Saturday… Just Saying 7/14/2012

Neil Gaiman, 1960-

Neil Richard Gaiman is an English author who writes in a variety genres and mediums. Genres include fantasy, science fiction and horror, mediums include, novels, graphic novels, short stories, children’s books, as well as scripts for film and television. He is well known for his comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, and Coraline.

Quote from:
Image adapted from Albert Bierstadt, A Storm in the Rocky Mountains,
Illustration by KLeRosier

Saturday… Just Saying

Stephen King (1947-)

King is an American Author best known for his horror novels many adapted to film. The Stand, Carrie, The Shining, and Cujo are among his most popular books.

Top Ten Scariest Horror Books I’ve read

Halloween is the perfect time for a
Horror Genre Top Ten List.

Although Horror has never been one of my favored genre I’ve read many of them anyways, predominately Stephen King.  Looking at my top ten list it becomes obvious I was scared easier in my youth. People get jaded and harder to spook as we get older.  All but 2 of these stories have been adapted to film, some twice. I believe a horror book is better if read before seeing the movie  but I saw 2 of the movie first so I can’t be sure.
One outcome of making this list is I’m going to try to find the 1963 movie adaptation of my #1 scariest book and see if it still scares me decades later.

Ratman’s Notebooks by Stephen Gilbert (1969)

Rereleased as Willard in 1971 after the movie based on the novel. Ratman’s Notebook is a story of an outcast who befriends rats and come to love one special rat. Eventually the rats turn on him. The book is touching as well as terrifying.

Rosemary’s Baby, by Ira Levin (1967)

I accidentally saw the 1968 movie adaptation when I was 11. Keep in mind back in that day 11 year olds were pretty innocent compared with today’s kids exposed to so much more. I come from a family of 7 kids. My parents would take us to the drive in our PJs. Before the movie started they would let us run in the play area, and fill us up with popcorn and Kool-Aid brought from home. We were guaranteed to be asleep in the back of the station wagon by the second feature, especially if it was a boring grown-up movie. This time I woke up and sat quietly watching the movie until I freaked my parents out by asking what the devil was doing to Rosemary! They made me promise not to tell anyone I watched that movie! Anyway I read the book several years later and finally found out what the devil was doing. It was a pretty good book, frightening and satanic.

Chicago Haunts: Ghostlore of the Windy City, by Ursula Bielski (1998)

Chicago is wrought with ghost stories and strange phenomena. In 2005 I went on a guided bus tour of haunted places in Chicago. I actually witnessed strange phenomena such as strange lights in the photos friends took, instantly available thanks to digital cameras, without time to doctor them. And, to my dismay, I discovered I get painful pressure in my solar plexus when I get near some of the alleged haunted sights. I later read Bielski’s fascinating but chilling book. After the tour and reading of the book, I’m glad I live far from Chicago and my family is the first occupants in our home.

The Stand, by Stephen King (1978)

This novel is not your typical jump out and say boo horror novel. This post-apocalyptic story depicts the horror of the worse (and best) things that can happen to mankind and individual humanity. “The best” I referred is the only thing that kept that book from being too depressingly horrible to read. The book is a page turner, masterfully written, but at the same time I did not like it. Depictions of stark reality are not my thing, as illustrated by Urban Fantasy being my favorite genre.

The Amityville Horror: A True Story, by Jay Anson (1977)

The truthfulness of the “real-life” happenings claim has not been substantiated and I frankly do not believe Anson. FYI, In 1977, James & Barbara Cromarty bought and lived in the house ten years but reported the only weird happenings in the house were all the people coming to gape at it.
I read the book but halfway through I became so scared I quit reading. I slept with the lights on and was afraid to be alone in my apartment. Some time later I finished the book and realized I’d stopped reading just before the story got so ridicules the believability was lost. I would have slept just fine had I continued.

The Shining, by Stephen King (1977)

This horror novel is so excellently written it doesn’t even need the scary scenes to be a great story. For me, the book “creeped me out” more than induced “sheer fear” but it definitely left me a skittish for a while. I saw the movie years later and loved it as well. Jack Nicolson with ax limping down the hall, the wind howled is forever engraved in my mind.

The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty (1971)

I read this book just before I saw the movie. I found the book chilling and gave me serious “willies”. This is one of those books that are full of the depth, details, and background that breathes life into a story and later served to increase the depth and enjoyment of the movie. They complement each other well.

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders, by Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry (1974)

This book is an authentic true story. I worked in a photography darkroom during this time and this book made me afraid to be in there alone but couldn’t admit it to coworkers. To me the most horrifying part of this book was not the murder but the practice sessions for the murders. Mansion members would quietly break into homes while the vulnerable occupants slept and creepy crawl through the rooms touching and moving little things, and look at the people! Then they would creep out and leave. To me that is horrifying!

Survivor Type from Skeleton Crew, a short story collection by Stephen King (1985)

This is hands down the most sickly horrific book I’ve ever read. Survivor Type is also the story that made me stop reading Steven King. For me he crossed the line between horror and sick. I spent years getting the book’s appalling words and images out of my soul. This book hit a nerve I never want touched again. I’ve met people who don’t understand my issue but I can’t even go there to explain what the book was about. More than enough said.

The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson (1959)

I read the novel more than a decade after I saw the 1963 movie adaptation. The book was okay but once you’ve seen the movie much of the fear factor is lost. The Haunting 1963 movie rated #18 on Bravo network’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments. I was 10-12 years old when I saw this movie on TV. Never since have I screamed in such terror and jumped so high as I did during the tower/trap door scene. The whole movie scared the daylights out of me. I think my dislike of the horror genre stems from this movie and that scene. If you’ve seen the 1963 version the 1999 remake falls flat.

What are You Reading Today?

I’m Reading:  The Hour of Dust and Ashes, Kelly Gay

A 2011 Urban Fantasy and the 3rd book in Kelly Gay’s Charlie Madigan Series. Detective Charlie Madigan continues to unravel the secrets of her emerging powers.  With the help of her siren partner Hank, a Hellhound Brimstone and other powerful friends,  Madigan perseveres in the quest to bring sunshine back to Atlanta and to cut off the suppliers of the off-world drug called ash. This book just released a few weeks ago so I’m in for a long wait for promised book 4. Bummer 😦

A Sister at the Nephew’s Wedding Saturday is Reading:

Charlemagne Roland, Allan Massie,  a 2007 Historical Fiction novel.

Another Sister at the Nephew’s Wedding Saturday is Re-reading:

Tommy Knockers, Stephen King, a 1987  Horror Novel

(BTW I have 5 sisters, but I only asked 2.)