So what sends chills up your spine?

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by fluffy bunny, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. fluffy bunny

    fluffy bunny Tasty or your money back! Staff Member

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    There are so many types of horror novels out there. I was wondering what is it people look for in a horror novel? Also what types of book manages to scare/shock/creep out the readers on this board? Obviously different writers manage to bring out different aspects of fear, but is there a particular type of novel that stands out as one of your favourite?

    For example, is it the undead monsters lurking around the corner? Is it the fear of the unknown? The madness of the Lovecraft type? Haunted houses and ghosts? Serial killers?
     
  2. Clarkesworld

    Clarkesworld Publisher & Editor

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    There things that scare me the most are so inhuman and smart that you can't predict what will come next. I like surprises. A good ghost story is always fun as well.

    On the flip side, clowns and gore just leave me yawning.

    -Neil
     
  3. juzzza

    juzzza Loveable Rogue

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    I really like 'Creature Features' in the horror genre. Things like The Relic, or Stephen Laws Daemonic. Clive Barker is good, and you can't beat a good ghost/vampire/werewolf story.

    The last horror book that I read was Demons by John Shirley. Very enjoyable.
     
  4. Kaz

    Kaz AlphaTroll

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    If it has everyday life gone seriously wrong / evil elements in it I'm suckered. I find that I can deal with creatures, demons and vampires far easier than I can with the friednly old man who is in fact an evil soul stealer.


    ***minor spoilers.....hardly worth being called spoilers, but just in case***

    Stephen King is of the master at giving me the heeby jeebies with his tales of 'normal' people or things we take for granted as being 'safe' being totally the opposite! IT will always scare me - I've had a fear of clowns since I was small and after reading IT and watching the movies I'll NEVER take my children to a circus. He did the same with Needful Things, though not one of his best I got chills thinking how the store owner was able to corrupt people, simply by giving them that one thing they'd always wanted (albeit secretly).

    I guess I get scared easier if an author taps into an existing fear of mine........so if there are clowns and spiders in it, doing evil, I'd probably be scared witless of turning the page, yet eager to see what happens next.
     
  5. AuntiePam

    AuntiePam Cranky old broad

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    I'm with you -- take something everyday and tweak it, very effective.

    What I don't like is splatterpunk horror, where gore is more important than the characters.

    It's hard to give me a chill, but I got one recently in a fantasy, The Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Flewelling. There was a scene where a ghost simply turned and looked at someone with an angry look, I had to go get a blanket I was so cold. Great book.

    I like a chase too -- what Robert McCammon did in Stinger worked well for me.
     
  6. Olivaw

    Olivaw Humaniform Robot

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    I go for the 'gross-out' (as Stephen King would put it,) sick, twisted and squishy, that's how I like my horror.

    A good ghost story, or science gone bad story is welcome too.
     
  7. AuntiePam

    AuntiePam Cranky old broad

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    Olivaw, the last really good gross-out I read was Book of the Dead, the zombie stories by Skipp and Spector. I don't know if it's in print or not, but it's worth a look.

    Dead in the West is good too -- it's a zombie western by Joe Lansdale.

    Usually I like gross-outs in small doses, they seem more effective that way.

    Have you read Bighead by Edward Lee? That's an all-out gross-out.
     
  8. Olivaw

    Olivaw Humaniform Robot

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    You know, I really haven't read all that many different horror authors. I've stayed in the mainstream I guess. I will keep an eye out for your recommendations however. I've been meaning to pick up a few new authors.

    :D Dead in the West sounds awesome. A zombie western, now that's something I've never read.
     
  9. AuntiePam

    AuntiePam Cranky old broad

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    Well, I wouldn't recommend The Bighead unless you're really into grossness. Someone gave it to me, it wasn't something I would have bought on my own. I managed to finish it, but it was like driving by a bad car wreck. You want to look away but there's something that makes you turn your head and look for icky bits.

    On the other hand, Dead in the West is a very funny sendup of westerns and zombie movies, and it was a heck of a lot of fun. Joe Lansdale is definitely a writer to check out. The problem is that he has cult status, and much of his horror/fantasy stuff is pricey.

    You said you liked ghost stories too. You might like Shirley Jackson then -- The Haunting of Hill House is a classic haunted house story. Ghost Story by Peter Straub is on a lot of people's Ten Best Horror lists.

