Thursday, November 1, 2018

My favorite creepy stories, in book and movie form

Posted by: Angela Korra'ti
Technically it's the day after Halloween, but I don't care. Here's a Halloween-themed post anyway! Specifically, about my favorite examples of creepy storytelling. I like horror--but my horror preferences are weighted towards suspense-type horror and creepiness, rather than gore. Which has, over the years, informed what books and movies have become my favorites in the genre.

In no particular order, here are five of my favorite creepy books, and five of my favorite creepy movies!


1) Rolling in the Deep, by Mira Grant. Mira Grant, a.k.a. Seanan McGuire, is definitely one of my favorite authors. But I tend to prefer her Grant titles, in no small part because she's really good at creepiness. And it comes in a nicely condensed novella-length form in Rolling in the Deep. Complete with scary mermaids.

2) The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell, also by Mira Grant. I adore Grant's Newsflesh trilogy, but in some ways I find the novellas set in the same universe almost more satisfying. In particular, The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell is deeply nerve-wracking, in no small part because of it being a zombie story set in a school.

3) The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan. "Lyrical" is not a word I would normally think to apply to a zombie novel, but I sure did to this one. Like Grant's Newsflesh books, this story is less about the zombie apocalypse per se and more about the society that has evolved since, a trope I like a lot.

4) Four and Twenty Blackbirds, by Cherie Priest (and books 2 and 3 as well). Priest is another author who's great at creepy atmosphere. Her Eden Moore books, the ones by which I initially discovered her, had this in spades.

5) The Mist, by Stephen King. It is probably inevitable to have King on this list--though I've read only a small fraction of his titles! This one, though, stood out for me in being a tight little story with very spare, clean prose. (And I liked it way better than the movie version. If you want to engage with this story, I definitely recommend the book rather than the film.)


1) The Ring (American version). When this movie came out, my household found it deliciously creepy--in no small part because it was set in Seattle. Moreover, they got the rainy, cloudy atmosphere of a Seattle winter right, as well as the sorts of busses we use in our mass transit system. The best part? Coming out of the theater into the exact same rainy, cloudy atmosphere, which had us all going AAAAH WE'RE STILL IN THE MOVIE.

2) Paranormal Activity. This thing had me creeped out for weeks after, particularly the part about the possessed heroine lurking next to her sleeping husband and just STARING at him in the dark. (Which my wife TOTALLY pulled on me one night, since I go to bed earlier than she does. I wasn't quite asleep yet when I rolled over and found her lurking there and went AAAAAAAH!)

3) The Pit and the Pendulum. Let's go classic old school horror here, with one of the Edgar Allan Poe flicks starring Vincent Price. This was delicious. It's an excellent example of why, if you ever find yourself in a horror movie with Vincent Price, it is a sound survival strategy to avoid pissing him off.

4) The Shining. Again, probably inevitable to have Stephen King here. But the man's considered a master of horror for a reason, and this film is an excellent example of why.

5) Alien. Sci-fi horror is still horror! I've heard this movie described as a haunted house movie in space, which it is. And while I really rather like Aliens better, still, the original is a splendid example of that suspenseful creepiness I love. Plus it has Ripley, and Ripley is utterly badass.

So there you go! I hope all of you had a suitably creepy and/or candy-filled Halloween! What are your favorite scary reads or watches? Tell me about them in the comments!

Angela likes creepy stories and good chocolate, and a holiday that celebrates both of these things is splendid in her book. The one ghost story she's written so far, "The Blood of the Land", has no chocolate in it, alas. She promises to rectify this problem if she writes another creepy story! Still, c'mon over to, Facebook, or Twitter if you'd like to tell her more about your own favorite creepy tales. Or your favorite chocolate.

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