October Means Dark: Or, How I Love Horror

Josh Staff Image

As anyone who knows me can tell you, I am really into horror.  I enjoy this time of year because I can let some small portion of this love out and people just think I’m in the spirit of the season.  I should mention I’m not into slasher horror with monsters saving teenagers from their bad choices of sex, alcohol, and drugs by killing them in violent ways.  Or jump-scare horror which is just enough to get my adrenaline going and annoy me. I’m more of a cosmic horror fan. The realization that everything is not as it seems and the universe, rather than making you its center, steps on you without registering the crunch.  That may say something about my own psychology but that’s a different blog post.

I’ve been dipping back into the classics of the genre and came across a few that are really worth the reread if for no other reason than I can nearly guarantee you do not remember them right.

The first is The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (DB 26427).  What everyone remembers is that this a great morality struggle between good and evil.  What everyone forgets is the reason Dr. Jekyll does what he does. I’m not sure how you can get to this point and not know the plot but I’m going to avoid spoilers.  Suffice it to say it is not the reasons you think.

The second is Frankenstein, Or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley (DB 25835).  Okay so this one you might remember just fine.  But it is so worth reading. I mean it started the whole Gothic horror genre!  I promise this is not one of those classics that you were forced to read that is terrible.  Mary Shelley may have started the genre but she also anchored it right where she wanted it.

The last is I am Legend  by Richard Matheson (DB 47903).  This book deserves more recognition than it gets.  In fact I think I just found a recommendation I’m putting into my book club.  It’s a collection of short stories, the longest and most famous of which has been the basis for movies ranging from George Romero movies to a Vincent Price movie and the recent Will Smith movie.  And none, in my opinion, match the written story. That ending is so amazing, and the title comes to life.

So I offer you three of my favorite books to let you dip your toes, or maybe sink your teeth, into a good horror book.  Pleasant Dreams?