Friday, October 30, 2009

What's Your Favorite Scary Story?

The weekly newspaper at my husband's university asked the professors what their favorite scary story was. They skipped my husband, more's the pity, because he never gives run-of-the-mill answers to anything.

His pick was "It's a good life" by Jerome Bixby. I couldn't find an official online site, so I'll let you look for it yourself.

I went with the more classical La Vénus d'Ille by Prosper Mérimée. Here's a link to the original French text, and here's another one to a Wikipedia article.

Now I was thinking of classic horror stories. But there's one that chilled my childhood and still enchants me (although it doesn't give me nightmares anymore).

It is Nikolai Gogol's Viy. There is a link from the Wikipedia page to the Russian full text, for the brave souls who can tackle it.

From a science fiction author (It's a good life is also a Twilight Zone episode) to a Russian classic by way of a French classic. Yeah, that's our family. The only strange thing is that I'm not the one who picked the sci-fi author this time.

So what's your favorite scary read? Horror story? Good chilling tale?

As I remember, there were quite a few excellent Goosebumps tales worth reading at any age.

It's all in the story! Especially in the dark of night. And in the telling, of course.


Lynn Romaine said...

True story - in Detroit is a road called Denton Road and it's famous for a light that appears on the dirt road (in the middle of no where) - called "Denton Light" it only appears in summer when it's foggy. It chases people in their cars then disappears. I saw it 35 years ago and it was true. And very scary - it chased us down the road - we turned around and sped towards it - and it disappeared - but there was no where for it to go - it just disappeared

P.L. Parker said...

I was watching something on discovery channel about some haunted house in the deep south, Florida I believe, and there's this creepy doll there. Anyway, that absolutely scared the crap out of me.

SFWriterMasha said...

Lynn, P.L., how interesting that you thought of real stories! It never even occurred to me. I find them fascinating, but not exactly "scary". Or maybe reality is sometimes frightening, but not "spooky" enough to enter my nightmares.

Carol Kilgore said...

The scariest story I never read was IT by Stephen King. I stopped at page 6. It was so frightening I remember where I stopped.

Elisabeth Crisp said...

My favorite scary story is "What Was I Scared Of?" by Dr. Seuss. from The Sneetches and Other Stories. Read it and you'll never look at green pants the same way again.

Chicken Little Crone said...

Favorite Scary Story---wouldn't call it a favorite because it's too scary to really comprehend, but I'd say the front page of the newspapers right about now. They vie for comedy (the Recession is over) and scary ("Trillions and Trillions more in debt," she reads in her best Carl Sagan voice ;-)

If you are talking classic horror, however, I have to go with the 'Master' (Mr. Poe) and his short story THE TELL-TALE HEART. Thump, thump. Thump, thump. The imagery he used to describe the horror of the brick-by-brick imprisonment still resonates.

While THE RAVEN is probably better known it has more pathos than horror to it IMO.

SFWriterMasha said...

Carol, I didn't even count the book I couldn't read, because I have no idea if the story itself was scary. It was The Exorcist and I just read the sentence about the daughter sleeping in the other room... that was it. Never opened the book again. But that was all me: not the story, not the writing. Heh, first kid, just a few months old...

SFWriterMasha said...

Elizabeth, isn't it what speaks to our imagination rather than what the writer comes up with? I think sometimes it's the memory of the fear than the frightening story itself.

Chicken Little, you're as realistic as ever. To me, reality will happen, one way or another. But my nightmares are what make my heart thump in the night.