With Halloween coming up in just a few days, it’s the perfect time for a list of books and movies to get you in the (spooky, possibly evil) spirit! To be honest, I’m a big chicken when it comes to horror, so my list isn’t actually that scary…I tend more toward the creepy/gothic/atmospheric at this time of year. So here’s a list of some books (and movies!) that seem Halloween-ish to me:
1. Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale — If you want gorgeous prose and a deliciously creepy atmosphere, look no further! I read this book several years ago and totally fell in love.
2. Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere — Neil Gaiman makes my skin crawl, which sounds like an insult but definitely is NOT! I’m slowly making my way through his oeuvre, but Neverwhere is still my favorite.
3. Edgar Allan Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart” — A classic story of madness and murder. I also (still, genuinely) get creeped out by “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Cask of Amontillado.”
4. Robin McKinley, Sunshine — A vampire book for people who don’t like vampire books (a.k.a., me!).
5. Maggie Stiefvater, The Scorpio Races — This one is actually very seasonally appropriate, because the races themselves occur on November 1 every year. Also, there are horses that eat people. But also romance and beautiful language and a setting so real I could practically taste the salty winds of Thisby.
6. Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca — I am a little bit in awe of this book. The most vivid character is a dead woman, and while she’s not a literal ghost, she figuratively haunts the creepy mansion of Manderley, as well as the book’s narrator (who, by comparison, doesn’t even get a name!).
7. Roald Dahl, The Witches — Truth time: I haven’t actually read this book since I was a kid. BECAUSE IT FREAKED ME OUT SO MUCH.
8. “Laura,” starring Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews — This movie is a wonderful example of film noir, complete with a murder, a femme fatale, and a pretty great twist halfway through! Also, Vincent Price is in it (and playing totally against type)!
9. “Notorious,” starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman — No, it’s not the movie about the rapper. This is a classic Hitchcock film about fighting the Nazis, and it is creepy as hell. The last scene always gives me chills!
10. “The Corpse Bride,” starring (the voices of) Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter — OK, not even I am scared by this movie. :) But it’s a fun romp through Tim Burton’s weird (and frankly disturbing) imagination, and there’s some singing, and there ARE ghosts in it, so it totally counts!