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Reading Classic Horror > What is the scariest story you've read in the Classic Horror category and why?

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message 1: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
So what story really impressed you as far as being very scary? Why did it scare you so much?

I'm taking notes because I love a really good scare!


message 2: by Amanda (new)

Amanda M. Lyons (amandamlyons) Well I'll give you an example that doesn't quite fall under classic horror (though it is in that vein) and more haunting than scary. In Skeleton Crew there's a short story by Stephen King called "Nona" I've never forgotten it. It's very surreal and full of imagery that sticks.


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

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Pulling that out to read, Amanda. Thanks!


message 4: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (last edited Sep 02, 2010 09:42AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
My short list:

"The Whistling Room" by William Hope Hodgson
"Oh Whistle to You and I'll Come, My Lad" by MR James
"The Empty Berth" by F. Marion Crawford
"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson
I think it's called "The Old Man's Beard" by H. Russell Wakefield. This vengeful ghost preys on the girlfriend of the son of the man he hates. You can see his gray hairs grabbing her and wrapping her up in various scenes. It was really creepy!
"Letters of Fire" by Gaston Leroux

All of these stories build suspense so expertly.


message 5: by Martha (new)

Martha (hellocthulhu) | 325 comments Mod
I will have to pull out my anthologies at home to check for some I'm forgetting, I'm sure.
Some of my favorites are:
'The Shadow out of Time' by HP Lovecraft. Horror for the ages.
'The Familiar' by LeFanu. Story about guilt, gave me chills.
'The Body-Snatcher' by Robert Louis Stevenson. Not much is scarier to me than medical science.
'They Bite' by Anthony Boucher. Had me a bit nervous about things in the corner of my vision.

'The Empty Berth' is definitely a good one, Danielle! I need to get a Crawford collection.


message 6: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
I need to read the ones you listed. I love the stories that give you chills.

Have you read "The Squaw" by Bram Stoker? It's about this queen (cat) who stalks this man who accidentally killed her kitten. It was so chilling b/c you don't expect animals to have such a human drive as that.


message 7: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 164 comments The Upper Berth is great! I think I like Crawford's The Screaming Skull even better.

Others:

Mackintosh Willy, Ramsey Campbell
Lost Hearts, M.R. James
Ghost Hunt, H. Russell Wakefield
The Willows and Wendigo, Algernon Blackwood
The Lady in the House of Love, Angela Carter
Afterward, Edith Wharton
The Beckoning Fair One, Oliver Onions
The Dunwich Horror, H.P. Lovecraft -- well, lots of his. Pickman's Model might actually be my favorite.


message 8: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
More good ones. Thanks, Cathy! I'm not sure I've read The Screaming Skull.


message 9: by Mohammed (last edited Sep 02, 2010 02:02PM) (new)

Mohammed  Burhan Abdi Osman (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments "The Black Cat"
"The Premature Burial"
"Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe - he always get to me and only the titles tell you whats so heart pumping about those stories.
"From a Tideless Sea" by William Hope Hodgson - sea monster story that was so athomsphere strong,so vivid that i was seeing horrible monsters in every corner.
"The Adventure of the German Student" by Washington Irving - the ending is spooky.
"The Body-Snatcher" by Robert Louis Stevenson - i was thinking not horrific about this story and then i was like WHAT!


message 10: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Great list, Mohammed. I am a fairly big WHH fan myself. I started The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig', but I had to take it back to the library. Fortunately I was able to download it onto my Kindle. I'd like to collect/read all of his stuff.


message 11: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  Burhan Abdi Osman (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments Library book ? Never again, i have ordered second hand version Complete WHH volume 1 with Boats of Glen Carrig from abebooks. He is too important for me to read dodgy library books.

