Chills and Thrills: 9 of My Horror Favorites

Posted in Bookish, Horror, Pop Culture by
favorites of horror

I don’t know if it’s much of a secret that I’m a fan of horror. Am I the biggest fan? Probably not. But I am writing my next issue of Whatsername about it in part, and I do spend a lot of time trying to scare the shit out of myself. My horror fandom doesn’t lie strictly in the obvious–gore and the like, and in fact I’m not much of a fan of gore and torture porn-style horror, though even those have their exceptions–but I’m open to just about anything that could be enveloped by the horror umbrella. My favorite things are ghost stories, the occult, and extraterrestrials (think Close Encounters or Fire in the Sky), but I’ll try just about anything that looks like it’ll keep me up at night. As a result, I’ve racked up a somewhat staggering number of favorites over the years, and I’ve decided to share a few in the hope of connecting with someone–anyone–over our heretofore unknown mutual affection for being terrifyingly entertained.

Some of these favorites are pretty popular, but hey–that means we’re more likely to bond over them, right?

reading

  • Rue Morgue magazine. / This is a relatively recent discovery for me. Last October I did a browse through the entertainment section of Barnes & Noble and spotted Rue Morgue in the racks. The alluring shade of green on the cover of their 19th anniversary issue–a Frankenstein special–caught my eye, and I snatched it up. They specialize in all things horror, from the classics, like Dracula and the just-mentioned Frankenstein, but also new work coming out of the genre, like The Girl With All the Gifts (both the book and film, which I am dreaming of devouring asap), Split, and 2015’s Krampus.
  • Locke & KeyLocke & Key by Joe Hill was my first horror comic series, and there’s a reason I’m still obsessed with it years after my first reading. Not only is the story itself perfectly terrifying, but the art takes everything to an even greater level of scare. Gabriel Rodriguez’s skills are astounding, and I am so happy to have this collection in my bookcase.
  • Basically anything by Stephen King. / Okay, but really–if you know me at all then you know by now how much of a Stephen King fan I am. I’ve still only read a handful of his books relative to his total repertoire, but I’ve got a few favorites already, and I have yet to be disappointed in anything of his. I’ve read Carrie the most times, I assume because it appeals to my young adult/coming-of-age tale sensibilities, even if it’s not strictly described as such. I’d also list It as a favorite because it’s the only one of his novels thus far to truly terrify me.

Honorable mentions:  The Shining. Horns. 20th Century Ghosts. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Afterlife with Archie.

listening

  • Bizarre States podcast. / I’ve been listening to Bizarre States for about two years, and it is hands down my favorite podcast. It’s not always the most organized–no matter how hard Jess and Bowser try–but it’s great entertainment, and they are so genuine in their love for all the weird, spooky shit they talk about each week. Plus, they never fail to have me laughing my ass off in the middle of my Thursday night bubble baths. (They literally have an episode titled, “Can you shit out of your mouth?” So there ya go.)
  • My Favorite Murder podcast. / While this one is relatively more professional than BStates, it’s still kind of a hot mess at times, but that’s part of what we murderinos love about it. Karen and Georgia may take nearly an hour to get to talking about that week’s murders, but it’s another podcast full of authenticity. They make no habit of faking tight-laced professionalism and instead produce the podcast like two friends, just chatting about murder–which is exactly what they are and exactly why I like it.
  • Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls by Murderdolls. / A little different from the other two of this category, this album by horror-punk band Murderdolls is so much hardcore fun. My favorite tracks include “Dead in Hollywood,” which makes reference to an array of classic Hollywood horror icons (Dracula, Norman Bates, and actor Vincent Price, to name a few), “B-Movie Scream Queen,” and “Love at First Fright,” a love letter to The Exorcist’s protagonist Regan. The references have a hilarious creativity to them, and it’s just a fun album to listen to for a horror lover.

Honorable mentions:  NoSleep podcast. The Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold. History Goes Bump podcast. Welcome to Night Vale. The Horrorpops.

watching

  • House of 1,000 Corpses. / Something of a “modern classic” for me, and my favorite so far of Rob Zombie’s film work. While its sequel, The Devil’s Rejects, is a great film as well, it’s a little glossier than House of 1,000 Corpses, and I think half of what makes House so fun is its lack of frills. While it’s not as strictly campy as other horror selections might be (like Bride of Chucky, below), it has some darkly comical moments to it–at least if you have the right twist to your sense of humor. Plus, it has Chris Hardwick and Rainn Wilson, so it can’t be bad.
  • Crimson Peak. / I’m honestly obsessed with this movie. I saw it in the theater with Dan when it came out, and I straight up fell in love with the aesthetics and the beautiful way that it was a ghost story without being only that. I’ve always heard good things about Guillermo del Toro, and while I never doubted any of them, I also had never really experienced them for myself until this film. Now I want to go through every other film he’s ever worked on and thoroughly acquaint myself with his mastery.
  • Bride of Chucky. / While I like the original Child’s Play films well enough, and they’re closer to the serious horror end of the spectrum, I can’t deny my love for the camp that is Bride of Chucky. Jennifer Tilly’s portrayal of Tiffany is a hilarious, sexy, and scary character alongside Chucky, inhabited by the soul of serial killer Charles Lee Ray. I watched this a lot as part of my middle school goth-punk days, and it’s one I still adore for its hilarity and horror.

Honorable mentions:  The Exorcist. Ouija. Fire in the Sky. The Conjuring. Krampus. Poltergeist (1982).

One thing I haven’t gotten into yet is horror video games. For some reason, those scare me more than absolutely anything else–it’s why I’ve never managed to play my way through Resident Evil 4, despite having it for years. I do love watching playthroughs, though, and I’d love to get into the subgenre more in the future.

Are you a fan of the horror genre? Do you have any recommendations?

March 13, 2017
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  • I’m not into horror at all because I’m a big wimp, but I LOVE Locke and Key! It’s one of the series that really got me into graphic novels and comics! I mentioned it to you on Twitter, but holy crap Darkest Night is a terriying podcast. I haven’t even finished listening to the episodes because I’m scared that they’re going to freak me out too much lol!
    ~Sara

    • Omg, I started listening to Darkest Night yesterday and it’s amazing! I was originally thinking I’d give it a go while falling asleep at night, but after I listened to the first episode while doing dishes I though, “Hmm. Maybe not…” The second one was absolutely terrifying for me because I have a HUGE fear of people secretly living in my house/walls. It’s great.

  • Kay

    Well I will be tuning in to Bizarre States IMMEDIATELY now. Sounds wonderful! Also, Locke and Key is so amazing. I adore it.
    If you’re looking for more Guillermo del Toro, you absolutely must watch Pan’s Labyrinth. It’s beautiful, dark, and poignant. Watch with tissues. It’s one of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen.
    The Last of Us is probably my favorite horror game of all time. Not just because it’s scary AF (which it is; I had to take breaks playing that game because it was too much), but because the characters, scenery, and gameplay are all just as fantastic as the horror mood. It’s an absolutely amazing game. The Resident Evils are also just such good scary fun as well.

    • I put The Last of Us on my Amazon wishlist! Dan and I are hoping to get a PS3 /eventually/ so i have a whole list of games I want to get when we do. And we do have Resident Evil 4 for the Wii. Every time I play it I open all the shades in the middle of the day and turn up music really loud because I think the music is what gets me the most in games.

      And you have to tell me what you think of Bizarre States! It can be a hot mess sometimes but it was still the first podcast I ever caught up on entirely; it’s just so much fun!

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