Cthulhu by HP Lovecraft
The Horror in the Museum by HP Lovecraft
Nightmare At 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories By Richard Matheson by Richard Matheson
The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard by Robert E. Howard
The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe, Volume 3 by Edgar Allen Poe
Madam Crowl's Ghost & Other Stories (Wordsworth Classics) Joseph Sheridan LeFanu
The Monk by Matthew Lewis
The Watchers Out of Time by HP Lovecraft
Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural by Marvin Kaye
Haunted America: Star-Spangled Supernatural Stories by Marvin Kaye
Ghosts: A Treasury of Chilling Tales Old and New by Marvin Kaye
Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural by Marvin Kaye
The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton by Edith Wharton
Uncanny Stories (Mystery & Supernatural S.) by May Sinclair
The Beetle by Richard Marsh
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Collected Supernatural And Weird Fiction Of Mary Elizabeth Braddon by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell
Hauntings and Other Fantastic Tales by Vernon Lee
All Saints Eve (Mystery & Supernatural) by Amelia B. Edwards
The Bell in the Fog and Other Stories (Wordsworth Mystery & Supernatural) by Gertrude Atherton
The Devil Rides Out (Duke de Richleau, #6) by Dennis Wheatley
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by HP Lovecraft
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Lost Souls: A Collection of English Ghost Stories by Jack Sullivan
Tales of Terror and the Supernatural by Wilkie Collins
Best Ghost and Horror Stories by Bram Stoker
The 13 Best Horror Stories of All Time by Leslie Pockell
Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson
The ring of Thoth, and other stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
Lot No. 249 by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Stoneground Ghost Tales by EG Swain
The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson by EF Benson
Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by MR James
More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by MR James
Fearful Rock & Other Precarious Locales: The Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman, Volume 3 by Manly Wade Wellman
Sin's Doorway & Other Ominous Entrances:The Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman, Volume 4 by Manly Wade Wellman
Owls Hoot in the Daytime and Other Omens: The Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman, Volume 5 by Manly Wade Wellman
The Third Cry to Legba & Other Invocations: The Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman, Volume 1 by Manly Wade Wellman
The Devil is Not Mocked & Other Warnings: The Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman, Volume 2 by Manly Wade Wellman
Boats of the "Glen Carrig" and Other Nautical Adventures by William Hope Hodgson
The House on the Borderland and Other Mysterious Places by Willian Hope Hodgson
The Ghost Pirates and Other Revenants of the Sea: The Collected Fiction of William Hope Hodgson, Volume 3 by William Hope Hodgson
The Mammoth Book of Victorian and Edwardian Ghost Stories
The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan LeFanu
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
The Manuscript Found in Saragossa by Jan Potocki
Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Maturin
Wieland and Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist by Charles Brockden Brown
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


message 3: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Awesome!!!


message 4: by Phil (last edited Sep 02, 2010 11:22AM) (new)

Phil (philhappy) | 19 comments I'll add in a couple I've read that aren't on Martha's list

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton amazing stuff if you like ambiguous stories plus 'A Bottle of Perrier' is a must read for Horror fans.

Uncanny Stories by May Sinclair. Weird, chilling, psychological Horror.

The Beetle by Richard Marsh. Strange, strange stuff! More sensationalism than Horror but the Horror elements are strong in the first section of the book.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. A lot of people don't like his writing style but it's essential reading for classic horror fans, so there :P


message 5: by Martha (new)

Martha (hellocthulhu) | 325 comments Mod
Yeah, I admit Henry James puts me to sleep. I don't think I'll be reading more of him, but I'll keep a look out for those others, Phil.


message 6: by Mohammed (last edited Sep 02, 2010 01:53PM) (new)

Mohammed  Burhan Abdi Osman (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments Martha wrote: "Yeah, I admit Henry James puts me to sleep. I don't think I'll be reading more of him, but I'll keep a look out for those others, Phil."

Heh he is the only classic horror writer that put me to sleep too.

His writing is just dull there are better versions. I prefer Le Fanu for example.


message 7: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
I did read Turn of the Screw. I think a reader who really wants to read all the classic/gothic horror out there should read it. But, I didn't care much for James' writing style. No offense to any fans of his.

I like your list, Phil. I plan to read all of those.


message 8: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 164 comments I've never heard of The Beetle! It looks like one I need to read.


message 9: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 164 comments I've added a bunch of these to the group bookshelf, but have probably missed some. Where an author had a "complete stories" or "collected stories" available (Lovecraft, Poe, etc.) I listed that rather than individual works.


message 10: by Mohammed (last edited Sep 02, 2010 02:10PM) (new)

Mohammed  Burhan Abdi Osman (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments Has anyone here read Ann Redcliffe ?

