Horror has become its own genre with its own masters (such as Stephen King). However, we can’t forget the classics that brought this genre to life written by masters who are the giants on whose shoulder’s the modern ones stand. In fact, it could be argued (by me right now), that no modern horror book comes even close to some of their classic brethren.
Horror Novels for the Classically-Minded Reader:
If you want to heighten your mind while still getting in some horror this Halloween holiday, check out these great classics. I recommend all of them.
- The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. The Scarlet Pimpernel is the original vigilante, so if super heroes and dressing up are your thing(s), than this is your guy (and your book). Personally, I love the book. It’s one of my favorite classes. The hero is so complex and layered and the heroine is so complicated. It’s beautiful.
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. Ghosts. Lost love. Madness. Good stuff.
- Dracula by Bram Stoker. This was the book of the original vampire, before they were sexy. This means they were scary, brutal, and everything that Halloween is about.
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Speaking of monsters, you can’t forget Frankenstein’s monster, a tortured monstrosity who just wants love and acceptance.
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. In the case of this book, the monster is within each of us.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. This is another case of the monster being within. Plus, the idea of a portrait turning
hideous and ugly to reflect the inner beauty of a man is just deliciously creepy.
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. You can’t get anymore Halloween than The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Flaming pumpkin heads, anyone?
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare. The play starts out with
witches and continues on with murder and death.
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Instead of witches, there are ghosts, but ditto on the murder and death.
- The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (“The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” etc.). Before Stephen King, there was Poe, and he is an
undisputed master of the gothic horror
genre. His works will certainly get you into the Halloween spirit.
- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. This classic about evil and the walking dead is truly horrifying.
- The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. This book is scary in a stalker, the-caller’s-in-the-house sort of way.
- The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle. Supposedly there’s a demon dog set to drag people down to hell. Can Sherlock Holmes prove differently?
- Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. This is Halloween in a darker light. A man makes a deal with the devil. Dark, yet illuminating.
- Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Wilhelm Grimm and Jacob Grim. Have you read these “fairy” tales? They’re dark. Cinderella was certainly lightened up in the Disney movie versions.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. There might not be any supernatural beings in this book, but there’s suspense and an unknown entity “haunting” Jane.
I’ve read all but two of these, so I can vouch for their awesomeness. Spooky reading!