Halloween and Horror Literature

A large section of this site is dedicated to Halloween music, and several other pages discuss movies, so I also wanted to look at Halloween/horror in print form.  Many of these titles are available for free (electronically) via Project Gutenberg, and links are provided.  Some text adapted from Wikipedia.

Classic novels

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1823) - By Mary Shelley.  Regarded as the first science fiction novel, it had spawned numerous adaptations (plays, films) both before and after the iconic 1931 film version starring Boris Karloff as well as a great many unofficial adaptations that use the premise as their inspriations.
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/84

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831) - By Victor Hugo. 
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2610

House of the Seven Gables (1851) - By Nathaniel Hawthorne. 
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/77

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) - By Robert Louis Stevenson. 
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/42

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) - By Oscar Wilde. 
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/174

Dracula (1897) - By Bram Stoker. 
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/345

Lair of the White Worm (1911) - By Bram Stoker. 
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1188

Le Fantôme de l'Opéra (The Phantom of the Opera) (1909-1911) - By Gaston Leroux. 
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/175

Time Machine (1895) - By H.G. Wells. 
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/35

The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896) - By H.G. Wells. 
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/159

The Invisible Man (1897) - By H.G. Wells. 
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5230

War of the Worlds (1898) - By H.G. Wells. 
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/36

First Men in the Moon (1901) - By H.G. Wells. 
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1013

Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth (1904) - By H.G. Wells. 
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/11696

A Vision of Hell (aka Dante's Inferno; 1308-1321) - By Dante Alighieri. 
Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/8789

Modern authors/novels

H.P. Lovecraft - He primarily authored short stories or serialized novellas in his lifetime, creating a convincing underlying mythology of other-worldly creatures and their interactions with human culture.  About the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_Lovecraft
Noteable works:
The Call of Cthulhu
The Shadow Out of Time
At the Mountains of Madness
The Dunwich Horror
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
Herbert West, Reanimator
The Rats in the Walls

Ray Bradbury - Probably the most adapted author on the planet.  Many of his short stories have been used as the basis of tv (and occasionally movie) scripts.  About the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Bradbury
Noteable works:
The Martian Chronicles
Fahrenheit 451
Something Wicked This Way Comes

Stephen King - Has written a tremendous number of horror novels, usually dealing with the supernatural, sometimes aliens, and sometimes purely psychological stories (e.g., Misery).  The majority of his work has been adapted for the screen (and some projects written for the screen specifically) and almost invariably is within the author's lifetime.  About the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_King
Noteable works:
Salem's Lot
The Shining
The Stand
The Dead Zone
The Dark Tower series
Pet Sematary
Needful Things

Clive Barker - Though he's usually labeled as strickly a horror author, his work is often as much urban fantasy as anything else.  He's best known for creating the Hellraiser series which has gone on to have a life of its own (not always to the best effects).  About the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clive_Barker
Noteable works:
The Damnation Game (1985)
The Hellbound Heart (1986)
Weaveworld (1987)
Cabal (1988)
The Great and Secret Show (1989)
Imajica (1991)
The Thief of Always (1992)
Sacrament (1996)
Galilee (1998)
Coldheart Canyon: A Hollywood Ghost Story (2001)

Anne Rice - Author of numerous volumes of gothic/horror stories with a supernatural basis.  She will likely always be most vamous for her Vampire Chronicles: Interview with a Vampire, etc., but she has also written volumes featuring a ressurected mummy and a family of witches.  About the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Rice
Noteable works:
Interview with the Vampire (1976)
The Vampire Lestat (1985)
The Queen of the Damned (1988)
The Witching Hour (1990)
The Mummy (1989)

Dean Koontz - One of the best-selling authors.  His stories aren't strictly horror, although that's what he works in, primarily.  About the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dean_Koontz
Noteable works:
Demon Seed (1973)
Phantoms (1983)
Watchers (1987)
Hideaway (1992)
Intensity (1996)

Robert McCammon - Not as widely-read as other authors on this page, but he has sold a respectable number of books over the years.  About the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_McCammon
Noteable works:
Swan Song (1987)
Stinger (1988)
The Wolf's Hour (1989)

