Commendably Creepy Campfire Tales – Halloween

When thinking about the Halloween season, there is no more iconic way to celebrate the holiday then gathering your friends and family around the campfire and sharing short scary stories. In this blog post, I have collected some of the best scary short stories for you to share with loved ones around the campfire this Halloween season.

Haunted Nights edited by Lisa Morton and Ellen Datlow

This anthology of short stories all feature tales that focus their themes around the Halloween holiday itself. Urban legends, trick or treating, haunted Jack-o-Lanterns and more are all in this collection of short horror goodies.

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

What better way to celebrate the season of horror than by reading a collection of works from the King of Horror fiction. This collection features a story about a man who is cursed to relive his life, death and birth over and over again in a never ending cycle, specters that haunt men in their dying days and many other creepy and deeply personal stories.

Scream and Scream Again! edited by R. L. Stine

The best part about the Halloween season is getting to share the frights with the whole family. This collection of short horror stories for Juvenile readers is exactly the thing to provide frights for those of all ages. Collected from some of the best selling authors across the horror and mystery genre, this anthology collection is sure to bring a chill down your spine as you bundle up around the campfire to share in the terrifying tales of this autumn holiday.

These titles and many more horrifying tales are all available at your Davenport Public Library. For more recommendations like these to get you into the Halloween spirit, check out our Halloween LibGuide for more wretched recommendations.

Putting in a Good Word for the Werewolf – Halloween

Werewolves, the fluffiest of the Halloween creatures. They have haunted the streets of London and became enthralled in love triangles in the Pacific Northwest. They often serve as allegory for humanities most animalistic tendencies. This collection of werewolf novels is meant to horrify and inspire self reflection. Are we really that different from the monsters we create in our fiction?

Cabal by Clive Barker

This Novella follows Boone, a man who believes he is a serial killer, but has no recollection of killing anyone. As he becomes convinced that he is indeed a murderer after visits with his psychiatrist, he begins looking for the mythical city of Midian a place that offers protection for monsters called the Night Breed. This horrifying tale has many twists and turns that keep the reader on their toes and his a wholly unique experience to read.

Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy

At the core of it, Hemlock Grove is a mystery. When girls are showing up dead and the two protagonists Roman and Peter are singled out as the most likely suspects, it is up to them to get to the bottom of the case and nab the real killer. the catch, Peter is a werewolf. This story is one that is full of interesting revelations that keep the reader on the edge of their seat for the whole ride so I won’t spoil any more than just stating the premise.

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

5% of the population are werewolves. They are drugged so as to keep them from transforming into their wolf forms and it has been made illegal for werewolves to use their powers. Red Moon is all about asking a question that is a common werewolf trope “who is the real monster?”. Dealing with themes such as terrorism, domestic surveillance, prejudice and many more. This werewolf epic is well-worth the read.

These titles and many more horrifying tales are all available at your Davenport Public Library. For more recommendations like these to get you into the Halloween spirit, check out our Halloween LibGuide for more wretched recommendations. And always remember to beware the full moon.

 

Villainous Video Games – Halloween

While many think about telling spooky campfire tales with friends and loved ones around the Halloween season, another fun way to share in the frights is to turn off all of the lights, bundle up in your warmest blanket and snuggle in with a terrifying video game to scare your socks off. I have compiled some truly terrifying offerings of games that are sure to do just that.

Outlast Trinity

This game is actually a collection of three experiences all packaged into one case. Unlike some horror games that let you take on the bad guys and supernatural creatures, Outlast only gives the player a camcorder with night vision capabilities as their tool. No weapons or tools to fight off the bad guys, only hiding or running are your options. This helplessness drives up the intensity and horror in this atmospheric instant classic.

Until Dawn

This story-driven game follows a group of teenagers trapped at a ski resort in the mountain being hunted by a serial killer, and potentially other, more deadly supernatural forces. This game puts the player in charge, allowing you to make choices that dictate who lives and who dies. Try to survive the night in this narrative-focused thriller.

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2

Halloween isn’t all about scaring your boots off, sometimes it is about strategizing the layout of your garden to fend off hordes of cartoon zombies. This tower defense game is great fun for all ages and is a great way to get into the Halloween spirit for those of all ages. It has a silly cartoon aesthetic to go with the generally silly atmosphere of the game. A ton of fun to be had in this game where you plant fire-breathing dandelions to fend off hat-wearing zombies.

These titles and many more horrifying tales are all available at your Davenport Public Library. For more recommendations like these to get you into the Halloween spirit, check out our Halloween LibGuide for more wretched recommendations.

 

 

 

 

Delving into the Living Dead – Halloween

From Frankenstein to Rick Grimes, the zombie is an enduring and evocative Halloween creature that has taken many forms over the years. From the mind controlled undead slave to Romero’s hordes of Ghouls, there are many ways that authors have portrayed this creature. As a continuation of my Halloween recommendations I have decided to focus this post on great zombie novels for recommendations.

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi

Since George Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead first graced the silver screen, zombies have been used as socio-political alegory, after all, they are us, just a few shades greyer and far less conversational. Frankenstein in Baghdad takes place in 2005 Baghdad when a stitched-together corpse goes missing and reports of a walking corpse begin to be reported. This story does a great job of immersing the reader into this place and this world. An interesting modern twist on a classic concept, this story is one worth reading if you are looking for something new to spice up your hordes of the undead.

World War Z by Max Brooks

This classic anthology is probably the best example of what the zombie can be. It reads as a collection of primary accounts from across the globe tracking a zombie apolocolypse.  If you have seen the Brad Pitt film and were hoping for something similar to that movie, I have some bad news for you, no 4 story ladders made out of zombies in this book. Brooks grounds the zombies with “realistic” rules that take things like muscle degeneration and climate into account. Very well-written and a must-read for any zombie fans out there.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

This Young Adult novel takes place generations after a zombie apocolypse ravages the planet, in a small village with walls that serve as the only thing separating its inhabitants from the hordes of undead outside. When the day comes when the walls are breached, it is up to the protagonist Mary to explore into the forest of hands and teeth and into the outside world to find refuge and survive in the wake of her horrific predicament.

These titles and many more horrifying tales are all available at your Davenport Public Library. For more recommendations like these to get you into the Halloween spirit, check out our Halloween LibGuide for more wretched recommendations.

 

Vouching For Vampires – Halloween

It’s getting closer to the best time of the year. Leaves are about to change colors, the winds at night are going to become crisp and cool and abandoned department stores are about to become filled with all manner of spooky costumes and decorations. Halloween is upon us! And I have tasked myself with theming some blog posts around getting into the holiday spirit. This post is going to focus on making some recommendations for those looking for stories about everyone’s favorite bloodsucking bat-people. Vampires!

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

This is a macabre novel that delves into the depths of Vampire lore to the original figure that inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula. Vlad the Impaler. This twisting and turning narrative follows the narrator as she peels back the layers to a case of a missing professor and how that ties in to hundreds of years of letters and their sinister vampiric history.

Let the Right One In by John Lindqvist

This creepy atmospheric tale takes place in 1980s Sweden where one bullied boy finds that he might have finally made a friend. A friend that just moved in next door, A friend that he only gets to see at night, a friend that only started showing up after a body was found drained of blood.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

This is a unique vampire tale that involves psychic bridges, child kidnappers, and a really scary car. Follow Vic McQueen as she goes through life learning about her mysterious powers and battles against an evil child abductor that is even more ominous than meets the eye in this intense thriller.

These titles and many more horrifying tales are all available at your Davenport Public Library. For more recommendations like these to get you into the Halloween spirit, check out our Halloween LibGuide for more wretched recommendations.

 

 

The Walking Dead

Looking for something to get you in the Halloween spirit?  What’s better than a good zombie story?  The Walking Dead has aired two seasons on AMC so far and the library owns both.  Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma after being shot on duty to discover that while he was asleep, the world has changed.  At least half of the population has been wiped out.  There’s no more government, no military, and none of the comforts of the world he remembers.  And what’s more, all those people who have died have woken back up as bloodthirsty zombies.  Rick must struggle to survive and find his family who he knows must still be alive.

I’m not usually into scary or gory stuff, but this series is so compelling that I was immediately hooked.  It reminds me of my all-time favorite show, Battlestar Galactica; at its heart, The Walking Dead is a drama about how people deal with the destruction of their world and figure out how to survive while still dealing with the issues of their past.  If you can’t get your hand on a copy of the DVDs, the library also owns the graphic novels that the show is based on.

Horror Week at DPL – Creepy Capote

Horror Week at Davenport Library wraps up today with this terrifying suggestion from Lynn. Read at your own risk!

Handcarved coffins“Handcarved Coffins” (in the book Music for Chameleons) is a piece of novelistic journalism; Capote’s spare and economical style makes the ever-increasing  suspense immediate.

A state cop relates the stories of a series of horrific murders to Capote. The first are killed by rabid rattlesnakes that attack a couple as they open their car doors. The next die in a fire, trapped in their basement. The victims are sent a small, balsa coffin with a candid photograph of themselves. As the murders mount up, the recipients  are more aware of their fate and suffer unique torture as they wonder how and when they will die.

The murders are impossible to anticipate and guard against, and, seemingly, have no connection to each other. Their very randomness and the generic small midwestern town setting  give the murders a sense of universality – (this could happen to ME).  The fact that the victims seem entirely innocent makes the evil more purely heinous. Because this is supposed to be a piece of reportage, Capote never switches perspective to the psychopath, as is so common now. This is a piece of simple, classic horror. And it may be true.

Now it’s your turn – what’s your favorite scary book or movie? Leave a comment!

Horror Week at DPL – The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Here’s Tana’s gruesome entry for Horror Week at Davenport Library. Read it if you dare!

gargoyle

The Washington Post describes The Gargoyle “as engrossing as it is gruesome, the kind of horror you watch with one eye closed.”  Truly, the opening scene is horrifying — we witness the unnamed narrator being burned alive.  Perhaps even worse, we then watch him endure seemingly endless and excruciating treatments for these burns, treatments so painful that he anxiously awaits his  release from the hospital just so he can finally commit suicide.   It should be noted that the narrator is no angel — he’s a coke-addicted pornographer, a cynical character most would consider undeserving of redemption.  Yet redemption he receives.  It comes in the form of visits from a beautiful sculptor, Marianne Engel, who specializes in sculpting gargoyles.  The only problem is that Marianne is a fellow patient, a schizophrenic from the pysch ward.   She regales him with stories of their love affair — an affair that supposedly took place over 700 years ago in Germany, when she was serving as a scribe in the monastery of Engelthal and he was a wounded mercenary.

As Marianne continues to visit, she shares other tales of deathless love from other countries (Japan, Iceland, Italy) and she earns the trust of both the patient and the hospital staff.  It is into her care that he is released. Still, all is not well.  Marianne begins a frenzy of work on her final 27 sculptures and the narrator deepens his dependence on morphine.  To break his addiction, he literally goes to Hell — here the author leans heavily on allegories from Dante’s Inferno.

Fantastic fiction?  Perhaps.  Still, a definite page-turner — as long as you can keep one eye open.

Horror Week at DPL – The Scariest Movie I Ever Viewed

Rita brings us this terrifying recommendation for Horror Week at Davenport Library.

This movie is the reason I NEVER go to scary movies. Wait until Dark was produced in 1967. It starred Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin and Richard Crenna. It was being shown at the Capitol theater in downtown Davenport. A fellow worker and I went to see it as we both enjoyed the work of Audrey Hepburn. It scared the beejebees out of me. The scarest for me was you thought Audrey Hepburn had finally killed Alan Arkin, and the only light on the screen was from the refrigerator  door. All of the sudden Alan Arkin leaps out of the dark into the light of the refrigerator door. I remember everyone in the Capitol theater gasped!!!!It took me weeks to sleep at night, as every time I closed my eyes I saw this scence.

Wait Until Dark is an innovative, highly entertaining and suspenseful thriller about a blind housewife, Susy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn). Independent and resourceful, Susy is learning to cope with her blindness, which resulted from a recent accident. Susy is terrorized by a group of criminals who believe she has hidden a baby doll used by them to smuggle heroin into the country. Unknown to Susy, her photographer husband Sam (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) took the doll as a favor for a woman he met on an international plane flight. Alone in her apartment and cut-off from the outside world, Susy must fight for her life against a gang of ruthless criminals, led by the violent, psychotic Roat (Alan Arkin). The tension builds as Roat, aided by his gang, impersonates police officers and friends of her husband in order to win Susy’s confidence, gaining access to her apartment to look for the doll. The climax of the film, a violent physical confrontation between Susie and Roat in her dark kitchen, is one of the most memorable and frightening scenes in screen history. All performances are outstanding, particularly those of Audrey Hepburn who plays a vulnerable, but self-reliant woman, and Alan Arkin, in perhaps his best role, as the ruthless, manipulative Roat. Allmovie.com

Horror Week at DPL – The Power of Pea Soup Repels You

Horror Week at Davenport Library continues with Bill’s bone-chilling suggestion.

exorcist_posterbig

I generally don’t seek out media that scares the hell out of me. I’m highly suggestible and it seems a little too masochistic.

But, if you’re a glutton for punishment, any of The Exorcist trilogy will mess with your mind when the lights are out.

There’s something about the unnatural voices, inhuman body movements, haunting use of classical music, and periodic interruption of calm with the occasional terrifying act.

The Exorcist line will have you groping for the lamp and checking the doors after every creak.