My love of horror, like with most fans, started at a very early age. But my personal obsession of all things spooky and strange didn’t grow from VHS tapes and weekend night TV. Rather, books played a major role in my fondness for fear, and continue to do so.
Of course I grew up reading Goosebumps and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but there were quite a few children’s and young adult books outside of these literary franchises that gave me the proper creeps! So walk with me down memory lane, and feel free to drop me a line if you too ever read any of these PG horror tales!
Camp Zombie by Megan & H. William Stine: I need to buy this somewhere because, honestly, I don’t remember much of it. Know what I do remember? Finishing the book and then having a nightmare that I was at a summer camp, trying to escape a wave of zombies coming out of a lake. Fuck. That. Shit.
Night of the Werewolf by Edward Packard: This Choose Your Own Nightmare book read like a youthful 80’s horror, but I remember getting upset and spooked when I made a choice and wound up trying to escape from a werewolf cop…
Fade by Robert Cormier: Cormier has always been known as a novelist who tested the boundaries of what was acceptable when it came to young adult literature. His books have even been banned in some places! Fade, my favorite novel of his, follows a young boy who discovers he can become invisible, and the touches upon themes of incest and predation.
The Beasties by William Sleator: Backwoods horror for children, the novel follows two siblings who discover humanoid creatures living in the woods that require human body part “donations” to stay alive.
House of Stairs by William Sleator: Another by Sleator, this novel was more an intense psychological drama than horror, but jarring none-the-less. Even the short premise, about a group of kids suddenly finding themselves in a plain room full of stairs, is worthy of The Twilight Zone.
The Overnight by RL Stine: A crime story wrapped in a horror story, it reminded me a bit of I Know What You Did Last Summer, though I personally found it more enjoyable than Lois Duncan’s novel.
Monster by Christopher Pike: Pike wrote quiet a few YA genre novels, coming in just behind Stine I’d wager, but Monster was always my favorite for being very distinctly horror. It opens with a teenage girl committing a massacre at a house party, claiming to only be killing monsters, and just gets stranger from there.
So what you got folks? Did you too love these kiddie horror tales? Or did different ones creep you out as a child? Drop me a line because for all I know, there could be a few that frightened me so much that I’ve simply just forced myself to forget! (Disclaimer: You’ll be covering any therapy costs. Thanks.)