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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Five horror stories to read for October


    Courtesy of Harper & Row

    Some of the greatest horror stories haunt you when you least expect it. If you’re looking for a good scare or haunting tale, here are a few books to pull down from the shelves for Halloween, all of which will leave you utterly disturbed.

    1. “*BD* 11 1 86”  by Joyce Carol Oates

    If you have not read anything by Oates, you definitely should — and don’t be picky. She has a lot of work to choose from. A writer from the mid-20th century, she continues to write in a prolific manner and win numerous awards. But this story stands out because the protagonist is essentially being primed to an unsavory fate of, spoiler, being a body donor. The unsavory part stems from how he was allowed to live until he was 18 so that his body could be used for another. Someone else’s consciousness or brain will replace his own, and he will then cease to exist. His very being and identity become meaningless. What’s worse is that his parents and the adults are in on the whole thing.

    2. “The Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris

    Maybe you’ve seen the movie, right? The FBI asks imprisoned psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter for help. It sends FBI trainee Clarice Starling to Lecter’s dungeon to wrestle with the devil in a race against time to stop serial killer Buffalo Bill. If you were a fan of the cinematic chemistry between Lecter and Starling, then this book is for you. It is a strange mix of the captivating and eerie. There are subtle moments between the two in the book that would send chills down one’s spine if they were put on screen. But the whole Buffalo Bill thing and the woman suit is fleshed out much more, and it’s not pretty.

    3. “The Exorcist” by William Peter Blatty

    The book and film adaptation have made memorable impacts on pop culture. If you’re unfamiliar with the plot, long story short: A demon takes possession of a young girl, wreaking havoc on her family until a Jesuit priest attempts to exorcise the demon — with disastrous consequences for all involved. Consequences including a 360-degree head-turn, a waterfall of vomit and heroic self-sacrifices. The fright also comes from the theme of religious conflict, at stake of an innocent life, and the existential crisis that lingers at the back of your mind.

    4. “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka

    In this book, the reader isn’t exactly sure what the author means by metamorphosis: Is it physical or psychological? The protagonist Gregor Samsa is a salesman that wakes up one morning to find himself transforming into a monstrous insect. As the days pass, his physical features and mannerisms slowly change until he is withdrawn into himself. His family, concerned for him, visits and witnesses — to their horror — his transformation. Warning: If you don’t like bugs, the insect interpretation may unease you. In the end, it’s unclear what is worse: the transformation into a bug, or the maltreatment of another living thing.

    5. “2BR02B” by Kurt Vonnegut

    Vonnegut’s book is not in-your-face horrific or gory, and it seems a bit like science fiction. But it is one that lingers in the back of your mind and perhaps even more so with today’s medical advancements. It also makes one question their own morality. The book concerns a society where aging is no longer an issue, and population control has been conquered through infanticide and assisted suicide. No one really dies unless they volunteer to die to make room for the next baby being born. Vonnegut raises the difficult question of what happens when you have triplets and only have room for one in the world.


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