Since I'm counting down the days until Halloween and we're reading Stephen King's Cell for Book Club, I thought a tribute to the iconic King of Horror was in order.
Since I haven't read a Stephen King novel myself (Gasp!), I chose this list based on my familiarity with the novels that have been adapted in to well-known movies. I have three exceptions, however. The Dead Zone, Salem's Lot, and The Stand were chosen from reviews of other book bloggers. When the same book titles (out of Stephen King's 54 published novels) kept popping up in my research, I'd decided I'd take the advice of the experts.
“Monsters are real. Ghosts are too. They live inside of us, and sometimes, they win.”
When Danny's dad becomes the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, strange things begin to happen. Danny, who is a "shiner" (aglow with psychic voltage), begins to have terrifying visions and the hotel takes on a life of its own.
If you're looking for a book that will scare the pants off you (and make you fear twins and elevators) then you're going to want to pick up The Shining.
“I am your number one fan.”
When best selling novelist Paul Sheldon is in a vehicle accident, his attending nurse, (his number one fan) brings him to her remote cabin to continue his care. But Paul soon realizes his caretaker has become his captor and he's writing to stay alive.
While most stories that make you afraid to turn off the lights involve hauntings and paranormal happenings, Misery explores the monsters of human nature, no ghosts necessary.
“Come on back and we’ll see if you remember the simplest thing of all – how it is to be children, secure in belief and thus afraid of the dark.”
When a group of kids from a small town survive the shapeshifting being that preys on children using their fears as a disguise, they are force to return when it seems the monster has returned.
Perpetuating the fear of clowns in all rational human beings (Ha!), IT by Stephen King exploits children's fears and the ignorance of adults.
“Sometimes dead is better”
When Louis and his family move to Orono, Maine for his new job as the University of Maine's Health Services director, bad things start happening. When his cat, Church, is run over by a car, Louis' neighbor shows him an ancient Native American burial ground that is rumored to bring the dead buried there back to life. But just because you can resurrect the dead doesn't mean you should.
If you had the power to bring back the ones you loved, would you? What if they came back a little bit evil?
“People don't get better, they just get smarter. When you get smarter you don't stop pulling the wings off flies, you just think of better reasons for doing it.”
Carrie didn't know if her powers came from the lord of light or darkness, but what she did know was she had been humiliated for the last time and she had the means to exact her revenge.
Remember that kid you bullied in school? Count your lucky stars they haven't discovered their telekinetic powers...yet.
“The world was full of monsters, and they were all allowed to bite the innocent and the unwary”
Brett Camber's 200lb Saint Bernard, Cujo, is the best friend he's ever had. That is until Cujo is infected with rabies and is suddenly rabid for flesh. Suddenly man's best friend is not so friendly anymore.
Another one that doesn't require the presence of a supernatural being, Cujo takes something you love and trust, and turns it insane.
“It's strange how pain marks our faces, and makes us look like family.”
On the Green Mile, everyone awaits the same fate: death by "Old Sparky." But when a new prisoner, accused of raping and murdering two young girls, comes on the block, the men of Cold Mountain Penitentiary must confront their own morality and determine what they think is right and wrong.
Sometimes the viciousness of man is more terrifying than confronting something that we can't explain.
“People who try hard to do the right thing always seem mad.”
The world is stripped of 99% of its people due to a computer error that released a weaponized flu virus. Now the balance of good and evil is wrestled between 104 year old Mother Abigail and "the dark man" Randall Flagg.
This epic tale is said to be one of Stephen King's finest works. Be sure to get the complete and uncut version because it contains over 150,000 words of additional content that wasn't published in the original version.
“The basis of all human fears, he thought. A closed door, slightly ajar.”
A small town gradually succumbs to the infection of vampires, causing survivors Ben and Mark to flee the town. Years later, they decide they need to return to the town to eradicate the vampires once and for all.
Before the vampires got sparkly, they were terrifying evil creatures that inspired you to keep a cross beneath your pillow and garlic around your neck. This story will perpetuate that stereotype; keep your stake pointy.
“We all do what we can, and it has to be good enough, and if it isn't good enough, it has to do.”
Johnny Smith has an extraordinary ability to know about things just by touching them, but he soon realizes that his gift is a responsibility, and life or death he is the only man who can save the world.
What happens when you're in the plane between life and death? Do you come back the same?
The Shawshank Redemption is arguably the best movie ever made, so when I saw a blurb about the author of the book was Stephen King, I was kicking myself for not realizing it sooner (aka after I compiled this list). To be fair, however, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption was a novella compiled with other short stories called Different Seasons.
Just because this is a novella doesn't mean it's less than worthy- the emotional impact of the book shouldn't be taken lightly. Anyway, what can be scarier than being convicted of a murder you didn't commit?
Disclosure: I do receive compensation for the links provided, but it does not influence my reviews, or the books I choose to read. All thoughts and opinions are my own.