Laurell K. Hamilton - Although she also writes the Merry Gentry series (which is more fantasy), she be most famous for the Anita Blake novels, a series about "a professional zombie raiser, vampire executioner and supernatural consultant for the police."  More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Blake

Charlaine Harris - The Southern Vampire Mysteries, also known as The Sookie Stackhouse Novels, is a series of books written by bestselling author Charlaine Harris that were first published in 2001 and now serve as the source material for the HBO television series True Blood. The series has been retronymed the True Blood Series upon reprinting to capitalize on the television adaptation. 
She also has another series entitled The Harper Connelly Mysteries.  The series is told by a young woman named Harper Connelly, who after being struck by lightning, is able to locate dead bodies and to see their last moments through the eyes of the deceased.  We may see a tv adaptation of this as well.  More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Southern_Vampire_Mysteries

Thomas Harris - Most famous for his character Hannibal Lecter who has appeared in all but his first novel (which was more of a thriller) and has increasingly become the focus of each subsequent work.  About the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Harris
Noteable works:
Red Dragon (1981)
The Silence of the Lambs (1988)
Hannibal (1999)
Hannibal Rising (2006)

Chuck Palahniuk - Unless a better, more-memorable film adaptation of one of his novels comes along, he's always going to be known at "that guy who wrote Fight Club." but he has experimented with a number of different writing styles and genres, including his so-called "horror trilogy" (listed below), which are actually unrelated novels but touch upon conventions and content of supernatural literature.  About the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Palahniuk
Noteable works:
Lullaby (2002)
Diary (2003)
Haunted (2005)
Damned (2011)
(Note: His book Invisible Monsters is good, but doesn't fall under the heading of horror literature, despite its title.)

Whitley Strieber - Best known as that guy who talked to the aliens, but he also authored (or co-authored) several horror novels, a couple of which have been adapted as films.  About the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitley_Strieber
The Wolfen (1978)
The Hunger (1981)
Communion (1987)

Misc. Novels:

Plenty other novels became best-sellers and caught the public's imagination.  Here are some that stand out:

Amityville - The jury is out on how much of this was fabricated right from the start versus embellished, but it is the most American "haunted house" story that comes to mind.  The mythology established by the first book led to a number of movie adaptations and sequels.  About the book: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amityville_Horror

Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin
Jaws by Peter Benchley
The Haunting of Hill House by S. Jackson

Short stories

The Vampyre (1819) - By John William Polidori short story or novella that was the first to synthesize many mythic elements into what we would recognize as the modern vampire.  Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/6087

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820) - By Washington Irving.  The original telling of the story of the Headless Horseman.  Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/41

The Monkey's Paw (1902) - W. W. Jacobs.  You probably read this one in junior high along with Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart" as an example of suspenseful writing.  Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/12122

Dracula's Guest (1914) - By Bram Stoker.  Sometimes considered a lost chapter of the more famous novel.  Debate continues about its relation to the original story.  Full text: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10150

Edgar Allan Poe - While he also invented the detective story, he's better known for horror writing, particularly the poem "The Raven" and several noteable stories.  About the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Allan_Poe
Noteable short works:
The Fall of the House of Usher (1839)
The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841)
The Masque of the Red Death (1842)
The Black Cat (1843)
The Tell-Tale Heart (1843)
The Cask of Amontillado (1846)
The Pit and the Pendulum (1843)

Stephen King - Has several collections of short stories including Night Shift (1978), Different Seasons (1982), Skeleton Crew (1985), Four Past Midnight (1990), and Nightmares & Dreamscapes (1993).  About the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_King

Clive Barker - Most of his short stories were collected as the "Books of Blood," although in the US, the later volumes acquired new names instead of the original numbering.  Originally there were six numbered volumes.  However, in the States, Volume 4 was released as "The Inhuman Condition," Volume 5 became "In the Flesh," and Volume 6 had the novella "Cabal" added to it in place of another story, and the entire volume was given the title of that story.  About the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clive_Barker


This is a separate category from Comic Magazines (which are covered below).