    If you're serious about getting into horror, there are a couple of neat reference books -- Horror: The 100 Best Books, and My Favorite Horror Story. They're in print and in paperback.

    If you haven't already, try Stephen King's Danse Macabre -- he talks about horror and about his favorites, and there's a reading list. I think there's a reading list in On Writing too.
     
  10. skinsfan

    skinsfan New Member

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    What do you find scary?

    What do you truly find to be scary? Is it invading aliens? Scarecrows come to life or masked killers like Jason and Freddie? What brings the hair up on your neck?


    Sorry! Still new here and should of checked the forum a little closer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2004
  11. AuntiePam

    AuntiePam Cranky old broad

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    That's okay, skinsfan. :)

    Now's your chance to answer your own question? What scares you?
     
  12. Evil Agent

    Evil Agent Saturn Comes Back Around

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    For me, anything with little kids... evil kids... ghosts of kids... little dead girls walking around... kids with no eyes... etc. etc.:eek:
     
  13. Iskaral Pust

    Iskaral Pust Registered User

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    Like some other people have mentioned it's the everyday situations that a master can make truely terrifying. Peter Straub is one of the best at this in my opinion. One short story that really chilled me was Details by China Mieville, itwas just so fantastically written and the very idea behind it was so plausible.
     
  14. skinsfan

    skinsfan New Member

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    I guess what scares me is not knowing. Meaning, when i come home from work late at night, find the T.V. on and no one home. No kids, no wife, and no note to indicate that theyr'e safe. Then you sit up for what seems like hours pacing and watching by the window. Each passing car encourages your thoughts into thinking something bad has happened. Then you start calling around and no one knows anything. Sure they try to assure you everything is ok, but until you know for sure it eats at you. What do you do if their gone? How will you survive without them? Just when you think that you will blow your stack, they show up. You don't care where they were at that point, only that their safe. That's what scares me.
     
  15. fluffy bunny

    fluffy bunny Tasty or your money back! Staff Member

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    I guess I avoided answering the question all those yrs ago

    I guess a good writer can make anything scary.

    Genrewise, I guess the subject matter isn't quite so important to me. Some authors write a lot of pulp, some of which is played for laughs rather than being intended to be scary. Some authors can really rack up the tension and hold you to the edge of your seat, so the slightest revelation can be memorable. For me I guess King's the Shining, Harris' Red Dragon and Ellroy's Black Dahlia had me gripped, even if a lot of it is under 'crime' rather than 'horror.'

    On the other hand, supernatural horror can be just as chilling if written properly - the process of the otherworldly beings escaping into our reality in Barker's Imajica (even if it ultimately is too long), stuff beyond our comprehension in Lovecraft's Cthulhu stories, ghouls devouring the dead in McNaughton's short stories. Heck Theodore Sturgeon managed to make me afraid of spiders for 12hrs or so after one of his short stories.
     
  16. Skywarp

    Skywarp New Member

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    I like religious and spiritual horror like ghosts, demons, abstract entities but not vampires or zombies.

    On that note anyone got any suggestions for me?. I picked up one of Lovecraft's compilations awhile ago but found the old English writing style with painfully excessive detail a snooze fest and stopped after the Cthutlu story.
     
  17. Mara-Marie

    Mara-Marie Too many thoughts!!!!

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    what i think is really creepy is when the villan has there victem or is in the process of ensnareing them and they say things in a creepy evil or all knowing voice and they say certain things in such a way that it makes you feel like they not only know everything about there victem but they know everything about you as well even though your just the reader. I think it's creepy when they really "know" you.
     
  18. NO-F.X.

    NO-F.X. Definitive Article

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    I have always found cosmic horror very frightening. The thought that ancient horrors exist outside the realm of our understanding, influencing the universe in dark and twisted ways so they may prey upon our world and minds has always freaked me out. Lovecraftian type stuff. Scary shit.
     
  19. Ariana

    Ariana Sci-Fi/Fantasy Artist

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    I don't know if I "enjoy" this, but a story where something foreign and alien and so perverse yet somehow human-ish, devours you! Not like vampires or Were folk, but something other, something that is not of this reality or plane of existance... something that freezes you in your tracks and you can't run or scream or move an inch. Very like Lovecraft's descriptions of the "Old Ones".

    Hugs:p
    Ariana
     
  20. fantasmic

    fantasmic my gangsta minions

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    what really gets me is the serial killer stuff, things that can really happen like the movie vacancy, it could actually happen.:eek: