Monday, July 29, 2013

My Top Ten Horror novels of all time! Number #3 Clive Barker's short masterpiece!

My Number three is:

I enjoy doing top ten lists and I have meant to do this one for awhile. The art of the horror novel is a very special one for me. My first horror novel that I remember reading was The Stand by Stephen King, it was my seventh grade year(I still have that copy which has note in the inside cover to do a Social Studies report!). Skeleton Crew by King and Clive Barker's Books of Blood had a bigger impact on me personally were talking novels at the moment. Over the years I have grown to love the feeling of closing the book on a well written horror novel.

Generally you have been taken on a journey, often it is one filled with terror. The most important elements often come from well defined characters. For a horror novel to work to have to either care about the characters or imagine yourself in the shoes of the character. No story can be scary if you can't imagine yourself in the moment with the characters.

Imagine for a moment you lying in bed at 2 AM and someone starts to bang on the door. You will likely go to the door confused and sacred. In a novel that might not seem to be a scary moment but if you put yourself in the moment it will scare you. These are novels I find scary, and why. You may have read them already, and if not I hope you'll check them out. Leave a comment tell me what you think I missed.

David Agranoff is the author of two published novels the Wuxia Pan style horror fantasy crossover "Hunting The Moon Tribe," and the satire "The Vegan Revolution With Zombies. He is also the author of the Wonderland award short story collection "Screams From a Dying World." His next novel Bootboys of the Wolf-Reich is due to be released soon by Deadite press.

Number 10: (tie) Testament by David Morrell & The Girl next Door by Jack Ketchum

Number 9: A Perfect Union by Cody Goodfellow

Number 8: The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner

Number 7: The Keep (Adversary cycle #1) by F.Paul Wilson

Number 6 : Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z.Brite

Number 5 is: What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson.

Number 4 is The Shining by Stephen King

Number three is Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker: Again there are many novels by Barker that could make the list. While better known as the source of Barker's first film Hellraiser this short novel is a classic for good reason. Barker was a revolutionary as far as horror developed in the late 80’s however most of that creative energy came from his short stories collected over six collections called the Books of Blood(In the U.S. the last three Inhuman Condition,In the Flesh and Cabal). The largest impact this story had was in the film written and directed by Barker himself.

Is this short novel Barker’s best? I am huge fan of the Great and Secret show and it’s sequel Everville. Those are both horror novels but more dark fantasy. For me ‘Hellbound heart’ just barely edges out his debut The Damnation Game as his best horror novel. After careful consider I placed Hellbound Heart right here for good reason.

The greatest strength of this novel and Barker's work in general is that is creative and like nothing else. Not since Lovecraft has an author created such an intense and original mythology. The thing is Barker has done several times (The book of the art novels, Imajica). Just as the characters open the puzzle box and enter the mystical world of the cenobites. This is an original demonic world, beyond the bizarre look of the demons, to the way interface with our world. The bizarre sexuality, the creepy family dynamic, the haunted old house setting.

The characters are strong, Kirsty stands in for us the one person trying to hold on to sanity in this insane world. While the films has lessened the impact of Cenobites, but they are quite scary creatures. Uncle Frank and the wicked step-mother are perhaps the most frightening monsters in the piece.

This is the most pure horror as Barker has ever did in a longer work. It blends his psycho sexuality, fantastic mythology and strong characters. If you read it now try not to think of the film, as great as it is the awful sequels have watered down it's impact. It was revolutionary horror for it’s time. That makes it the third best horror novel ever in my opinion.

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