Famous Monsters of Filmland - The original monster magazine started by the legendary Forrest J Ackerman.
About the magazine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famous_Monsters_of_Filmland
Official site: http://www.famousmonstersoffilmland.com/

Fangoria - Probably the best-known horror movie magazine.
About the magazine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fangoria
Official site: http://www.fangoria.com/

Starlog - The sci-fi sister magazine of Fangoria.  The magazine had a thirty-three year run before discontinuing in 2009.  No longer online either, unfortunately.
About the magazine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlog_%28magazine%29

Cinefantastique - Another long-running sci-fi/horror movie mag.
About the magazine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinefantastique
Official site: http://cinefantastiqueonline.com/

Comic Books

Clive Barker - There have been a number of projects originating directly or indirectly from the author.  For example:
Short story adaptations - Tapping the Vein, Dread, Son of Celluloid, and quite a few others have been painted and published in premium formats.
Novel adaptations of Weaveworld and The Great and Secret Show.
Hellraiser - There was a regular anthology series, several specials, and even a solo mini-series for Pinhead plus a cross-over with the character Marshall Law.
Nightbreed - Regular series plus Jihad, a cross-over with Hellraiser.
Razorline - A collection of four inter-locking series created by Barker for Marvel, though written and pencilled by other artists.  More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razorline

Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein (1983) - One of the first graphic novels I saw in a bookstore where it wasn't filed with comic books.  Gorgeous, incredibly-detailed B&W artwork.  It's a classic interpretation of a classic.

EC Comics -
Publisher of such classic titles as Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, The Haunt of Fear, Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, etc.

About the publisher: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EC_Comics

Marvel Comics - Produced serveral horror and super-natural series such as Tomb of Dracula, Blade, Dr. Strange, Werewolf by Night, Daimon Hellstorm/Son of Satan, Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, and Morbius, the Living Vampire, among others.  These were usually integrated into the Marvel Universe itself rather than being given a separate continuity.

The Walking Dead - Created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore and first published in 2003 by Image Comics.  It is the basis of the tv series of the same name.  More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walking_Dead_%28comics%29

Comic Magazines

Creepy - Probably the original horror magazine (though not comic, obviously).  More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creepy

Eerie - Sister magazine of Creepy.  More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eerie

Vampirella - The original series staring the iconic sexy anti-hero.  More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampirella

Epic Illustrated - Long-defunct anthology magazine along the lines of Heavy Metal, only with generally shorter pieces and a variety of styles, both artistic and in terms of genre.  Many of these were based in horror or influenced by it.  More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_Illustrated

Urban Legends

This category is too amorphous to pin down, but some that come to mind include...

Bloody Mary - Usually involves a repeated phrase in the mirror.  See also Clive Barker's "Candyman" for a modern re-telling.

Hook hand - "...it was attached to the car."

The Boogey Man - The vague ghoul every child is made afraid of.

Role-Playing Games

There have been quite a few horror/monster-themed role playing games over the years.  I was never an expert outside of a handful of couple games I played as a teenager, and I haven't kept up with this genre since, so I'm sure someone else could greatly expand this list with some research.  As a result, this list is almost completely restricted to a few TSR classics.

Dungeons & Dragons - The various editions/voumes of the "Monster Manuals" have been a great source of inspiration over the years.  Lots of creatures from mythology all the way through H.P. Lovecraft-influenced designs.

Gamma World - My favorite RPG because of its mechanics and the ability to meld diverse genres.  Set in a distant post-apocalyptic future, it featured robots, aliens, and mutants, mutants, mutants galore!

Star Frontiers - Another sci-fi game.  Not really monster-laden, but there were some adventures reminiscent of (read: influenced by) the movie Alien (1979).

Call of Cthulhu - Based directly on H.P. Lovecraft's works.


Good sources for texts and audio versions of great reads.

Project Gutenberg - Free text (in multiple formats including audio in some cases) of public-domain works.  Or you can go directly to their Horror Page for some lesser-known titles not listed above.

SFF Audio - Audio (some free, but not all) of sci-fi authors.

Librivox - Audio books of works in the public domain.  I found them while looking for HP Lovecraft.

Dagon Bytes - Texts of the greats.

Miskatonic University - Collections of works by and biographies of members of the so-called "Lovecraft Circle."

Comics of the Golden and Silver Age - You can find many of the classic EC comics and horror mags here.


Copyright 2012 the Ale[x]orcist.