The Broke and The Bookish have asked us for:
Top Ten "Older" Books You Don't Want People To Forget About
Keeping with a horror theme these ten classics should never be forgotten:
1) Dracula by Bram Stoker
I'm sure no-one could forget about Dracula but as vampires in film and literature evolve it's easy to forget that they were once actually scary. The modern vamp is very broody and has a more human attitude to the world around them unlike their bloodthirsty, old school ancestors. More vampire books will come out in the future, most likely part of the paranormal romance genre and not so much horror, and will continue to stay connected to humanity. So while the novel will always be familiar the fictional vampire won't be so I do hope that if people continue to remember Dracula they'll remember what the old school vampire was like.
2) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
This is on my TBR pile but I know that the short story is nothing like the Tim Burton adaptation. I watched that film when I was eleven and was dying to find the novel it was based on. I was quite surprised to find how different the film and story actually were. The story was actually interesting and finally I've gone and bought it, ready to read. While I love Tim Burton's work the author's tale has mystery to it. Is Sleepy Hollow actually haunted by a headless horseman or not? I'm sucker for horror stories where it's not quite clear that there is something supernatural and it's pretty much left to the audience or readers to interpret it themselves. With the film being incredibly different it's easy for people to assume that they know the story without really seeing what the printed version is like. I hope no-one forgets how the tale really goes or that there is actually a tale the film is based on.
3) Spring Heeled Jack
Not so much a book but Spring Heeled Jack is an English legend that I didn't even know about until my late teens. When you hear the name Jack you probably think of Jack the Ripper. I don't think there are even modern interpretations of Spring Heeled Jack but there's plenty for Jack the Ripper. For more info on our English legend, click here. :)
It's a folkloric character that's quite inspiring for some creepy tales and I wouldn't want it to be forgotten or became a lesser known urban legend.
4) The Forbidden Game by L.J. Smith
Now this steers into paranormal romance as well but there were a few horror aspects to the series, especially in the first book where characters had to face their worst nightmares and fears. While L.J. Smith is making a comeback and may finally finish her Night World series I think The Forbidden Game has easily been pushed back in favour of The Vampire Diaries, Night World and The Secret Circle which I think are the better known series. Funnily enough I've found TFG to be her best series and it's the only trilogy that I actually kept. I hope it won't be totally forgotten while she writes more books for TVD and gets the last Night World book written. I seriously believe it was the better project and had an interesting gang of friends. All very different personalities but stuck together. The Norse mythology Smith was inspired by was quite fascinating and she gave it a nice little twist to fit her story.
Now I know that as a 1950s Sci-fi film the acting is bad and the effects are terrible but I watched this and I was seriously creeped out. The fact that simply falling asleep can change you and allow you to be replaced by a sinister alien race. We have horror films today that really push the gore and the jumpy moments but Invasion of the Bodysnatchers doesn't need any of that and it succeeds in scaring you. I think it can also be overlooked in favour of monsters such as ghosts, vampires, and demons. They can be as gross as you want them to be. But the simple idea of being invaded and controlled will always haunt and scare people. The idea that your loved ones can become the merciless enemy is terrifying because if that happens then who can you really trust? Don't forget about these sci-fi B-movies. I find they terrify me a lot more than vampires or possession.
6) Friday the 13th (1980)
Now when you think of slashers you turn to Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, and Ghostface. When you think of Friday the 13th who do you immediately think of. Jason? Yep, well Jason didn't turn up until the second film. That's when he became the face of Friday the 13th. Before he even entered the screens with his machete and hockey mask it was Pamela Voorhees who really lurked in the shadows and slashed at innocent teenagers. A lot of people talk about Jason as a serial killer. That's who they think of when Friday the 13th is mentioned. I haven't seen all the Friday films but I have to say I loved the first film the most with Mrs Voorhees as the deranged mother who appears stuck on the day her son supposedly drowned at Camp Crystal Lake. Yeah, Jason has a larger body count and always returned but don't forget about the psycho mother who doesn't like you messing with her son at all. I found her scarier than Jason. He may be able to come back but this woman can put up a fight and troll the final girl with creative ways of presenting her kills. She's just as bloodthirsty and murderous as her son. A very creepy woman.
7) Grave Encounters (2011)
Okay I know that these found footage films are getting annoying and trust me I've watched a few that have left me cringing. A lot of them are absolute rubbish and just copies of each other. Nothing original there. But I tried out Grave Encounters after a friend recommended it and I actually enjoyed it. I was also terrified and couldn't sleep that night. I loved the slight parodying of ghost hunting programmes like Most Haunted. The ghostly encounters build up as usual until the point where the spirits are starting to appear to the team which seriously had me jumping and hiding behind a cushion. I never thought I would do something like that but it is strangely comforting. So I know there are too many of these films out but this one I thought was actually worth watching. Yeah, the acting is bad but it has it's cult status. Unfortunately it's probably shunned merely for the fact that it's a found footage film.
8) Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine
9) Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1991-2000)
Like Goosebumps, AYAotD was also my childhood and when you look back the stories aren't that well written. The acting can be terrible and the morals to some stories are cheesy as hell. But I watched that show religiously and was easily scared by some of the tales those horror loving teens liked to tell. Again it's not like The Exorcist, Scream, or Paranormal Activity. There's no swearing, no teens acting stupid and only caring about sex, and no-one getting tortured by a crazy psycho. Just like Goosebumps it didn't need any of those things to make it seem scary. It simply took your nightmares and fears to creep you out. Some characters would be taught a lesson by the thing they victimised or obsessed with. Simple things like that.
10) Scream (1996)
Whether you think it's terrible or not, Scream did revitalise the horror genre. It took the mickey of the slasher film, setting out the rules and cliches for us to laugh at. There was always the whodunit mystery to it as we went through each character, trying to find out who the killer or killers really were. Scream is cheesy but at least the killers were human and Ghostface wouldn't literally die and come back to life as some superpowered zombie (although they always needed one last, comical scare to keep with tradition). The killer was always more believable than Meyers, Kruger and Voorhees. Ghostface came back in forms of different people, all connected with each other to target the Final Girl, Sidney. There was a plot that psychologically affected each of these killers throughout the films and turned them into Ghostface. If slasher films do continue I hope Scream won't be forgotten because while everyone was getting bored with the Freddy, Jason, and Michael sequels and remakes Scream offered a slightly fresh and fun twist for a new generation.