Him Poe,Howard is guys i pay gladly 40-50 bucks to get complete collections.


message 12: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
I completely agree! I haven't been able to get that volume in print, but I have a few others of his, and most of his stuff on my Kindle.


message 13: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  Burhan Abdi Osman (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments Well im glad i got his expensive collection now, i just went back to college and saw how poor you become as student :P


message 14: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
I know what you mean, Mohammed. I was in college for eight years. Still paying off student loans. I'm glad I have a little more money indulge my book-collecting hobby now. I think about going back, but I don't want any more student loans!


message 15: by Martha (last edited Sep 06, 2010 02:36PM) (new)

Martha (hellocthulhu) | 325 comments Mod
I am home now and I've been looking through my anthologies. I am going to expand my list of favorites here if that's ok. I don't want to flood the topic too much, but I really love horror anthologies! More scary or unsettling recs from me:

'The Man Who Found Out' by Algernon Blackwood (how did I forget that one?)
'Out of the Aeons' by Hazel Heald
'The Loved Dead' by C.M. Eddy, Jr. (actually repulsed me)
'The Faceless Thing' by Edward D. Hoch (read many times, eloquently horrifying)
'Dress of White Silk' by Richard Matheson (ambiguous but creepy)
'The Man Who Collected Poe' by Robert Bloch
'The Wind in the Rose-Bush' by Mary Wilkins-Freeman
'Smee' by A.M. Burrage (awesome ghost story)
'How Fear Departed From the Long Gallery' by E.F. Benson
'Sardonicus' by Ray Russell
'The Throwing Suit' by Darrel Schweitzer & Jason Van Hollander
'In the Valley of the Shades' by C.H. Sherman


message 16: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Please feel free to post as many as you like, Martha. I am always on the hunt for a good scary story.

I agree with you about "The Throwing Suit". That was an uber-creepy story!


message 17: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 164 comments Oh, I haven't read most of those (and those I've read I loved).


message 18: by David (new)

David 'Horror at Fontenay' by A. Dumas, set in the French Revolutionary Terror. Rarely if ever read nowadays. I was haunted by the image of severed heads in a sack biting each other. I was at an impressionable age (no change there).


message 19: by Jaime (last edited Feb 20, 2011 10:48AM) (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) The Telltale Heart , The Cask of Amontillado, and The Yellow Wallpaper.

All three kept me up at night at different points in my life.


message 20: by David (new)

David Jaime wrote: "The Telltale Heart , The Cask of Amontillado, and The Yellow Wallpaper.

All three kept me up at night at different points in my life."


'Misery is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multiform...'


message 21: by David (new)

David The very first sentence of Amontillado shows that Montresor is mad.


message 22: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) David wrote: "The very first sentence of Amontillado shows that Montresor is mad."

I'd say first paragraph not first sentence, but of course this is subjective.


message 23: by David (last edited Feb 20, 2011 01:37PM) (new)

David Jaime wrote: "David wrote: "The very first sentence of Amontillado shows that Montresor is mad."

I'd say first paragraph not first sentence, but of course this is subjective."


'The thousand injuries of Fortunato I'd borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult...'

What thousand imagined injuries come before a simple insult?


message 24: by Martha (new)

Martha (hellocthulhu) | 325 comments Mod
I'm just reminded of watching Vincent Price reading Amontillado in "An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe" (I think it's called). I loved that.


message 25: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) David wrote: "Jaime wrote: "David wrote: "The very first sentence of Amontillado shows that Montresor is mad."

I'd say first paragraph not first sentence, but of course this is subjective."

'The thousand i..."


Where does it say or imply they are imagined?

He could handle all that was done to him until he was insulted. This is not an insane comment, I'm sorry.


message 26: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 164 comments Awesome thread! The Windigo frightened me a lot. I'll have to think of some more, but the suggestions here are great!


message 27: by David (new)

David Jaime wrote: "David wrote: "Jaime wrote: "David wrote: "The very first sentence of Amontillado shows that Montresor is mad."

I'd say first paragraph not first sentence, but of course this is subjective."

'The ..."


That just supports my point, if they were real injuries.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments That's actually a sort "big" debate among "those who argue such things" (LOL). Was Montresor insane, what were the "injuries" indeed were there any injuries? Whatever the bottom line the horror's there.

I've held back on this thread because I couldn't settle on a given story. There are several and sometimes they pluck or play on different types of terror. I was young when I read The Premature BurialThe Premature Burial and think it effected me (at least at the time) more than a lot of others. It may have changed since. I can't settle on one right now.


message 29: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "That's actually a sort "big" debate among "those who argue such things" (LOL). Was Montresor insane, what were the "injuries" indeed were there any injuries? Whatever the bottom line the horror's t..."