I was thinking about going for Queens of classic horror reading. Im getting Shelley,Radcliffe,Shirley Jackson.

If you guys know more good female horror classic let me know. I dont want only classic male view.


message 11: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 164 comments Edith Wharton's ghost stories are really good, and so are E. Nesbit's.


message 12: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  Burhan Abdi Osman (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments Cathy wrote: "Edith Wharton's ghost stories are really good, and so are E. Nesbit's."

Thats what im looking for.

I knew Wharton by name but not that she wrote horror.


message 13: by Phil (new)

Phil (philhappy) | 19 comments Yeh Henry James gets a lot of hate lol, I've only read 'Turn of the Screw' and I loved it. I just love a story that can give a genuine fright at the end. I'm a big fan of the movie 'The Innocents' too, based on the story.

Ah 'The Beetle' well worth the read, but be prepared for some real weirdness. The book is told by four different narrators. The first segment is pure creepy horror, then we get the opinions of two different character told over the next two sections that are a great example of 'comedy of errors'. There's some really funny stuff in there. Then it all ends in a sensational fast paced, adventure story, throwing in mesmerism, gender confusion and a great chase scene. Strange, strange, strange, and hugely enjoyable. ahem....IMO.


message 14: by Cathy (last edited Sep 02, 2010 02:21PM) (new)

Cathy | 164 comments I love real weirdness! I am all over this one.

It turns out it's only 99 cents as an eBook! Yay, I know what I'm reading next.


message 15: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
The Beetle sounds very interesting, Paul.

Here are some female classic horror authors:

Collected Horror Stories by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell
Hauntings and Other Fantastic Tales by Vernon Lee
All Saints Eve by Amelia B. Edwards
The Bell in the Fog and Other Stories by Gertrude Atherton


message 16: by Martha (new)

Martha (hellocthulhu) | 325 comments Mod
Phil wrote: "Yeh Henry James gets a lot of hate lol, I've only read 'Turn of the Screw' and I loved it. I just love a story that can give a genuine fright at the end. I'm a big fan of the movie 'The Innocents' ..."

I liked watching 'The Innocents' way more than reading The Turn of the Screw. I mean, I'm glad I read it first, but I just thought the movie told the story better. And I hardly ever think that.


message 17: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Same here. I thought the movie was interesting, but Deborah Kerr seemed a little more hysterical than I took the governess to be in the movie. I wasn't too fond of that aspect. The kids, particularly the boy, were pretty sinister.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments There's:
Dracula
Conjure Wife
The case of Charles Dexter Ward (short novel/novella may be in some Lovecraft anthologies.) Other Lovecraft, but several have been mentioned.

Probably think of more later...


message 20: by Nyghtmare (new)

Nyghtmare Legend of Sleepy Hollow. That's the only one I can think of.


message 21: by Larry (new)

Larry (hal9000i) | 95 comments Awesome thread for someone wanting to discover classic horror!


message 22: by Danielle (new)

Danielle | 2 comments Some really good collections of short stories:
Lost Souls: A Collection of English Ghost Stories - Jack Sullivan
Tales of Terror and the Supernatural - Wilkie Collins
Best Ghost and Horror Stories - Bram Stoker
The 13 Best Horror Stories of All Time - Leslie Pockell


message 23: by Robert (new)

Robert Dunbar | 18 comments Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "There's:
Dracula
Conjure Wife
The case of Charles Dexter Ward (short novel/novella may be in some Lovecraft anthologies.) Other Lovecraft, but several have been mentioned.

Probably think of more..."


CONJURE WIFE! Not a book one hears mentioned very often ... and one of my all-time favorites.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments I felt the same way about that book. I'd read reviews of Darker Than You Think and ran it down, but really didn't care for it.

As for Conjure Wife I sort of stumbled on it in a used book store back in the mid or late 70s... good book.


message 25: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
I plan to read Conjure Wife and Our Lady of Darkness soon.


message 26: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 164 comments Conjure Wife and Our Lady of Darkness just recently became available as e-books -- although at ridiculous prices.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments I'll watch for your thoughts Danielle. I really liked/like Conjure Wife, but didn't really like Our Lady of Darkness. I'll really be interested in what you think.


message 28: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
I found a duology at the used bookstore. I was very happy, because it's pricey online indeed. Mike, I will definitely post a review when I read those.


message 29: by Larry (new)

Larry (hal9000i) | 95 comments I hope to read Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu soon. (I can't do the clicky linky thing from my Blackberry)


message 30: by Larry (new)

