Halloween Reads: The Monsters Within Us

Human Horror!

"We all go a little mad sometimes...haven't you?"

Here’s our last booklist before Halloween, dear readers.  Today we’re focusing on the most varied, most ingenious, and most dangerous monster of them all: Homo Sapiens.

We’ve done posts about ghosts, werewolves, and vampires so far, so what next? Why not zombies, you ask?  (easy: zombie fatigue)  Or perhaps demons?  Or aliens?

I thought about all of those, and I realized: human beings are scarier.

We are the collective imagination from whence all horror is born.  We invented zombies.  We came up with werewolves.  We are haunted by ghosts.   Every time a vampire finds a different supernatural power, we’re the ones who give it to him.  When werewolves rip up victims in new and interesting ways, we’re the ones who tell them how.   Aliens get their ideas for experiments and conquering the world from us, demons are born of our own fears.

Michael Myers from the slasher flick "Halloween."

For all of the ghost stories and tales of monsters that we tell, nothing is more terrifying than what humans have done to other humans throughout history.   Every idea in a serial killer novel, in a gory movie–some human imagination came up with it.  In this our more enlightened age we know the psychology and the science.  Sociopaths.  Psychopaths.  Warning signs and triggers, forensic psychology.

Vlad III, whose exploits make those of his fictional namesake, Count Dracula, look exceedingly tame.

Knowing the science does not make the reality any less gruesome or horrifying.  Which is why our last booklist today focuses on psychological horror, serial killers, and the horror that might dwell next door.  Or in ourselves.

Here’s our list of novels that will strike terror into your heart.   Monster Librarian, as ever, also has a great list of “Human Monsters.”  And we’d better warn you–approach these books with caution, because they are often extremely graphic and disturbing.  We want to scare you this Halloween, but not damage you irreparably.

Be careful out there.  You never know what (or who) might be lurking in the dark.

Happy Halloween!

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