View Full Version : Greatest Writer of Horror Stories?

tony draper
1st May 2003, 04:40
H P Lovecraft, without a doubt, the rest are but poor imitators. :suspect: :ooh: :uhoh:

The Messenger

The thing, he said, would come in the night at three
From the old churchyard on the hill below;
But crouching by an oak fire's wholesome glow,
I tried to tell myself it could not be.

Surely, I mused, it was pleasantry
Devised by one who did not truly know
The Elder Sign, bequeathed from long ago,
That sets the fumbling forms of darkness free.

He had not meant it - no - but still I lit
Another lamp as starry Leo climbed
Out of the Seekonk, and a steeple chimed
Three - and the firelight faded, bit by bit.

Then at the door that cautious rattling came -
And the mad truth devoured me like a flame!

-- H. P. Lovecraft
:uhoh: :uhoh: :uhoh:

1st May 2003, 04:45
As some of Sherlock Holmes adventures had horror.
This one is for the upper echelons of TD's list.

I don't go much on that author, from the other side of the pond; who always writes about crime and post mortems.
She has seen a few but some stuff is best left unsaid.

Seaweed Knees
1st May 2003, 04:51
I'm into Dean Koonts, His standard one sex scene per book is stupid though. He should leave it out.

1st May 2003, 05:41
No one beats Stephen King. When I was a kid I used to like his earlier stuff, things like It. Now I prefer some of his less supernatural books - The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, for example, or Geralds Game.

Read "'48" by James Herbert. Thought it was great! Read a few of his other books. Thought they were all pretty mediocre. Oh well.

Seaweed, everything Dean Koontz (or however he spells it) writes is silly, sex scenes or otherwise!


tony draper
1st May 2003, 05:48
I read and enjoyed some of the early Stephen King books, The Stand, The dead Zone, ect can't say I ever finished any of his later stuff,IMHO I don't think any contemporary writer even belongs on the same room as Lovecraft.

1st May 2003, 06:10
The creepiest book ever written has to be Iain Banks's first novel - "The Wasp Factory", IMHO, of course

CarltonBrowne the FO
1st May 2003, 08:41
I'm a big fan of Iain Banks (and his alter-ego, the science fiction writer Iain M Banks), but agree Lovecraft is a more chilling horror writer. The horrors Banks writes about tend to be human...

1st May 2003, 08:48
1. R W Lee: "Elements of Roman Law";

2. W W Jacobs: "The Monkey's Paw";

3. William March: "The Bad Seed" (book even more horrifying than the 1957 movie).

Seaweed Knees
1st May 2003, 17:01
FFF, each to his own.
I just find his books very readable.

tony draper
1st May 2003, 17:15
We were discusing a particular Ghost story by M R James on another website, called "Whistle and I'll come to you"
It was about a chap on holiday who finds a old bone flute, in a graveyard,with the words "Quis est qui venit" carved upon it , of course the chap plays a couple of notes on the instrument with terrifying results.
I remember this was made into a television Drama in the late sixties, long before the advent of spectacular special effects or computer graphics, it was one of the most freightening pieces of television I have ever watched, just the suggested horror, not the in your face monsters the computer and special effets guys produce now.


1st May 2003, 17:54
I'm not sure if it really qualifies as a horror story, but The Picture of Dorian Gray always gave me the creeps. Likewise Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide.

1st May 2003, 18:10
For his time, Mr E A Poe wrote some good stories.

1st May 2003, 18:29
More ghost story than horror, but M R James is definitely the best.

Another one that scared me - has anyone seen the film of Susan Hill's "The Woman in Black"? It was on tv years ago, but I've not seen it since. Scared me to death.

Anthony Carn
1st May 2003, 18:46
One of the most memorable individual horror stories I can recall was a story by Harlan Ellison....

"I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream".

A long time since I've read it, but if I recall correctly, six prisoners of an evil, malfunctioning supercomputer are contained within its innards, kept alive for more than their normal lifespan and tortured for the computer's amusement.

The last chapter describes the horrific situation of the final prisoner, generating the line "I have no mouth and I must scream". :eek:

1st May 2003, 19:18
The old TV version of M.R.James' "Whistle and I'll come to you" is out on DVD. The BFI have been releasing a few of the old BBC horror dramatisations (which typically the BBC themselves have ignored), such as M.R. James' "A Warning To The Curious", Charles Dickens' "The Signalman", and the scary and never ever repeated on telly "The Stone Tape" by Nigel Kneale.


