The Most Frightening Fiction
The Guardian blog has a piece on The Most Frightening Fiction today, which is right up my alley. I absolutely adore a good horror book or movie, and persist in seeking out all things zombie-related, despite having semi-regular, truly terrifying zombie nightmares.
The only book the blog mentions that I’ve read is the Shirley Jackson book, The Haunting of Hill House, which I did find pretty unsettling. It didn’t keep me awake or anything, but it definitely did the trick of disorienting and disturbing me. Shirley Jackson is great for that. I remember reading her short story The Lottery in high school and being completely chilled by it. I still think, with its creativity, tension, and ability to create such a visceral response in the reader, that it is among the finest short stories I’ve ever read.
Another short story that gave me the creeps in a very vivid way was called Uneasy Homecoming and was written by Will F. Jenkins. That one, about a woman named Connie who returns home alone and soon realizes she is not, in fact, alone in the house – had me biting back a scream by the end of it.
More recently, some of the books that have kept me up at night have been Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (I know I mention this book all the time, but it really did a number on me) and Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection by Don Roff. That one is written as the found journal of a Seattle scientist who documented the outbreak and progression of a zombie plague. The art, while often graphically gory, is incredibly well done, and the journal is personal and well-written enough that it really got to me. Nightmares abounded.
I do it to myself.