In Season 3 of Friends, Joey stuffs Stephen King‘s The Shining in the freezer because it got too scary. I know the feeling. I’m a bit of a lightweight when it comes to the creepy stuff. I will not watch horror movies, and I do not read scary novels. Every so often though, I read something creepy, and the book goes into the freezer. Here are some of them.
1. Pet Sematary by Stephen King (1983). I read this ages ago, and it gave me nightmares. Synopsis: Doctor is told not to bury stuff in the old Indian Burial Ground. He buries the cat. It comes back all weird. Then he’s told not to bury people there. Does he listen? Of course not.
Moral of the story: It’s never a good idea to mess with the dead. The ability to bring back the dead is a power reserved for the Creator alone. Stay away from ancient Native-American burial grounds, and beware of misspelled words over cemeteries.
2. Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898). A young governess is hired to care for a man’s niece and nephew who live at a large country estate called Bly. The children’s uncle is not interested in raising the children himself and lives away from them. He tells the Governess not to bother him and gives her free rein. Miles and Flora are the two most beautiful children the Governess has ever seen. And the sweetest. A little too sweet. At Bly, the Governess starts seeing the ghosts of the former governess and her lover. These shades seek out the children, and the Governess begins to wonder why.
Moral of the story: If your new employer pays you handsomely to care for children out in the middle of nowhere and tells you not to bother him– ever– be suspicious.
3. Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897). I didn’t think a book written over a 100 years ago would have the ability to give me the heebie-jeebies. Wrong. Apparently, I didn’t learn my lesson with Turn of the Screw. Reading the journals of Jonathan Harker was the creepiest part. You know whose castle he’s in; you know what is going to happen to him, and yet, he does not. And then he does. And you get to read his thoughts as the knowledge unfolds.
I doubt; I fear; I think strange things which I dare not confess to my own soul. God keep me, if only for the sake of those dear to me!
Moral of the story: Vampires need lawyers too, but be careful because they don’t seem to hold sacred that attorney-client relationship. So, get your fee up front and wear a steel necked collar.
4. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (2005). This is the author’s debut novel and it is a chilling tale. The 16 year old narrator sees a vellum bound book with a woodcut of a dragon in the center associated with Dracula. Her father, Paul, tells her that he found it in his study carrel in the 1950s when he was a graduate student. The book was such an enigma that he asked his academic mentor about it. To his surprise and shock, Professor Rossi tells him that he also found a similar book when he was a graduate student. Rossi disappears suddenly, and Paul begins his researches into the mysterious book. He starts to believe what Professor Rossi believed—that Vlad Tepes or Dracula – still walked the earth.
Moral of the story; Don’t accept strange books from people you don’t know. (So true! I once accepted the Book of Mormon from those well dressed canvassers and they wouldn’t leave me alone.)
5. Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (2009). David Martin, a young writer, accepts a very lucrative offer to write a book from an elegant, but mysterious, Parisian publisher named Andreas Corelli. The process of writing the manuscript saps David of his strength, his youth and his love. When David tries to renege on the deal, Corelli turns evil and the body count accumulates.
Moral of the story: Beware the well dressed, silver-tongued publisher, offering large amounts of cash. Remember that old adage: If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
What’s in YOUR freezer?