Friday, October 30, 2015

Top 20 Horror Novels - #2) 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King (from 1975)

Not only am I ranking my Top 20 Horror Movies for you this October, but I'm doing likewise with the scary books that I hold near and dear.  As with the movies that I'm discussing in that Top 20, I'm not attempting to rank these novels based on their place in pop culture, but rather their place in my heart.  Isn't that sweet?  Seriously, there are some fine books that didn't make the cut here because there just wasn't room, and there are definitely some well-regarded books that didn't make the cut because I don't really like them.  That also means there are some personal favorites of mine on this list that you may not have heard of.  If that's the case, I promise that I'll reward your trust with a gnarly tale if you give one of them a spin.  Finally, I may have shortchanged some of the titans in the genre (hey there, Stephen King) as I didn't want to overload this list with titles by the same author, though Uncle Stevie did manage to score three direct hits on my list.

The list thus far:

#20) Amok by George Fox (from 1980) 
#19) Manstopper by Douglas Borton (from 1988)
#18) Intensity by Dean Koontz (from 1995)

#17) The Terror by Dan Simmons (from 2007) 
#16) The Snake by John Godey (from 1978)
#15) Son of the Endless Night by John Farris (from 1985)
#14) Rockinghorse by William W. Johnstone (from 1986) 
#13) Vampire$ by John Steakley (from 1990)
#12) Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg (from 1978)
#11) Christine by Stephen King (from 1983)
#10) The Manitou by Graham Masterton (from 1975)
#9) At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft (from 1936)
#8) All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By by John Farris (from 1977)
#7) Hell House by Richard Matheson (from 1971)
#6) The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (from 1971)
#5) I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (from 1954)
#4) The Stand by Stephen King (from 1978)
#3) Jaws by Peter Benchley (from 1974)

Top 20 Horror Novels - #2) 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King (from 1975)

'Salem’s Lot was Stephen King’s second published novel, and even the master himself has gone on record as stating that it is his favorite.  Ben Mears is a fabulous hero, maybe the finest protagonist aside from Roland that King’s fertile mind has given birth to, and the town of Jerusalem’s Lot is so well-defined and utterly fascinating that it becomes a character in and of itself.  As this masterpiece unfolds, we come to know and love both the characters and the setting for this dark epic.  By the time the tale draws to a close, nearly all of the players and the town itself have suffered a grisly fate.  This is just my kind of book: King takes his time with the story, building a strong foundation before unleashing hell in a frantic third act that takes no prisoners.  No one is safe in ‘Salem’s Lot, and the action is both brutal and realistic, giving the supernatural yarn an air of authenticity.  The basic premise is rooted in the absurd, yet this feels like a poignant character study of the highest order.  If I’m gushing, that’s probably because I truly love this book.  I read it every year, typically in the fall, and it only seems to grow larger and more wonderful each time I return to 'Salem's Lot.  It's the type of book that I would recommend to those who don’t really care for stories about things that go bump in the night as well as those who cherish the horror genre as much as I do.  I have often said that King’s work is typically equal parts blood-curdling terror and thoughtful meditation on American culture.  This 1975 smash hit is no exception, and I believe it stands as the maestro’s finest hour. 

No comments:

Post a Comment