May has come and, soon, all our thoughts will be towards summer vacation. We’ll be idly daydreaming of trips to the beach, fireworks, and cold drinks on hot days. Many take this extra breath of leisure as a chance to catch up on their reading. For me, it’s an excuse to share with you some of my favorite horror titles in hopes that I can spread a little madness.
IT – Stephen King
Let’s start out with a classic that, for obvious reasons is on the top of my list. IT is the story of a group of kids -The Losers’ Club- in Derry, Maine who have discovered that an ancient evil is slaughtering children disguised as Pennywise the Clown. After defeating the monster as juveniles, the gang grows up and goes their separate ways only to be called together once more some 27 years later when Pennywise returns. Fans of the original mini-series starring Tim Curry as Pennywise are already salivating over the remake, the first installment of which hits theaters in September. It’s a thick read but it’s worth it to know the whole horrifying story before you see the movie.
I Am Legend – Richard Matheson
I Am Legend is one of the most important stories written in the horror genre in the last hundred years. A story about the last man on earth, Robert Neville, who is struggling to survive and seeking meaning in a world overrun by the living dead. In Neville’s case, the creatures are vampiric, feasting on blood and reacting to some of the physical and psychological traits of mythological vampires. The novelette was inspiration for George A. Romero when he wrote and released Night of the Living Dead almost 15 years later. Usually, it will be included as the headliner for a collection of Matheson’s work.
I Hate Fairyland (Volumes 1 & 2)
Skottie Young’s ongoing comic series about green haired Gert, the little girl who haplessly gets sucked into the fairytale universe of Fairyland is as hilarious as it is gruesome. Trapped for nearly 30 years in the body of an 8-year-old girl, Gert has been on a seemingly endless quest to find her way home. Unfortunately for her, and the inhabitants of Fairyland, this is no simple task and our foul mouthed heroine has run out of patience. The artwork in this series is phenomenal and it has to be one of the most original and entertaining stories I’ve read in a long time.
Noirlathotep – PDI Press
I am just self marketing the hell out of this. My story, Let Sleeping Gods Lie is the opener for this anthology of cosmic horror/classic noir stories and I can’t wait to sit down and read the other entries by Dan Johnson, Paul Brian McCoy, Alex Wolfe, John Meredith, Rick Shingler, and R. Mike Burr. I’ve been writing with these folks for a little over a year now and I can tell you from the bits and pieces I’ve read so far, this is going to be like nothing you’ve ever read. Sleuths and shoggoths and dames from hell…don’t miss out.
Songs of a Dead Dream – Thomas Ligotti
I prefer anthology collections as opposed to novels. I always have. Something about having a volume of short stories, a handful of different worlds and characters and creatures right there at the tips of my fingers has always excited me as a reader. Thomas Ligotti has a beautiful, artistic way of telling a horror story. It’s poetic, enchanting, and absolutely terrifying and this collection (which also includes Grimscribe) is some of his finest.
I could go on and on with books to fill your summer with wonder, amazement, and more than a little dread. Cabal and The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker are phenomenal stories that gave birth to the 80’s horror classics Nightbreed and Hellraiser with a combination of eroticism and gore woven into deeply character driven tales. Almost anything by Richard Matheson, Thomas Ligotti, Ray Bradbury, or Stephen King is worth a read. Everything above can be found with a quick Amazon search so hit the digital bookstore now for your favorite medium and enjoy.