Larry (hal9000i) | 95 comments I hope to read Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu soon. (I can't do the clicky linky thing from my Blackberry)


message 31: by Nyghtmare (new)

Nyghtmare I love horror so much, and I'm 13.


message 32: by Larry (new)

Larry (hal9000i) | 95 comments Good to hear Laura! But what kind of horror do you like?


message 33: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 164 comments Hi Laura! I loved horror when I was 13 too (well, and still do). Have you read any of Mary Downing Hahn's ghost stories, like Wait Till Helen Comes?


message 34: by Steve (new)

Steve Chaput (stevec50) I was probably 12 or 13 when my parents began to allow me to stay up and watch the sci-fi/horror movies on Friday & Saturday nights (way back in those pre-cable days). My dad even got me an old B&W television set for my room, so I wasn't disturbing them. Guess it was downhill from there.

I also blame Forrest J. Ackerman's FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND for introducing me to even more films and horror literature.


message 35: by Mohammed (last edited Sep 16, 2010 09:02AM) (new)

Mohammed  Burhan Abdi Osman (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments Dave H wrote: "I would also suggest Jack Williamson's 'Darker Than You Think' which was wriiten in 1948 and was probably the first novel to do what True Blood and the like are doing today by including Werewolves,..."

You must be a big fan of werewolf to like that classic novel. Sure it was a bit dated,pulpy but it was a great werewolf novel. It tried to write SF like about werewolf issue like I Am Legend did for vampire.

I read not so long ago and adored it.


message 36: by Larry (new)

Larry (hal9000i) | 95 comments Hmmm Jack Williamson in a horror thread-cool!


message 37: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
I have that in my pile to read. I am a big, huge werewolf fan. :)


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments I'll be interested in what you think, Mohammed and I have already compared notes on that book.


message 39: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  Burhan Abdi Osman (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments Larry wrote: "Hmmm Jack Williamson in a horror thread-cool!"

You need to fresh about on your horror knowledge ;)

He did get the Horror Writers' Association's Lifetime Achievement Award despite he wrote few horror,werewolf stories compared to his SF.


message 40: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "I'll be interested in what you think, Mohammed and I have already compared notes on that book."

Hopefully I'll get to it in the near future.


message 41: by Larry (new)

Larry (hal9000i) | 95 comments Conn, what I know about horror you could fit on a beer mat. I'm looking for a bigger beer mat tho!


message 42: by Steve (new)

Steve | 31 comments Great books and stories. I'll have to think about this a bit to see if I can any to the mix. The anthologies all look good. One older anthology that I would add would be Masters of Horror. Has the best Werewolf story I've ever read.


message 43: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Steve, I added Masters of Horror to my tbr list. Thanks for the recommendation.


message 44: by Steve (new)

Steve | 31 comments If you're into poetry, some horror drenched imagery can be found in Trakl's work. Check out Song of the West: Selected Poems.


message 45: by Louisa (new)

Louisa Has anyone read any Wilkie Collins? The Woman in White and Haunted Hotel are must reads.


message 46: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Louisa, I have not, but I plan to do so.


message 47: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Oct 05, 2010 10:08AM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments Louisa, have you read Drood by Dan Simmons? Fictitious but interesting.


message 48: by Michael (new)

Michael (mikedecshop) | 30 comments Louisa wrote: "Has anyone read any Wilkie Collins? The Woman in White and Haunted Hotel are must reads."

read the Woman in White several years ago. I don't categorize it as horror but as a mystery. I thought it was OK but it didn't really get me.


message 49: by Steve (last edited Oct 05, 2010 11:41AM) (new)

Steve Chaput (stevec50) Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "Louisa, have you read Drood by Dan Simmons? Fictitious but interesting."

I know this wasn't addressed to me, but I did not find the book interesting at all. I tried twice, putting it down and trying again a week later, but could not get much past the half-way point in the novel. I think part of the problem was that I found neither Dickens nor Wilkie Collins likeable enough that I cared what happened to them. This bothered me, since I've always enjoyed Dickens' books and have been fascinated by his unfinished novel since first reading it in high school.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments When I reviewed it I rated it 3 stars...I didn't dislike it, nor like it a lot, but I found it interesting, in places. That's a word I use often about certain books, "interesting". I'm not "in general" a Dickens fan (though I like some of his work immensely) and wasn't at all familiar with Collins when I read this book. I knew who he was, but that was about all. I can't say I liked Drood overall, or "without reservation", but there are things about it I liked and I found the questions it raised "interesting". I just thought a Collins fan might find it, well....interesting. :)


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