Our third & final Haunted Reads list this week takes a look at the classics!
“The Turn of the Screw” is an intense psychological tale of terror. It begins in an old house on Christmas Eve. It is the story of a Governess who comes to live with and take care of two young children. The Governess loves her new position in charge of the young children, however she is soon disturbed when she begins to see ghosts.
The aristocratic vampire that haunts the Transylvanian countryside has captivated readers’ imaginations since it was first published in 1897. Hindle asserts that Dracula depicts an embattled man’s struggle to recover his “deepest sense of himself as a man”, making it the “ultimate terror myth”.
‘I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion.’ A summer evening’s ghost stories, lonely insomnia in a moonlit Alpine’s room, and a runaway imagination — fired by philosophical discussions with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley about science, galvanism, and the origins of life — conspired to produce for Mary Shelley this haunting night specter. By morning, it had become the germ of her Romantic masterpiece, “Frankenstein.” Written in 1816 when she was only 19, Mary Shelley’s novel of ‘The Modern Prometheus’ chillingly dramatized the dangerous potential of life begotten upon a laboratory table. A frightening creation myth for our own time, “Frankenstein” remains one of the greatest horror stories ever written and is an undisputed classic of its kind
Any of Poe’s short stories or poems will be sure to give you a case of the heebie jeebies … in a good way! I especially love “The Raven,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
”The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” takes place in Sleepy Hollow, New York, a snug rural valley near Tarry town in the Catskill Mountains. Constructed from German tales but set in America, it is a classic tale of the conflict between city and country, and between brains and brawn. Ichabod Crane courts Katrina Van Tassel, but is frightened away by his rival, Brom Bones, masquerading as the headless horseman.
Stevenson’s famous exploration of humanity’s basest capacity for evil, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, has become synonymous with the idea of a split personality. More than a morality tale, this dark psychological fantasy is also a product of its time, drawing on contemporary theories of class, evolution, criminality, and secret lives.
And finally, a “modern classic” …
Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of an the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.
As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of it’s own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?
Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel – and that too had begun to shine…
For the comments: What other “classics” would you add to this Haunted Reads book list?