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Old 01-15-2013, 05:39 AM   #59
fantasyfan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caleb72 View Post
I struggle to find a single book that's actually scary - except maybe Koko by Peter Straub, and I don't think that's technically a horror.

Has anyone actually encountered a book that really is bone-chilling scary?
Perhaps horror has a very individualised effect on specific readers--rather as is the case with humour. I find the stories of M R James quite scary simply because horror invades the ordinary so effectively and the spernatural elements are understated--others simply find them boring.

"Green Tea" by Le Fanu is another tale that conveys immense psychological horror for me. The concept of an utterly malignant entity existing unseen within oneself and undetectable to all but oneself has an element of horror which is magnified by the fact that the external narrator doesn't believe in its existence either. It leaves a very uneasy feeling in some readers.

Another example is "A Rose For Emily" by Faulkner. On the surface it's about a decadent Southern family and a reclusive spinster. But when one reaches that astounding final sentence--the horror explodes and a re-reading throws everything in a different light.

Lovecraft attempted to create horror by eliminating the supernatural machinery used conventionally and substituting a cosmological mythos in its place. He was trying to create horror stories for atheists. I find his mythos very interesting but he doesn't scare me as much--if at all-- as he did when I was {significantly} younger. .

More successful than Lovecraft is Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery". Here is genuine horror. The setting is small town America and the people are sympathetic everyday types. There is nothing of the supernatural only the working of human nature in recognisable character types. Ray Bradbury has come up with some genuine horror stories which I find effective. Among them are "The Veldt", "Mars Is Heaven" and the utterly horrifying "Small Assassin". Still, I'm sure there are readers who would be unmoved by any of these examples.

I think that one must simply live with the fact that the same things are not going to scare everyone. And some people are going to be very hard to scare at all!

Last edited by fantasyfan; 01-15-2013 at 05:56 AM.
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