Halloween is creeping closer and to get you in the mood for fright night, here's our pick of scary storytellers. Grab a mug of pumpkin spiced latte, curl up by the fire and prepare to be spooked...
By Erin Fox and Emilee Jennings
Some of the most terrifying horror films have been adapted from the following writers’ stories but don’t worry about spoilers.
A good scary storyteller is one whose words chill you to the bone – even if you’ve seen the film adaptation first.
Once you get stuck into their spine-tingling tales, you will be gripping the pages of the book until your knuckles turn white. Read on. Wooahaahaahaa!
Before you laugh and exclaim: “But he’s not scary at all!” imagine what it was like at the age of eight to read The Dummy under your duvet, long after you were supposed to turn the light off. Now imagine what it was like to own a ventriloquist dummy after reading that… R.L. Stine brought the monsters from every child’s nightmare to life with Goosebumps and he’s definitely one to read at twilight before moving onto the scarier stuff.
Edgar Allen Poe
While modern horror stories rely on zombies and vampires, Edgar Allen Poe used the basics to shock the mind. Most famous for his poem The Raven, Poe had the ability to create suspense and capture our deepest emotions; dread, fear, loneliness and utter desperation. Musical, mysterious, even maddening, Poe spins the tale of a grieving lover who is visited by a talking Raven on a cold winter’s night. We follow the narrator’s descent into despair as the Raven sits forever above his chamber door, tormenting him with its call.
A ghost-writing contest on a stormy night in 1816 was the inspiration behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Often called the first true work of science fiction, Frankenstein is considered by Stephen King and other modern-day writers as one of their greatest influences. A complicated story, which touches on the ability to create and destroy life, Frankenstein is a disturbing and frightening read on many levels that can still be applied to life today.
Some very important lessons can be learned from reading Stephen King. If your paper boat is swept away down a storm drain; let it go. Head home and make a new one. If you’ve got writer’s block, don’t stay in a big empty hotel on your own during the winter; company is your best friend. No matter how delicious it smells and looks; do not eat the strawberry pie. Be wary of driving in snow storms; if you get into car trouble a keen admirer may come to your rescue…
We revel in the opportunity to mention Bram Stoker, an Irish writer with a Sligo connection. His Sligo-born mother Charlotte Thornley was 14-years old when the town was struck by a severe cholera epidemic. Tales of this terrifying time inspired Stoker to write Dracula, which comes from the Irish word ‘droch ola’, meaning bad blood. These real-life stories of the walking dead helped Stoker weave one of the greatest horror stories of all time and in the process, influence countless other horror writers, both modern and classical.
Daphne du Maurier
Du Maurier’s gift as a storyteller and her use of gothic imagery pulls you away from your world, and through the pages into the world of the protagonist. You tremble with the second Mrs de Winter at the formidable memory of Rebecca while you explore Manderly. And your heart races as you run through the dark streets of Venice with John as he searches for the ghost of his daughter in Don’t Look Now. After reading the latter you’ll never look at a red coat with a pixie hood the same way again.