Sunday, October 14, 2012

Good Ghosts for October

October is my favorite month. The weather finally turns cool, for Phoenix anyway. The nights come quicker and the moon gets its groove on, especially on cloudy nights. October is also the month for horror stories. I like my horror in all manner of styles. This month  I'll be posting about some of my favorite horror that I've read and seen as well as some I'd like to discover for myself.

Dover Publications, Inc. 1964
Best Ghost Stories of J.S. Le Fanu is a perfect book for October. This edition contains Le Fanu's best known tales, including "Carmilla" and "Green Tea" in addition to "The Haunted Baronet" and "The Familiar," "The Dead Sexton," "Shalken the Painter" and others. "Carmilla" alone is a classic and deserves to be read by any fan of horror, especially of the vampire variety. The terrific cover above illustrates a scene from "Carmilla." Not just a cool vampire tale, but an early, early lesbian vampire tale. Consider what a kick this would have been when read by candlelight back in the day. It's still a kick now. Another nice thing about this book is that it's illustrated throughout. Well okay, maybe it's not chock-full 'o illustrations, but it has some pictures you can spook the kiddies with.

I have to admit that I haven't read all of the stories in this collection but I've read many of them. They're leisurely paced, not your thrill-ride horror that is expected today. Still, that hardly takes the fun out of them.

There are many editions of Le Fanu's stories out there to pick from. Probably the easiest to find is In a Glass Darkly which contains some of the stories collected here. Also, much of Le Fanu's works can be obtained through eReaders and libraries for free. And if you're in the mood for something longer, I would also recommend his novel Uncle Silas which contains a young heiress, an evil governess, a brutal villain, locked room murders, and an increasingly smothering sense of dread. You've always wondered why the sound of rattling chains is supposed to be scary, right?

No comments:

Post a Comment