I was just working on dinner, when the Primus CD (placed there on a whim) in my changer changed MY day.
It was song #4 off Pork Soda, lyrics which mostly say:
Had a friend
Took a belt
Took a belt,
and hung himself
Hung himself from a doorway in the apartment where we live.
The song is ominous, as Primus can be, and by the end of it the lyrics are all mixed up. I guess I never listened closely …
Anyway it sent a chill up my spine, and started a thought process about the popular demand of horror in society, and my particular love of being creeped out, during times of stress.
I can remember reading a thread in this forum, something about “What was the scariest thing you’ve ever read?” Someone responded with an Algernon Blackwood story, “The Willows,” with a warning that it might seem tame to younger readers more familiar with Freddy and Jason.
“The Willows” keeps me up at night … and it’s one of my favorite short stories ever.
Two of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen are The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari and Nosferatu.
Anyway, to take my mind off of things, I’d really like to be creeped out.
So if anyone can suggest creepy books, short stories, movies (maybe) or songs (preferred) I’d greatly appreciate it!
Books: Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, about anything by Ramsey Campbell, M.R. James, and Michael Slade, the Cthulhu Mythos by H.P. Lovecraft, any good collection of Poe, Carmilla by J. Sheridan le Fanu (may seem tame by today’s standards, but it’s interesting to read), The Family: (with a subtitle like The Story of Charles Manson’s Dune Buggy Legion) – this is nonfiction, but I think it is the scariest book I’ve ever read, Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, Silence of the Lambs & Hannibal by Thomas Harris.
Short Stories: “The Rats in the Walls” by Lovecraft, " “The Kings of the Sea” by Sterling Lanier, “William Wilson” & “The Black Cat” by Poe
Comic Books: Swamp Thing issues 22-87 (the issues written by Alan Moore and Rick Veitch), Sandman #6
Movies: The Haunting, Def by Temptation, Creepshow, Silence of the Lambs
I’ve always loved “Carmilla.”
Am avidly searching for The Family
I’m somewhat of a Lovecraft fan. Also Poe, and I have some anthologies, but have never heard of “William Wilson,” nor am I familiar with Sterling Lanier…
Thanks for the suggestions!
If anyone reading this is interested, the creepiest short story I’ve ever read is called “Sticks.” Don’t recall the author, or where I discovered it. It’s circa WWI and contains foreshadowing of Blair Witch, but is so much better. Same premise of an ancient New English evil, stumbled upon by the author, with strange figures in trees, etc. with nasty results to members of literary society. The narrative and layout of the story is much like “Cthulu.”
Plexuss: Sterling Lanier wrote, during the '60’s and '70’s, a series of short stories and novellettes, about Brigadier ffellowes, a tough but urbane Brit who had served in some unspecified branch of his country’s Armed Forces. The Brigadier ran into supernatural/science fictional menaces all over the world. The stories originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and I believe they have been reprinted in a couple of collections. “Kings of the Sea” appeared in the Dann/Dozier anthology “Sea Serpents.” The Brigadier stories I’ve read are generally pretty good.
“William Wilson” is not Poe’s best-known story, but a large collection should have it. I think it is one of his best.
Here is another reccomendation for Lovecraft. I recconmend “At the Mountains of Madness”, “The Shadow over Innsmouth”, and, of course, “The Call of Cthulhu”. Also, mods, I know of a site which as most of Lovecraft’s works online, but don’t know if I should link to it. I don’t think it violates copyright, but I want to be safe.
…Followed by this cartoon from the semi-official “Jack the Ripper” page.
And this website (Double, triple, quadruple, and quintuple WARNING) goes into the details of the Black Dahlia murder. Nightmare fodder galore, I assure you.
For MUSICAL horror, I suggest the Threnody For The Victims Of Hiroshima recording that I found, complete with several other frightening pieces by the same composer. “Canticum Canticorum Salomonis,” for instance, sounds like it’s being sung by wailing ghosts.
…And if you’re looking for more “existential” creepy, look in the Calvin & Hobbes book, “There’s Treasure Everywhere,” page 63, at the snowman that Calvin created. Welcome to My World.
There’s a song called “Untidy Suicides” by the band Alice Donut that is very creepy. It’s about a man being unnecessarily questioned about his girlfriend’s suicide while her body is still hanging in the room. It ends with the singer screaming over and over “I don’t know, I don’t know, just cut her down please.”
The site I suppose you’re referring to, DreadCthulhu, has a notice that claims that all of Lovecraft’s story are in the public domain. Though it all sounds legit, I’m not completely convinced, so I’m not going to post the link either. It should be easy to find.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the writer of Sherlock Holmes) has also written a couple of short stories that were more or less spine-chilling to me. See for example his Supernatural tales (there are more, all with ‘tales’ in the title).