Have to agree with the Lovecraft nomination. Have to suggest Robert W. Chambers's 'King in Yellow' short stories which were something of an influence on Lovecraft, and some Ambrose Bierce short stories such as 'The Death Of Halpin Frayser" (and his 'Devil's Dictonary' has bits which hold up even today).
William Hope Hodgson's "Carnacki The Ghost Finder" is quite good, a consulting ghostbuster telling stories of his latest adventures to his friends over dinner. Best thing about those stories is that some of the tales turn out to be people playing tricks and not ghosts at all.

M.R.James is always worth reading, of course, and likewise Poe - Poe is credited with practically inventing the detective story with 'the Murder In The Rue Morgue'.
(And you just have to love the Simpsons version of 'The Raven' !)

I find a lot of modern horror fiction I really don't like at all.
Christopher Fowler's stuff is great, from his earlier stories featuring detectives Bryant and May (Where do you think up these names?) and his later urban horrors such as Psychoville which features the classic line "Croydon. The very word sent a shiver down his spine".

1st May 2003, 20:39
James Herbert - NO imagination required

1st May 2003, 22:23
Roald Dahl. Banged his head dead-stick landing a Gladiator in the desert during the war and it twisted him just the right amount to keep a reader on the edge.

He also wrote pretty neat children's stories too - but Enid Blyton wouldn't have liked them. :hmm:

Through difficulties to the cinema

2nd May 2003, 05:42
"A pinched nerve, a twisted ganglion"

50000 points for anyone who can remember the origin of that quote and stop me tearing my hair out.

tony draper
2nd May 2003, 05:46
No other info Synthetic??a book,? a poem? a movie?.

2nd May 2003, 06:06
Think it might have been on the box. Pre-amble to a series of E. A. Poe stories or something similar

2nd May 2003, 06:24
Sir J M Barrie: "Farewell, Miss Julie Logan".

Heard dramatised version on Saturday Night Theatre, BBC Home Service (radio, or more properly "wireless"), winter, 1943. Terrifying.

2nd May 2003, 19:20
Montague Rhodes is fantastic. I remember doing an essay for university on 3 of his ghost stories in 2001- The Ash Tree, Count Magnus, and Oh- Whistle and I'll Come to You.

I loved the spiders. I just about trimmed every single tree in the garden. And that poor cat!!! :sad:

SixStarAnsett :ooh:

3rd May 2003, 02:59
can't remember the Author now, but in a book called Supernatural Steam there is a (alledgedly true) story set on a preserved welsh steam line, called Hag of the Night . About an old monster that often appears whenever there is a disaster. Or the Story about Old Uncle Tom, who finds an old skull that eventually drives him to suicide, and is discovered by a young boy who decides to keep it.

Also, i found "The Sixth Sense" quite chilling for a film, i guess a lot of it was due to the way you only ever saw glimpses of the ghosts.


3rd May 2003, 15:07


Once upon a midnight dreary, fingers cramped and vision bleary,
System manuals piled high and wasted paper on the floor,
Longing for the warmth of bedsheets,
Still I sat there, doing spreadsheets:
Having reached the bottom line,
I took a floppy from the drawer.
Typing with a steady hand, I then invoked the SAVE command
But got instead a reprimand: it read "Abort, Retry, Ignore"

Was this some occult illusion? Some maniacal intrusion?
These were choices Solomon himself had never faced before.
Carefully, I weighed the options.
These three seemed to be the top ones.
Clearly, I must now adopt one:
Choose Abort, Retry, Ignore...

With my fingers pale and trembling
Slowly toward the keyboard bending,
Longing for a happy ending, hoping all would be restored,
Praying for some guarantee
Finally I pressed a key --
But on the screen what did I see?
Again: "Abort, Retry, Ignore."

I tried to catch the chips off-guard --
I pressed again, but twice as hard
Luck was just not in the cards.
I saw what I had seen before.
Now I typed in desperation
Trying random combinations
Still there came the incantation:
Choose: Abort, Retry, Ignore.

There I sat, distraught, exhausted by my own machine accosted
Getting up I turned away and paced across the office floor.
And then I saw an awful sight:
A bold and blinding flash of light --
A ligtning bolt had cut the night and shook me to my core
I saw the screen collapse and die: No No, my database I cried
I thought I heard a voice reply,
"You'll see your data NEVERMORE!

To this day I do not know
The place to which lost data goes
I bet it goes to heaven where the angels have it stored.
But as for productivity, well
I fear that it goes straight to hell
And that's the tale I have to tell