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Westerly Sun Column

Spooky Books and Movies

‘Tis the season for spooky things, and we’ve got heaps of them at the library!

First off, let’s talk movies. Are you a fan of classics, like “The Exorcist”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, or Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”? We’ve got them all. Unfortunately, there have not been many new movies released on DVD this year due to COVID, but there are plenty of greats ones from the last few years. Jordan Peele wrote and directed two horror hits: “Get Out” (2017) and “Us” (2019), both of which received nearly universal acclaim. The 2019 psychological thriller “The Lighthouse” was also nominated for numerous awards, including Best Cinematography at the 2020 Academy Awards. Though not strictly speaking a horror film, we also recommend the South Korean award-winner, “Parasite”.

If you have Netflix, you’ve surely seen that The Haunting of Bly Manor, the second installment of “The Haunting” television series, has been trending. The show was loosely inspired on the work of Henry James, and particularly his 1898 novella “The Turn of the Screw”. The first show in the series, “The Haunting of Hill House” is also based on a 1959 gothic novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson. And, spoiler alert (not really), we have them both at the library…along with other books that inspired movies, such as “I'm Thinking of Ending Things” by Iain Reid, “The Shining” by Stephen King, “Flowers in the Attic” by V. C. Andrews, and so many more.

When it comes to books, there have been plenty of great ones published this year. Let’s start with legendary horror writer Stephen King, who recently released “If It Bleeds”, a collection of four previously unpublished novellas. Though I haven’t listened to it, I’ve been told that the audiobook (also available at the library) is exceptional. For something a bit different, “Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a delightfully creepy gothic horror set in 1950’s Mexico, which has been highly praised by critics since coming out in June. “The Only Good Indians” by Stephen Graham Jones follows four American Indian friends that are haunted by a supernatural entity from their youth. Jones, a Blackfeet Native American and talented author, manages to combine classic horror along with powerful social commentary, for a truly unforgettable book. A couple of other notable titles are “The Boatman’s Daughter” by Andy Davidson, and “Devolution” by Max Brooks, the author of “World War Z”.

Fans of Young Adult literature (a category loved as much by adults as teens!) have plenty to choose from as well. Adam Cesare’s highly anticipated slasher “Clown in a Cornfield” will prove once and for all that clowns are, indeed, absolutely terrifying.  “Harrow Lake” by Kat Ellis is a less gory – but equally chilling – story about the daughter of a horror film director who thinks she’s afraid of nothing, until she visits Harrow Lake. And our Teen Book Club choice this month is “Sawkill Girls” by Claire Legrand, which we will be discussing on November 5th!


By Cassie Skobrak, Reference Librarian