That's kind of my point, it's subjective.


message 30: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Feb 21, 2011 06:41PM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments I agree. Same type of terror (as Premature Burial). Later I think I found Lovecraft more to my taste, but I still like Poe.


message 31: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) I like Poe more, but I grew up reading him and didn't find Lovecraft until later.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments Same here. A teacher introduced me to Poe when I was 12. I found Lovecraft as an adult... well I was past 18, sometimes I wonder if I'm an adult even now. LOL


message 33: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 164 comments I'm 36. Mentally, I'm 15...lol


message 34: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) Lol


message 35: by David (new)

David Poe also wrote a few comic tales, such as 'The Angel of the Odd' and 'The Man That Was Used Up.'


message 36: by David (new)

David Le Fanu pioneered the sort of thing King specialises in, the horror breaking into ordinary, unremarkable life. Like in 'Madame Crowl's Ghost' where the sweet little old lady turns out to be a vampire, floating outside the upper window late at night. In the classic film, Dreyer's Vampyr is a nondescript old clergyman.


message 37: by Shawn (new)

Shawn | 333 comments I still find the last line of "The Horla" by De Maupassant to be absolutely chilling....


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments Long time since I thought of that one Shawn. They "sort of" based Diary of a Mad Man on it....I suppose it would be "loosely" based.


message 39: by Shawn (new)

Shawn | 333 comments Yeah - it is loosely based - but still a fun film!


message 40: by David (new)

David Shawn wrote: "I still find the last line of "The Horla" by De Maupassant to be absolutely chilling...."


The sense of desolation is remarkable.


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Kyle wrote: "The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe. It scared me because I could feel the tension this novel illicited. The overwhelming guilt of the main character...the heart beating louder and louder. So sy..."

I remember having to pace in the lobby due to the Pit and the Pendulum. Poe is too scary but I cannot even read Dracula. The Haunting of Gad's hall is scary enough for me:

The Haunting of Gad's Hall


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments My wife could never read Dracula (and liked the Nora Lofts books including that one)...later however she was really into King and other more modern horror. But she swore off Dracula.


message 43: by Owais (new)

Owais | 2 comments "Oh Whistle to You and I'll Come, My Lad, and "number 13 by m r james are gr8est classic horror stories.In fact sir conan doyle also wrote some great ghost stories such as "The brown,playing with fire and so on.but unfortunatly his horror writing was overshadowed by his sherlock holme stories!


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "My wife could never read Dracula (and liked the Nora Lofts books including that one)...later however she was really into King and other more modern horror. But she swore off Dracula."

I can read some Stephen King and just got 4 of them at the library sale. I got a copy of Carrie which I never had a chance to read. The Dark Half was very hard for me. I still plan to try Dracula again as third time is charm but got to be in very peaceful mode. I just learned more about myself by reading:

The Highly Sensitive Person They usually like art and as I recall your wife was an artist too.


message 45: by Amanda (last edited Aug 07, 2011 11:16PM) (new)

Amanda M. Lyons (amandamlyons) Alice wrote: "Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "My wife could never read Dracula (and liked the Nora Lofts books including that one)...later however she was really into King and other more modern horror. But she swore ..."

I liked Bag of Bones as far as his milder work, have you read it yet Alice?


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

No, I haven't read Bag of Bones. I am mainly going to read Carrie as there are quite a few neverending quiz questions about it but I don't recall one about Bag of Bones. I actually don't like the title at all but thanks for the recommendation. I will add it to my list in case I run across a copy. We are heading out to the library this afternoon.

Bag of Bones


message 47: by Philip (new)

Philip Hemplow | 21 comments Hard to say which was scariest, since I read most of them for the first time when I was 8 or something, and pretty easily scared! (I used to borrow big collections of them off my nan.) Would say that `The Signalman' (Dickens) would probably be up there. And `The Monkey's Paw'. The one that left the greatest impression wasn't exactly a horror story though - `The Imp Of Perversity' by Poe blew my mind. Still does.


message 48: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Aug 18, 2011 11:10AM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments I'm not totally sure it was THE SCARIEST but in the same vein as Phillip, Poe's Premature Burial marked me when I was young... The concept still horrifies.


message 49: by Martha (new)

Martha (hellocthulhu) | 325 comments Mod
Premature Burial was horrifying for me as well, I think I was 12 when I first read it. It's still one of my favorite Poe.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments I think that's the same age I was. 6th grade as I recall.


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