Horror has been a part of human culture since the dawn of time. We’ve always told stories of fear, mortality, morbidity, and existential struggle, perhaps as a way of dealing with their existence in our real lives. It’s easy to feel a connection to fear when you’re a caveman (caveperson?) whose entire world is out to get you. These feelings seem to be universal across time and culture. Monsters like vampires, werewolves, and ghouls exist in every corner of the world. They seem to be an inescapable part of our collective consciousness.
That being said, I’ve never called myself a horror fan. In fact, for most of my life I would have said the opposite. I’ve gone out of my way to actively avoid horror movies, because I’m well, scared of being scared. As a kid, even just the commercials for The Ring and The Grudge prompted many sleepless nights. I doubt I have a brave bone in my body. But as I look back on the last few years of the stories that connect with me, the stories I seem to write, I’ve noticed a trend. There’s a lot of horror. I think maybe I actually love horror? Despite avoiding it for most of my adult life. I love the creepy, the mysterious, sometimes even the morbid (I went through a true crime phase like the best of us).
Horror speaks to our primordial lizard brains in a way that many other genres can’t. It gets to the gut and gives us a way to experience the fear, tragedy, and grief that surrounds our everyday life in a safe and removed way. Particularly horror in books, as the stuff on the big screen can get a little too real for some of us. When you think of stories that make you feel something, horror tops the list. It may not always be enjoyable, but it is always thrilling. And horror comics? The breadth of storytelling and chill inducing vibes is endless. So as a newly self-proclaimed horror fan, here’s a list of my 13 top bone-chilling reads sure to keep you up all night.