The dark side of books

Sunday 3rd September 2017 3:17 pm
Christopher Lee

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With the imminent release of the new film adaptation of the Stephen King classic It, we thought it might be a good time to take a look at scary books.

The aforementioned novel is, of course, right up there. Early indications are that the film itself will live up to expectations.

Stephen King is a master of horror, of course, and the vampire tale Salem’s Lot is certainly excellent in providing a chill factor.

It’s the kind of read-under-the-covers book that you never grow out of.

But the world of horror and scary stories is a vast one, with many different styles. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is as much a commentary on the fear of change as it is a tale of a monster.

It also asks the very poignant question of who really is the monster.

Dracula by Bram Stoker is, of course, the ultimate vampire tale.

It uses the trick of telling the tale from many viewpoints and its creeping sense of something sinister looming still works today.

There have been many film adaptations, of varying degrees of quality, but Christopher Lee will be, for many, the archetypal count.

In many ways, however, the black and white movie Nosferatu, which was not allowed to use the name Dracula, is the mightiest big screen version of horror’s greatest anti-hero.

The Silence of the Lambs is something of a cross-over between horror and crime, but the depiction of Hannibal Lecter in this novel and its predecessor, Red Dragon, created one of the greatest modern monsters in literature.

Unlike the third novel, Hannibal, in the first two books, Thomas Harris keeps Lecter as a looming presence in the background, manipulating the minds and actions of others.

Rather like Count Dracula, he overshadows everything that happens and becomes central as the story reaches its conclusion.

If you like your horror to be on the weird side, you should check out Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury.

It might make you think twice before visiting a travelling funfair or circus.

A lot of the above may be a little grown up for younger readers, but there are plenty of scary stories out there that are suitable.

The Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine are among the best-known and there are plenty of short story anthologies that are targeted at the younger readers.

Lots of the familiar tropes - ghosts, vampires, werewolves - appeal to the younger reader and there are plenty of stories out there which are suitable for younger readers.

But if you need any guidance, do not hesitate to ask any of our staff at the Family Library service.

The Family Library is next to the children’s playground in Westmoreland Road, Douglas.

To keep up to date on events and to find out more about the services available, check out the Family Library page on Facebook or visit or call the library on 640650.

by The Family Library



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