Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Spooktober: Classic Halloween Reads

It's nearing Halloween and you fancy reading a Halloween appropriate book....but you don't know what? Well, I've already posted the best creepy reads of the year, and today I've gathered the best classic Halloween reads for you to peruse and choose from! 

1. Dracula by Bram Stoker

When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count Dracula and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing deeply into questions of human identity and sanity, and illuminating dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire. 

I'm gonna say it straight up...this and a couple of the others I couldn't not include, because as soon as you think of Halloween you think of these particular books! Gotta have a bit of Dracula! 

2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The scientist Victor Frankenstein, obsessed with possessing the secrets of life, creates a new being from the bodies of the dead. But his creature is a twisted, gruesome parody of a man who, rejected for his monstrous appearance, sets out to destroy his maker.

Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale, conceived after a nightmare in 1816 when she was only eighteen, became a modern myth. It is a disturbing and dramatic exploration of birth and death, creation and destruction, and one of the most iconic horror stories of all time.

Like I said about Dracula, you can't not have Frankenstein! 

3. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 

Dorian Gray is a beautiful yet corrupt man. When he wishes that a perfect portrait of himself would bear the signs of ageing in his place, the picture becomes his hideous secret, as it follows Dorian's own downward spiral into cruelty and depravity.

Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life; indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence.

For me, this is a "DUH Halloween!" book, but maybe not for everyone else! 

4. The Monk by Matthew Lewis

Ambrosio, a pious monk, finds himself drawn to his pupil, Matilda, a young woman in disguise. Unable to control himself, he sates his lust, and soon tires of her. But Matilda has more than her body to offer: using black magic, she will help Ambrosio seduce the innocent Antonia. As his desperate acts become more and more depraved, it becomes clear that Matilda is not everything she seems. And Ambrosio's damnation may be closer than he feared.

As the synopsis says....black magic, but there's also murder and general darkness and dodginess.  

5. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury 

It's the week before Hallowe'en, and Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois. The siren song of the calliope entices all with promises of youth regained and dreams fulfilled... as two boys trembling on the brink of manhood set out to explore the mysteries of the dark carnival's smoke, mazes and mirrors, they will also discover the true price of innermost wishes...

Maybe a classic, maybe not, but I'm putting it as one! 

6. The Murders In The Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe 

Horror, madness, violence and the dark forces hidden in humanity abound in this collection of Poe's brilliant tales, including - among others - the bloody, brutal and baffling murder of a mother and daughter in Paris in The Murders in the Rue Morgue, the creeping insanity of The Tell-Tale Heart, the Gothic nightmare of The Masque of the Red Death, and the terrible doom of The Fall of the House of Usher. 

It's not the only Poe story that could be read for Halloween, let's be honest, but I happen to have this as a separate book from my Poe collection and like the synopsis it has a bit of all the others! 

7.  Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson 

Published as a shilling shocker, Robert Louis Stevenson's dark psychological fantasy gave birth to the idea of the split personality. The story of respectable Dr Jekyll's strange association with damnable young man Edward Hyde; the hunt through fog-bound London for a killer; and the final revelation of Hyde's true identity is a chilling exploration of humanity's basest capacity for evil.

Another of the DUH books, let's be honest! I actually only read this after seeing a theatrical version of this a few years ago! 

8. The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

Set near the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town in the secluded and mysterious glen of Sleepy Hollow, Icabod Crane competes with Brom Bones for the attention of the beautiful Katrina. As Icabod heads home, he is hunted by the Headless Horseman. This creature may be the ghost of a Hessian soldier or something else altogether. Originally written in 1820, Washington Irving's haunting, yet humorous narrative describes of the local schoolmaster whose lonely journey home turns into a night of delightful terror when he is met on the road by the Headless Horseman.

Definitely a DUH book, at least for me. I'm not gonna lie, I actually watch the film version with Christopher Walken in it every year! I was watching the TV  show as well, but actually gave up. Anyway, I decided to read the book after watching them!  

9. Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

While travelling into the forest on an errand, Young Goodman Brown and his wife happen upon a Sabbath for witches where they are offered as new converts, prompting Brown to question his faith and trust in his spouse. Set in Puritan Salem, Massachusetts, “Young Goodman Brown” reflects author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s perspective on this dark period of American history. Hawthorne was widely known for his common use of seventeenth-century Salem as a setting for his stories, which allegorically criticize Puritan values as contradictory. Although Hawthorne himself felt the story was not memorable, esteemed authors like Herman Melville, Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, and even Stephen King have praised it as one of his best works.

A definite Halloween read, don'tcha think? 

10. The Woman In Black by Susan Hill 

Arthur Kipps, a young lawyer, travels to a remote village to put the affairs of a recently deceased client, Alice Drablow in order. As he works alone in her isolated house, Kipps begins to uncover disturbing secrets - and his unease grows when he glimpses a mysterious woman dressed in black. The locals are strangely unwilling to talk about the unsettling occurrence, and Kipps is forced to uncover the true identity of the Woman in Black on his own, leading to a desperate race against time when he discovers her true intent...

Right, so maybe not a complete classic what with it's pub date....BUT...it's a classic for me. Why? Because GCSE Drama year two, we all had to go on a trip up to London to see it and let me give you all some advice. If you go to see the play, don't sit in the aisle seats. Just don't. You're not entirely safe up in the circle either. As if the stage version didn't freak me out enough I also decided to watch the film....and then read the book....yup. I'm a mug! 

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