5 Flavors of Haunted House

September 13, 2016


I am a soul of varying tastes. Typically, I like things spooky. I like the unlikely chills of the supernatural made realistic. I like haunted houses. Reading about haunted houses anyway.

It is not a stretch to suggest that Mr. Stephen King wrote a near-perfect haunted house tale with The Shining, nor is it a stretch to suggest that Mr. Stanley Kubrick twisted the hell out of said novel to make a near-perfect haunted house film.

However, a soul cannot survive on steak alone.

And now... five haunted house-ish tales of different flavors:

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

A tale with an eerie vibe jumping back and forth through history. The brand of horror in this particular book is dread. It has chills and mystery, told with a YA-esque feathering to scenarios and scenes, though detracting little or nothing from the story. Wonderful imagery with bonus points for multi-generational atmospheres successfully plucking at the same terror chords.


Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco

Written with open-faced fear in mind. A mystery hides and demands at the epicenter of evil and folks succumb to the whims of the home. Vibes are not all that different from The Shining (this predates King’s masterpiece) and yet, this story offers a taste all its own. Bonus points for a quality adaptation. Burgess Meredith plays a fantastically peculiar character and the film’s climax is fantastic.​

Hell House by Richard Matheson

In your face and flashing its weaponry, this story has claws and knows how to use them. Along a similar vein of visitation for scientific study that took folks to Jackson’s Hill House, this story takes a mean left and screams with sex and repugnance as its most pronounced tools. Extra thumbs up for the terrifying use of walls, door and ectoplasm, oh and the bog… and the Jesus...


The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

If ever there was a terror that invades and pervades like a gentle breeze only to consume a reader like a tornado, it is this story. Wrenching and slow, the dread and discomfort mounts until it’s too late. What was outside is suddenly within, feasting on the weaknesses of humanity. This book spawned countless bad, yet fun, horror movies and influenced generations of horror authors for years to come.​

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

A collection of shorts wrapped together like a disfigured modern-day Canterbury Tales, Chuck Palahniuk works every worldly angle of horror to revolt, terrorize and through kernels rot into the guts of the reading. Written in a distinct and impactful voice, these strung together tales work to serve the greater good. Au naturel, these scares are built on insecurities; let us celebrate the horrors lurking inside our souls and desires.​

This short recommendation list was plucked from the dozen or so haunted house-ish novels I've read few years. I'm sure I'm missing some great stories, feel free to Tweet (@UnnervingMag) me something I've overlooked, I love me a good spook house tale.

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Powell River, British Columbia, Canada
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