Ghosts, werewolves and witches have been an undeniably large part of classic and modern literature since the dawn of writing. There is something that is both invigorating and disturbing about a good horror novel that has you sleeping with all the lights on. Every Halloween, there are hoards of books released to commoditize and celebrate the holiday, and this year does not fail to impress.
The Case Against Satan was first printed in 1962 as one of the thousands of pulp novels available during the era. Ray Russell’s novel weaves the story of a timeless entity that has possessed a teen called Susan Garth, the battle between the more traditional Bishop Crimmings who wishes to exorcise the demon and the rationalistic Father Gregory, who believes that possession is a case of psychosis and questioning whether Satan or God really do exist. Fans of Blatty’s classic horror movie The Exorcist will find the book especially enjoyable for its building tension.
Charles Beaumont’s Perchance to Dream features a collection of stories, many of which were readapted into episodes in the popular TV series The Twilight Zone. Although he died young, his strange fiction with its stranger twists and unpredictable endings have earned him have earned him a place in history the name of a gothic horror master. Stories like Beautiful People, Place of Meeting and The New People all showcase Beaumont’s ability to challenge our visual perception and what we consider the norm, driving home his points with gentle patience or with brash force.
For many people, the name Thomas Ligotti is synonymous with the plagiarization issue the TV series True Detective’s suffered, which only goes to show that the man was well ahead of his time. Drawing inspiration from the masters of the unreal and disturbing, Ligotti’s short stories will have a strong whiff of the eerie, cold tension from Edgar Allan Poe’s work and the unnatural, contorted architecture that is a staple of H. P. Lovecraft’s work. His works are filled with perverse humour, madness and are definitely not for the faint of heart.