This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through one of my links, I’ll get a dime or so. And then you should give me brownies for introducing you to such awesome books.
I’ve loved Stephen King since I read IT at 12 years old. Yes, way too early but that was 25 years ago (holy God) so that ship has sailed. I’m trying really hard to not get my hopes up about the movie remake because Tim Curry absolutely WAS Pennywise, but the trailers look like they might have caught that creep factor even without him. We’ll see.
Steve (I call him Steve, we’re pals) has written something like 64546 books and short stories. “The Master of the Macabre” doesn’t get that title by writing fairy tales. His stories are often dark, twisted, and edge into the territory of downright brutal at times. The scary bits are only a fraction of what I love about his writing though. Way beyond shock factor, you get characters that you fall in love with. They’re real people in your head and when the book ends, you miss them.
The stories I’ve loved the most are the ones that could absolutely happen. Like Misery. Holy crap. If Tim Curry was Pennywise, Kathy Bates was the embodiment of Annie Wilkes. *Spoiler alert – if you haven’t seen or read Misery and have somehow never heard what happens, stop reading. Or skip ahead or whatever. But you’ve been warned. OH MY GOD that hobbling scene. Gut clenching. No, that’s cool. Just gimme a quick little glance at those mutilated legs and feet. Don’t worry, my brain will fill in the rest. Shit.
But I digress
So anyway…his books that creep me out the most, that my mind keeps coming back to, are the ones that have a good solid basis in real life scary shit. Like Misery. Like Cujo or The Stand or The Long Walk. That one was like having front row seats to an execution. I wanted to stop. I didn’t want to know how far that was going to go because it was entirely too real. I couldn’t stop though because I was IN the story, I was in the main character’s head. I haven’t touched that bad boy in years and it will still come to me out of nowhere – just that feeling of desperation and plodding and seriously just read the damn book.
The Stand is the epitome of my version of a good scary story. It’s got everything; genuine characters, cataclysm, good guys, bad guys, and a pretty awesome mixture of reality and the supernatural. I love it. But the thing is, it could totally happen. Well, the first part of it anyway. *Spoiler alert again. I 100% believe there lies the potential for most of human life to be wiped out by a sickness. The flu virus changes every year, did you know that? It mutates and shifts and builds resistance and there’s no cure. Cool huh?
So this is pretty much constantly in my head. Not that the world is about to end, but that tragedy happens every day and there really is no protection from it. Illness, bullies, psycho crazy #1 fans, rabid dogs, clowns…I could do this all day. But I’m not. Because that would be morbid.
Scenario: my kid gets sick. Totally normal, everyday thing, right? Right. Except in MY mind, it’s probably the onset of the Superflu. Like right now, she’s laying beside me on the sofa, coughing her poor little head off while I’m helpless to do anything. She’s on antibiotics and has had Motrin and Robitussin, on day 4 of a fever, humidifier running, Baby Rub on her chest, cool washcloth on her head, and it breaks my heart to not be able to fix it. But instead of just worrying like a normal mom, I have to see the whole thing play out in my mind where she doesn’t get better and I’m grief stricken on the news talking about how it was only supposed to be an ear infection. It gets worse from there.
Friends to the end
You’d think I’d stop reading horror stories, right? You’d think I’d break up with ol’ Steve and stick to whatsherface with all the romance novels or comics or something. But no. Totally not going to happen. My brain does what it does and it’s going to go to those dark places, with or without guidance. Seeing as how that’s the case, I’d rather not go there alone. I’ll continue to bring Jack and Mother Abigail and Carrie and Annie and Delores (Kathy Bates again) and Roland with me. Always Roland. <3
“Go then. There are other worlds than these.”