The Master of Horror will see you now
There’s a reason why I only read non-fiction. Dark fantasy and fiction novels take me to a place in my head I can’t escape. For some, words paint a stronger, clearer image in the mind, making the blood-curdling monsters they see bigger, badder and well, scarier. I was convinced my last horror fiction read, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was haunted or evil, so I tossed it out and all the bad dreams that came with it stopped. Yet, I love anything that has to do with the genre, including Stephen King classics, be it a novel or film adaptation.
I figured, in the spirit of halloween (and you know, overcoming my fears) I’d try reading (and finishing) the works of the Master of Horror himself. Here, a beginner’s guide to Stephen King’s canon:
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Dreamcatcher is an alien invasion story written after King survived a brutal car accident, one that almost killed the author. An in-between-bad-and-great, the story doesn’t come highly recommended by critics and King fans, but is creepy and intriguing enough to cause fear.
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Stephen King’s body of work is varied, most especially in the horror genre. He’s been able to epitomize horror in the form of supernatural baddies, human experiences such as death, and in the case of Carrie, her teenaged tormentors. Carrie tells an almost relatable story of a high school girl bullied ruthlessly by her peers and is hellbent on revenge after she discovers her telekinetic powers. (It’s basically King’s version of adolescent hell.)
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Sometimes, horror isn’t about the supernatural. Sometimes, it’s about loss and grief. Pet Sematary asks the fundamental question: how far would you go to bring something—or someone—back? It doesn’t sound so terrifying until the titular spot in the book does just that; bring the dead to life except different.
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With the sequel to The Shining coming up in November, Doctor Sleep was just asking to be put on this list. The novel follows the story of a grown up, supernaturally gifted Danny Torrance and a very special 12-year-old girl he must save from bloodthirsty quasi-immortals. It’s a glorious war between good and evil that promises thrills and gore.
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Whether it’s the film adaptation or the piece of literature we’re talking about, The Shining is inarguably one of Stephen King’s best works. Twice-adapted and perhaps the most parodied, every page in the novel is terrifying, from Jack Torrance himself to The Overlook Hotel’s cursed hallways and the infamous twins. It really is the stuff of nightmares.
So, which King novel will you be reading tonight?
Art Alexandra Lara