It’s less than two months on Christmas but before Santa drops down the chimney and we all eat far too much, we have Halloween to enjoy. Seeing as I’ve written some pretty creepy stories this year, I’m feeling more Halloweeny this time round so thought I’d share some of my favorite horror across multiple formats.
Here’s a little insight into what makes me jump with fright. A few books, games and movies that will creep you out, scare the socks off you and give you that feeling that somebody is always lurking over your shoulder.
Alright, maybe not that that scary but you’ll hopefully enjoy.
Being a writer, the best way to scare yourself silly is with a good ole, written down horror story. If you read my blog regularly you’ll know how much I love the Granddaddy of horror himself ‘Stephen King’.
I first picked up a King book my local library in Dublin when I was 12. Pet Sematery was the book and it scared the hell out of me. I remember it being creepy and frightening to read but compelling all the same. At 12 there were many concept in the book I didn’t get but I really wanted to read a King novel. Something to tell my friends. I could be the grown up kid. I’ve recently pulled out Pet Sematary again and plan to read it as Jay and Richard from the Horror Writers podcast will be discussing the book in a few weeks on a show special.
Another book of King’s that I remember reading was ‘IT’. Now, I’d seen the pretty awful TV adaption years before I read the book but it didn’t ruin the intensity of one of King’s all time greats. The story involving best friends taking on a creature as vile as… well as ‘IT’ was a great read. One to terrify you in the middle of the night.
Not exactly horror but Val McDermid writes some pretty gruesome books. In particular I loved reading the ‘Dr Tony Hill’ novels. The TV series ‘Wire in the Blood’ staring Robson Green was based on these novels. They were great dark thrillers about a clinical psychologist (Dr. Hill) who helps Detective Inspector Carole Jordon track down and bring the killers to justice. Not only are these really good stories but the characters are vibrant and believable. The TV show was really good as well. I’d recommend checking out both.
OK, for the gamers out there. It all starts with Resident Evil on the first iteration of the Playstation. This game changed how I experienced horror forever. I couldn’t believe that, not only could I watch something horrific play out on screen but I could participate in it too. Taking control of Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine was such a terrifying experience as a kid. Zombie and monster killing galore. I was so obsessed with this game that I read all of the novels too.
Next came the first Silent Hill series. This was a different take on the, then new ‘Survival Horror’ genre. You weren’t a kick ass, gun totting hero in the town of Silent Hill but a normal guy looking for his daughter. The games atmosphere was truly terrifying whether you were running through fog laden streets of hellish industrial looking fair grounds. I’ve played this game again as an adult and loved it as much as when I was a kid, still jumping from my seat.
The last game that I loved for it’s fear inducing ability was the first Dead Space game. A few years old now but still better than the majority of horror titles released today. The feeling of isolation and terror was palpable as you battled the dead reanimated and mutated. The fact that it was all set on a space station was even more awesome. It threw into the mix the terror of the first Alien movie as well as a good old zombie kill-a-thon. Such wonderfully scarred memories.
Movies I’ve always felt could never feel as dark and visceral as a book or a video game. You were a spectator of the screen as opposed to being absorbed within the world of a book as you concentrated on every word and where it would lead. A horror game immersed you into it’s world as your character would die pretty quick without some care and thought going into the experience. I’m not bad mouthing movies but for me and true terror, it’s books and games all the way. That’s not to say I haven’t had some blood curdling experiences with the movie world.
When I went to see ‘The Blair Witch Project’ as a 13 year old kid I was truly freaked out. People nowadays see it as a joke and not scary at all but back then most homes didn’t have the internet, so verifying if it was all truth or fiction was harder. Some people actually believed it was all true. As a 13 year old kid, I thought the bizarre story of missing film makers to be true. I have watched it again and didn’t get that same foreboding as I did when I was a kid but I still enjoyed it.
Next would have to be any Japanese original of which Hollywood tried (terribly) to remake. The Ring (Ringu – it’s original title) and The Grudge (Ju-On – it’s original title) would be my top two to watch and scare yourself to tears. The Japanese versions are so superior to the Hollywood remakes, it’s like they are different movies altogether (actually think of them as different movies, it’s better for everyone that way). For whatever reason the original movies are far scarier and far more terrifying, even though I don’t know a word of Japanese. They have that something that causes fright and fear in the audience.
For something more lighthearted during the Halloween season, take a look at Bruce Campbell in ‘The Army of Darkness’. Awesome movie.
Well that’s my idea of terror in three formats, what’s yours?
And have a Great Halloween (o;