Friday, October 19, 2007

Hey! Who you callin' a Poe?

It's rainy. It's Friday. It's October. Let's talk about scary writers. Er, writers who write scary things. Um, ghosty-story writers.

First up - Edgar Allan, EA, the Ravenator. This guy was a real piece of work, but he sure could tell a good story. Got a favorite? It's a toss up for me between "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Mask of the Red Death." Still, "The Murders of the Rue Morgue," "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Pit and the Pendulum" are darn entertaining, as well.

How about Washington Irving? You gotta admit that the Headless Horseman in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" has a pretty high creep-factor. And while "Rip Van Winkle" doesn't appear on the surface to be a horror tale, just think about it. You settle down for a little nap and the next thing you know, 25 years have passed! Tell me that doesn't scare you out of your wits! I'll be visiting the Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow area next weekend. I'll report back. In 25 years.

Stephen King - Certainly the head-honcho of the scary-genre for the last 20 years or so. It's sometimes hard for me to remember how scared I was reading The Shining or Salem's Lot, because the movies sort of overshadow the written word. Redrum. Pig blood. Zombie pets. 'Fess up - which King book scared you the most? Which movie of a book scared you most? Also, King's sometime-sidekick Peter Straub can be pretty frightening all on his own. I loved Ghost Story, Mystery, and Shadowland. Good scary stuff.

Anne Rice - Well, she's found Jesus (which is fine by me), but she's become a little harangue-y about the whole thing. Still, that doesn't negate her spooky vampire chronicles or (to my mind the better) Mayfair witch series of books. Love the books, but disappointed she moved from New Orleans to Southern California. Sorry - though lots of scary things come out of Southern California, good spine-tingling writing does not. One has to live in Maine or New Orleans or out on the Yorkshire moors.

I notice that all these writers are American, but certainly good ghost-story writers come from all over. Who else? Dickens. Conan Doyle. Mary Shelley, certainly. Clive Barker. Who else sends that shiver up (down?) your spine when your hunkered down in the deep of the night with one of their books?


Anonymous said...

Thomas Tryon wrote some really scary books. "Harvest Home" remains to this day one of the creepiest books I have ever read.

MaryB said...

Ooh, yes! Thomas Tryon. Harvest Home was terrifying! Also, The Other - about the twins. Mwahhh-haaa!

jomoore said...

I think that the scariest book I've ever read would have to come to a scream-off between Silence of the Lambs and Stephen King's It.

Pennywise the clown? Darn it - now I have to sleep with the lights on tonight.

Having said that, I'm 100% wimp, so I do my best to avoid scariness if I can...

MaryB said...

Jo - Gosh, yeah! Pennywise the Clown! Aaargh! (Sorry to bring It to mind again.)

I must admit I never read Silence of the Lambs (only saw the film) because I knew it would stick with me in a way that I did not want.

Good 'uns!