Horror Stories: Books & Movies

To celebrate Halloween and a favorite genre to read and watch in October, we've put together a list of recommended reading and watching available through our catalog and digital resources. Find our curated list of frightfully creepy reads for Halloween and beyond on OverDrive here. For something a little less scary, find our list for “Halloween Treats for a Spooky Night In” list here.

Books

The Year of Witching by Alexis Henderson
Library Catalog
OverDrive and Libby: eBook
“Immanuelle’s mother dies in childbirth, proclaiming, with her dying breath, that her baby is ‘a curse.' Now a teenager, Immanuelle can’t find her place in the rigid, puritanical society of Bethel as the mixed-race daughter of a woman remembered only for adultery, madness, and an association with witchcraft.”–Publishers Weekly

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
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OverDrive and Libby: eBook and audiobook
Hoopla: Audiobook
“Hendrix has masterfully blended the disaffected housewife trope with a terrifying vampire tale, and the anxiety and tension are palpable as these women battle societal stereotypes and demeaning husbands–not to mention intense evil–to save their children. Who would you pick in a fight between your mom's book club and a centuries-old vampire?–Booklist
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
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“Since the mysterious death of four family members, the superstitious Mary Katherine ‘Merricat' Blackwood, her ailing uncle Julian, and agoraphobic sister Constance have lived in a bizarre but contented state of isolation. But when cousin Charles arrives in search of the Blackwood fortune, a terrible family secret is revealed.”–Publishers Weekly
Dracula by Bram Stoker
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Hoopla: eBook and audiobook
The vampire novel that started it all, Bram Stoker's Dracula probes deeply into human identity, sanity, and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire. When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client. Soon afterward, disturbing incidents unfold in England-an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby, strange puncture marks appear on a young woman's neck, and a lunatic asylum inmate raves about the imminent arrival of his “Master” – culminating in a battle of wits between the sinister Count and a determined group of adversaries.

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
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OverDrive and Libby: eBook and audiobook
Hoopla: Audiobook
“Wen is almost eight years old, on vacation with her two dads, Andrew and Eric, on an isolated lake in New Hampshire. While catching grasshoppers on the front lawn, she encounters Leonard, a large man in a white button-down shirt, who asks for help convincing her dads to let him and his friends into their home. They have come to this secluded place with their menacing and crude weapons to stop the world from ending, and Wen and her dads are the key to humanity's survival.”–Booklist

My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due
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Hoopla: eBook and audiobook
“At first, Jessica thinks she has it all: a beautiful young daughter, a coveted place on the Miami Herald's elite investigative team and her doting husband, a noted linguist and jazz historian who has put his career on hold to raise their daughter. The plot shifts to the paranormal when David turns out to be more perfect than she could ever imagine: born some 450 years earlier in Abyssinia, he is immortal.”–Publishers Weekly

The Shining by Stephen King
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Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
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OverDrive and Libby: eBook and audiobook
Hoopla: eBook
“This timely rumination on racism in America refracts an African-American family’s brush with supernatural horrors through the prism of life in the Jim Crow years of the mid-20th century. The novel’s episodic events involve the extended family of Chicagoan Atticus Turner, who are lineal descendants of slaves once owned by the ancestors of New Englander Caleb Braithwhite. As Braithwhite jockeys for ascendancy in the sorcerous Order of the Ancient Dawn, he draws Turner and his family and friends into a variety of intrigues, including the recovery of a book of occult lore, the manipulation of a Jekyll-esque split personality, and encounters with ghosts.”–Publishers Weekly

The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft
Library Catalog
OverDrive and Libby: eBook
In this supremely creepy story from horror master H.P. Lovecraft, an unspeakable horror is unleashed upon the quaint burg of Dunwich, Massachusetts in the form of a young boy named Wilbur Whateley, the son of a disfigured albino woman and a mysterious—and possibly demonic—father. Wilbur's birth ushers in a series of strange events in the town that only intensify as he grows older. Will the townspeople be able to contain this curse before it's too late?

