Scariest Books and Movies?

So, what were the most frightening books you ever read? I’ve read quite a bit of horror, and very little of it is truly chilling. How about Horror movies? Any that really scared you?

For books, Steven King’s “The Shining” was pretty good. The scene in the Topiary was maybe the one that scared me the most.

For movies, the original version of “The Haunting” was pretty scary, as were “The Omen” and “The Exorcist”

Don’t read books, but for movies, I reeckon Clownhouse wins, and 2nd must be An English Tale!

Salems Lot- Stephen king…I could actually hear the * tap tap tap* on my window at night…kept me awake for weeks.
oh, and The Amityville Horror…creepy, I kept waking up at exactly 3:14, laying on my stomach!!
and Jaws was a good read.
I read all these in my early teens, I was a voracious reader, I dont read alot of scary stuff now.Stephen King short stories…romantic suspense thats about all.

I don’t read very much horror. My fragile psyche can’t handle it. I read The Shining, though I had to take a 2 week break in the middle of it so I could start getting some sleep. Curiously enough, I didn’t find the big climactic ending nearly as scary as the eerier stuff in the middle of the book.

Damn your eyes for mentioning THE HAUNTING…now I look unoriginal for citing, first off, Shirley Jackson’s THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (1959), the book on which the films were based.

CONJURE WIFE by Fritz Leiber (1943). Guess what; witchcraft is real, and ALL women use it. Including your spouse. Don’t mess with those fetiches you find around the house, you could get the whole family in REAL trouble.

THE SOUND OF HIS HORN by Sarban (1952). Guess what…it’s 2045, the Nazis won the Second World War, and you’ve just awakened from a 100-year coma. Gee, things are different…of course, you’re only seeing a small part of the world, a massive hunting lodge and grounds staffed with untermenschen avaiable to be hunted down by party leaders. Steals a bit from “The Most Dangerous Game,” but what atmosphere!

JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN by Dalton Trumbo (1939). Blind, deaf, no arms or legs. Yike.

THE KING IN YELLOW by Robert W. Chambers (1895). Five interconnected stories, the most nightmarish of which is “The Yellow Sign.” Big influence on most 20th century weird fiction, due to its introduction of the concept of a mysterious, terrifying book that screws with peoples’ heads. See Lovecraft’s NECRONOMICON.

THE CONFIDENCE-MAN; HIS MASQUERADE by Herman Melville (1857). Deception, lies, obscure jests…the unsettleing laughter of the cosmos, and the joke’s on you, sport.

HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad (1902). Have fun at the Inner Station.

And of course, any good collection by M.R. James and H.P. Lovecraft. Sure, you read 'em as an adolescent, but try them again…you had pretty darn good taste for a little shaver. Especially “Count Magnus” and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.”


Stephen King’s “IT”. Too bad the mini series sucked.

For movies, I’d have to say the Shining. That scene where the camera is following the little kid on the big wheel and then he sees the twins still scares me.

As you can tell I’m a huge Stephen King fan.

I’d have to say the scariest story I ever read was E.A.Poe’s “The Premature Burial”. I read it at the age of 7-that one gave me bad dreams for a year.
Has anyone seen a really terrifying, low budget movie called the “Frozen Dead”?-it was about a Nazi doctor who revived the german troops who froze to death in Stalingrad (I don’t know how he paid the electric bill to keep all of those corpses in the deap freeze all those years!).
Anyway, is this movie available on videotape? I’d like to see it again.

A very scary true-crime book is Severed, the story of the Black Dahlia killing. Yikes–I couldn’t go into the bathroom with the lights out for MONTHS.

A very scary movie is The Vanishing, a 15-year-old (or so) Swedish film about a couple kidnapped by a psycho. The last five minutes will scare the living bejeebers out of you.

For movies, I’d have to say REPLUSION (1965) and THE TENANT (1976), two variations on the theme of mental deterioration (something near and dear to all our hearts) by Roman Polanski.

Carl Dreyer’s VAMPYR (1932) may be the most GHOSTLY film made in the post-sound era.

SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950) never fails to give me the creeps. And never fails to elicit envy for William Holden (Gloria Swanson at fifty, OH yeah, WAY over the hill).


The Shining and It are my tops for horror genre books. The topiary at Longwood Gardens, Pa. now cause me to be wary. Pennywise has destroyed any pleasure I may have ever gotten from a clown. I still hold the mental picture of razor teeth, ripping Georgie to pieces in the sewers of Derry. ::Brrrr::
As for movies, it is maybe not true horror but for the truly disturbing, my nominee would have to be Freaks. The scene where they are dragging themselves through the rain and mud… EEEeeyaaa!!

If you have children do NOT read King’s Pet Sematary. If you fail to heed this be prepared to be scared.

P.S. Whether you have children or not, don’t see the movie. It’s just plain bad.

The book The Hot Zone was pretty scary since it is true. When you read about people in the throes of ebola, you kind of wish you hadn’t.

Scariest Book: The Shining, it’s the only book that ever scared me.

Scariest Movie: Nightmare on Elm St (the original, the sequals sucked as do most slasher movies.)

Scariest book/movie is the original Psycho. In the book Norman had 3 different personalities: Norma(mother), Norm(little boy) and Norman(adult).

I have to vote for Helter Skelter… still gives me the willies all these years later.

Where can I find a copy of The King in Yellow? I’ve been looking for years. Would also like to find Seabury Quin’s only novel, but I can’t even find the name… just know there is one.

The reason gentlemen prefer blondes is that there are not enough redheads to go around.

I saw the flop movie * The Thing * (at a premiere in Hollywood, hosted by Elvira herself); really gory and gross.
As for older movies, my choices are * The Fall of the House of Usher * (Skeletons in coffins, and a horrifying dream sequence with dismembered bodies), and * Psycho–* especially when Vera Miles goes into the basement and sees Mother Bates’ dressed-up skeleton in a chair!
In the early 60s there was a foreign movie, * Mill of the Stone Women, *, pretty much a knockoff of * House of Wax, * which gave me nightmares for a week!

The scariest thing I can think of …is that no statesman is ever regarded as insane by his countrymen, except retrospectively.

I would say “gripping” more than scary, but I was put on edge by In Cold Blood.

  • It * by Stephen King. I have a complex about clowns since I was a kid. It’s a mixture of fear and revulsion over distorted features and faces. Simply, I hate clowns. Psych majors can have fun with me on this subject. When * It * came out, it was all my fears in one concept- evil, killer clowns. My parents saved a lot of money on me with circuses. They quit after a few, when they saw how freaked I got over the stupid clowns.

“…send lawyers, guns, and money…”

 Warren Zevon

Ooooh, sassy, yes! I read Helter helter when I was babysitting overnight! I read it in bed before i went to sleep. Bad idea. I jumped at every little noise and i had a hellava time checking on the kids when it was time to.
And I agree on It. Normally i read non-fiction, but I did read that. Brrrr!

Sometimes life is so great you just gotta muss up your hair and quack like a duck!