I have always liked scary stories. Television shows such as The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits would captivate me and cause my heart to race – and make my siblings flee the room in terror! Late night showings of classic horror films like The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Frankenstein were certain to leave me happily sleep deprived.
I once walked home alone after a midnight screening of Dawn of the Dead because no one else would see it with me.
My introduction to Stephen King was through the television miniseries ‘Salem’s Lot and the motion picture The Shining. I enjoyed the strange and surreal takes on vampires and hauntings. When I was introduced to his printed works, I became a Constant Reader, as King himself likes to refer to his lifelong fans. It begins much like a King tale in itself...
At thirteen years old while dog sitting for a friend’s family, I discovered a copy of Carrie on the book shelf. Recognizing the author's name, I settled in for a good scary read. Carrie White's story left quite an impression on me – this odd girl and her strange power, her scary mother and her twisted antics, the bullying gone too far and the inevitable revenge gloriously exacted. I certainly bonded with my friend’s Brittney Spaniel that night and still recall her name – Brandy!
So, to celebrate a young reader's newfound fandom, and to count down to Halloween, here is a list of 13 of my favorite Stephen King tales. I hope you find something to fright and delight!
Carrie: The first of many, the first for me, too!
The Shining: An excellent example that if a movie is good, the book is usually better.
The Dead Zone: An ordinary man thrust into extraordinary circumstances with twists only King could imagine.
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption: Sometimes the movie is as good as the book.
The Long Walk: I remember shaking with excitement and fear when I finished this story for the first time.
The Body: My favorite coming of age story – classic King!
Pet Sematary: Cited as ‘The Most Frightening Story Stephen King Has Ever Written’ – it is definitely one of his darkest…
The Stand: This story made me fall in love with apocalyptic and dystopian fiction.
Misery: Annie Wilkes makes Nurse Rachett seem like a Girl Scout!
The Talisman (with Peter Straub): Two incredible authors' imaginations result in an amazing journey into fantastic worlds!
The Drawing of the Three: My favorite of the Dark Tower series. We meet some very memorable characters in very memorable ways.
The Green Mile: I actually gasped when I read this – if you’ve read the book or seen the movie, you know what I mean…
Secret Window, Secret Garden (from Four Past Midnight): A deliciously wicked tale with a wickedly delicious twist!