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler
Library Catalog
OverDrive and Libby: eBook and audiobook
Hoopla: eBook and audiobook
“Awaking blind, in pain, confused, and alone, Shori Matthews manages to survive amnesia and what should be crippling injuries and starts looking for answers -who hurt her, who she is, and where she comes from. She quickly learns that she is not a young human girl but a genetically altered vampire. Her black skin allows her to survive sunlight and remain alert during the day, but she faces grave danger from those threatened by her strength and heritage.”–Library Journal

Films

Carnival of Souls (1962)
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Hoopla
Kanopy
Directed by Herk Harvey, starring Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison.
After becoming the sole survivor of an accident that occurred during a drag race, a young woman named Mary (Hilligoss) accepts a job in a new town as a church organist. But once there, she is repeatedly troubled by visions of a nearby abandoned carnival and a smiling white-faced man (Harvey) with dark-rimmed eyes. One of the most atmospherically eerie works of American horror cinema, this film garnered a significant cult following years after being released in 1962.

The Host (2006)
Library Catalog
Hoopla
Kanopy
Directed by Academy Award Winner Bong Joon-ho (Parasite), starring Kang-Ho Song, Bae Doona, Go Ah-sung, Park Hae-il, Byun Hee-bong.
American military personnel dump chemicals into South Korea's Han River. Several years later, a creature emerges from the tainted waters and sinks its ravenous jaws into local residents. When the creature abducts their daughter (Ah-sung Ko), a vendor (Song Kang-ho) and his family decide that they are the only ones who can save her.
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
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Kanopy
Directed by William Castle, starring Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, Richard Long, Carolyn Craig, Elisha Cook Jr.
This campy cult classic sees rich oddball Richard Loren (Price) invite a group of strangers to spend a night at an allegedly haunted mansion. If they last the night they'll each take home $10,000 of Loren's fortune, but will they survive?
What We Do In the Shadows (2014)
Library Catalog
Hoopla
Kanopy
Directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, starring Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Rhys Darby.
In this mockumentary horror comedy, vampire housemates (Clement, Waititi, Brugh) try to cope with the complexities of modern life and show a newly turned hipster (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) some of the perks of being undead.
Halloween (1978)
Library Catalog
Hoopla
IndieFlix
Directed by John Carpenter, starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Kyle Richards, Nancy Kyes.
Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again.
Train to Busan (2016)
Library Catalog
Hoopla
Directed by Yeon Sang-Ho, starring Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-Seok, Jung Yu-mi, Kim Soo-Ahn.
While a zombie virus breaks out in South Korea, passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan.
Queen of the Damned (2002)
Library Catalog
Hoopla
Directed by Michael Rymer, starring Aaliyah, Stuart Townsend, Marguerite Moreau, Vincent Perez.
In this loose sequel to Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), the vampire Lestat becomes a rock star whose music wakes up the equally beautiful and monstrous queen of all vampires, played by Aaliyah.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
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Directed by George A. Romero, starring Judith O'Dea, Russell Streiner, Duane Jones, Karl Hardman.
Night of the Living Dead opens with chaos-the brains of the recently deceased have become mysteriously reanimated, causing the dead to rise and feed on human flesh. While visiting their father's grave, Barbra (Judith O'Dea) and her brother Johnny (Russell Streiner) are attacked by a strange shuffling man. Barbra runs into a farmhouse where she encounters Ben (Duane Jones), and they must find a way to save themselves from the horde of zombies. Hailed as one of the most influential horror films of all time.
Ganja & Hess (1973)
Library Catalog
Kanopy
Directed by Bill Gunn, starring Duane Jones, Marlene Clark, Bill Gunn, Sam Waymon, Leonard Jackson.
Flirting with the conventions of blaxploitation and the horror cinema, Bill Gunn's revolutionary independent film Ganja & Hess is a highly stylized and utterly original treatise on sex, religion, and African American identity. Duane Jones (Night of the Living Dead) stars as anthropologist Hess Green, who is stabbed with an ancient ceremonial dagger by his unstable assistant, endowing him with the blessing of immortality, and the curse of an unquenchable thirst for blood. When the assistant's beautiful and outspoken wife Ganja (Clark) comes searching for her vanished husband, she and Hess form an unexpected partnership. Together, they explore just how much power there is in the blood.
The Witch: A New-England Folktale (2015)
Library Catalog
Kanopy
Directed by Robert Eggers, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Kate Dickie, Ralph Ineson.
In this exquisitely made and terrifying horror film, the age-old concepts of witchcraft, black magic, and possession are innovatively brought together to tell the intimate and riveting story of one family's frightful unraveling.
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