My SO is looking for a good, straightforward ghost story that is truly scary. Something along the lines of The Haunting of Hill House. He just finished Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub, and came away unsatisfied.
Since I don’t really read that genre (I love, love, LOVE scary movies, but seldom read fiction of any kind), I can’t really help him in this regard.
But I have no doubt the all-knowing Dopers can come through. What do you recommend? No Stephen King, please; he’s been there/done that ad nauseum. And it has to be a ghost story.
While it’s not really a straight *ghost * story, House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski is the best horror novel I’ve read in probably 15 years. It scared the shit out of me, and was really, really engrossing.
Beat me to it, AuntiePam. I loved all those books, except The Other. I thought Harvest Home was much more fun.
Since you mentioned Peter Straub, who is much better than Stephen King, IMO, don’t forget Julia. It scared the living crap outta me. Straub’s Blue Rose mystery series (Koko, Mystery, The Throat) is great too, but it isn’t horror. I don’t know what to call it, it’s not really mystery either. Maybe Mystery/Thriller/Page-turner/Fiction.
I just finished the worst haunted house book I’ve ever read: The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins. I loved The Woman in White but The Haunted Hotel was a clunky yawner with a denouement so absurd it was unintentionally funny. Maybe I was thoroughly whooshed and it was supposed to be.
…nah, it bit.
*jsgoddess, Julia is not gross, but it’s certainly disturbing. Koko, Mystery and The Throat all had some pretty graphic violence. Harvest Home had some squishy parts too, IIRC.
I rarely read full-length ghost stories, but love short stories and can highly recommend both The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories and The Oxford Book of Twentieth Century Ghost Stories. There are a few others in this series (Victorian, Canadian, Australian) so these are a good bet.
I’ve also been meaning to read The Dark, which is edited by Ellen Datlow. It’s gotten good reviews on Amazon and I’m a big fan of her SF/fantasy anthologies.
Oooooh, yes. I read “Hell House” late at night in the early '70s, and I still remember the creepy feelings it gave me. The movie “Legend of Hell House” was a pale, disappointing thing, but the book is a thrill ride. Matheson sure knows his stuff.
I have that on my bookshelf and I tried to read it once, but the multi-page footnotes got to be too annoying. It’s good to know that you enjoyed it, though. Maybe I’ll give it another shot this weekend.
I third the recommendation of Richard Matheson’s Hell House.
I don’t recommend The Amityville Horror. I never thought it was very scary, although that might have to do with the whole thing being a hoax.
You know, The Haunting of Hill House always gets brought up in these discussions and although I love it and think it’s a great story, I’ve never found it scary in the least. What am I missing?
I dunno, but it definately scared the crap out of me! I could hardly breathe the first time I read the bit where they go down the path. I can’t even point to anything that’s particularly frightening about it when you look at it objectively, but it got under my skin in a big way.