Friday, October 23, 2015

Top 20 Horror Novels - #8) All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By by John Farris (from 1977)

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)

Top 20 Horror Novels - #8) All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By by John Farris (from 1977)

Incredibly strange, incredibly perverse, and incredibly terrifying, All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By is my favorite horror novel from John Farris.  I raved about this vastly underrated author when I discussed Son of the Endless Night, but I think it bears repeating: no one is as daring and as twisted as this marvelous talent who delights in yanking the rug out from under his readers.  Shocking twists, startling revelations, and intense depictions of stark and relentless horror are the norm in his novels.  Few of his works are as potent as this bizarre yet inviting saga that is elevated by the author's gift for sensational plotting and his sterling prose.  The opening details the worst wedding of all time and stands as one of the most frightening sequences that Farris has ever written, and things only get darker and stranger as this tale progresses.  A proud southern family is undone by sinister forces with a terrible need for vengeance in this wild and jarring ride.  Voodoo, snakes, and madness are at the forefront throughout, and there is a strong sexual element to the novel that surely pushes the envelope.  Intriguing characters, dangerous situations, and a wealth of demonic carnage keep things lively even as the book grows wilder and more bizarre with every page that is turned.  Indeed, while there are a great many who cherish this tale as much as yours truly, there are also a great many who found the novel too perplexing or too sensational--or both!  I can't recommend All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By highly enough, nor can I say enough about John Farris, an extremely talented author who never fails to deliver the goods.

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