Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Some of my favorite short horror stories

It's October. Time to talk horror. I'll focus on horror-related posts until Halloween comes and goes.

I haven't read much H.P. Lovecraft since I was a teenager, but he's the natural progression from Edgar Allan Poe. Lovecraft's influence on pop culture is undeniable. Direct movie adaptations include The Re-Animator, The Dunwich Horror, In the Mouth of Madness, and about thirty others. It seems every other board game these days is either about Cthulhu or has a Cthulhu expansion. You can find a complete list of his writings at The H.P. Lovecraft Archive.


A review posted on Dreadit reminded me of Robert "Psycho" Bloch's Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper. Bloch's fascination with Jack the Ripper continues in A Toy for Juliette, which was a story in Dangerous Visions. Oddly, Harlan Ellison wrote a sequel to Juliette called The Prowler in the City at the edge of the World, which is nothing if not insane and graphic. It's also included in Dangerous Visions, which is still the greatest anthology ever published if you ask me.

Speaking of Ellison, I doubt anyone reading this blog hasn't already read I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, but why not read it again? I can think of few scarier stories.

A story I couldn't live without is Who Goes There? by science fiction legend John W. Campbell Jr., which served as the basis for The Thing from Another World and John Carpenter's The Thing.

Among my favorite horror anthologies is probably Clive Barker's The Books of Blood. I just couldn't believe what I was reading when I got to In the Hills, the Cities. That anybody would come up with that, then have the balls to publish it with a straight face, made me feel inadequate as a writer. That one in particular has stuck with me.

From Richard Matheson, who wrote I am Legend and Hell House, Prey is another short story I read a million years ago which has somehow stuck to my usually nonstick brain. Chucky has nothing on this fucked-up little doll.

That's all for now. I'll try to post some more recommendations next week.

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