A Penny Down the Well: A Short Story Collection of Horrifying Events

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An over-the-hill rock star buys a haunted suit on the Internet. World War Z by Max Brooks Zombie fiction has never come close to the cultural impact and artistic importance of zombie cinema, until World War Z came along.

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He shows us how the infection could realistically spread around the globe thanks to human trafficking. He shows us how modern militaries could possibly be defeated via poor planning and mass defections. He shows us how society might be after 90 percent of humanity has been killed and an uneasy rebuilding period has begun. The Other by Thomas Tryon Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist With shades of Carrie , Little Star does little to dissuade that similarity. Two young girls, one extraordinary and one suffocating under her own feelings of mediocrity, connect online and form a friendship that will have terrible consequences.

Lindqvist taps into the modern-day fears that drive adolescent anxiety—less locker room, more Internet comment section—and stretches them out to their most disturbing logical conclusion. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes While horror has always flourished on the small-press scene, Lauren Beaukes is helping to forge a continued legacy for the genre at major publishers as well.

As in her exceptional follow-up, Broken Monsters , South African novelist Beukes weaves together a diverse cast of characters and just enough science fiction to complicate her premise without distracting from the horror at hand. Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum The novel, which is based on the Indiana murder case of Sylvia Likens, follows single mother, alcoholic and next-door neighbor Ruth, who takes in two nieces after their parents die in a car accident.

At the Mountains of Madness by H. Lovecraft Madness in particular has captivated the imaginations of audiences consistently since it was first published in , and its bitterly cold, ice-caked horrors can be felt reverberating through the ages and all the way into modern AMC TV series such as the first season of The Terror.

And when those forces wake up to the annoyance of human incursion? The Ceremonies by T. Klein Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice Is the novel truly horror, or is it gothic romance? What an absurd delineation! A traveling carnival brings tempting delights and sinister frights, and readers young and old should find this one to be a timeless autumnal classic. The Terror by Dan Simmons From Song of Kali and Carrion Comfort to a host of sci-fi classics, Dan Simmons is no stranger to lengthy literary outings.

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis Ellis received hate mail, death threats and became the subject of immense criticism after serial killer Paul Bernardo was found with a copy of the book. He tortures a homeless man. At one point, he gets his hands on a chainsaw.

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris What the novel also does particularly well is make us probe into the motivations and ambition of Starling, going beyond her desire to simply help people and catch a killer.

Opposed at nearly every turn by the institutional roadblocks erected in the path of female FBI trainees, the reader can sense the desperation of Starling and her borderline selfish desire to stand out and prove herself to her entirely male superiors. You can also sense this is part of the reason that Lecter takes an interest in her, finding her ambitions an interesting character trait that he can use to wrap Starling around his finger. Pet Sematary by Stephen King By the time Pet Sematary was published in , a mythology had grown around it. There was some truth to this. When a cat belonging to his daughter was killed on the busy truck route in front of his house, King wondered: what would happen if he buried the cat, and three days later it came back, somewhat altered?

And what if a child were killed, too, then came back changed and not for the better? In the novel, doctor Louis Creed takes a job at the University of Maine Infirmary and moves his wife, daughter and two-year-old son Gage into a house by a busy interstate. But the permanency of death is a hard lesson for a parent to learn, and when Creed interferes with the natural order, fate slams him tenfold with retribution.

In Pet Sematary King swings it wide. The darkness and the dim shape of Oz, the great and terrible, awaits. Hell House by Richard Matheson By the final page, no title short of Hell House will feel appropriate. The Stand by Stephen King Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon Robert R. As the novel opens, various countries have already obliterated themselves in nuclear fire, and the United States and Russia are locked in a tensely escalating standoff. Ghost Story by Peter Straub Though it took years for Straub to arrive at supernatural tales, Ghost Story will be remembered as his first critical success—not to mention his most beloved work.

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Coraline by Neil Gaiman Struggling is how you get stronger. The titular Coraline, a plucky youth bored of her hyper-domestic parents, assumes the modern incarnation of Alice, crossing the looking glass into a far less hospitable wonderland. The downside? She may have to sew buttons over her eyes before sacrificing her soul. Even better? Coraline arms parents with a anecdotal warhead for when their kids take them for granted. Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons Possession tales are terrifying for a specific reason.

With some of our most famous horror stories—ones that follow knife-wielding masked madmen, houses that consume humans, scorned telekinetic teens—the victim, even in death, retains control of his or her own mind.

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They use the human mind to feed, prolonging their own lives at the expense of others. Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes In both outings, Beukes masterfully rotates perspectives, slowly filling in a complete picture of the atrocities men will commit when given a push by a malevolent force. With its impeccably researched setting and its unflinching look at evils both known and unknown, Broken Monsters is the best work yet from a young horror writer to watch.

The Elementals by Michael McDowell It possesses enough camp to nod at fellow friends of Dorothy and enough chills to titillate any scare-junkie. With its sun-bleached setting, The Elementals is a sweltering read for horror fans and a potent reminder of the generation of talent lost to the AIDS epidemic.

Dracula by Bram Stoker The Dracula tale is possibly the most-embedded horror story in American culture, and if Let the Right One In , True Blood and the Twilight series are any indication, the classic vampire tale is still alive and well in the pop culture realm. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James In April , local Aborigines told a Richard Penny the massacre came after the Maria's passengers refused to hand over clothing for guiding them back to settled land. Kidnapped by three escaped prisoners at gunpoint, and taken on a wild ride up the Birdsville Track complete with police shootout - this is cliched-movie territory, but for Monica Schiller, it was real.

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They tied up the thenyear-old's parents and boyfriend, stole guns and food and told Ms Schiller to pack a bag with spare clothes. They drove first to Semaphore and then in another stolen car towards Darwin, taking the potholed and corrugated Birdsville Track. Adelaide journalists chartered a plane that also carried Detective Sergeant Bob "Hugger" Giles - although conflicting reports also have him in his own light aircraft. The kidnappers fired shots at the plane when it flew overhead. The plane landed ahead of the escapees at Birdsville and Det Sgt Giles, with three other officers, seven journalists and two government employees, drove back along the track.

The press tracked kidnappers' car from the air, radioing its position to the police's car. This allowed the officers to set up a roadblock - when the escapees arrived, shots were fired. Det Sgt Giles returned fire with six shots, saying later he specifically aimed under the car.

Two escapees fled the car, while the other began to brake. All three were quickly arrested - one of the officers emptied his revolver of bullets and ran up to one of the men, and told him, "don't move, or you're dead". Journalists documented the entire arrest - Advertiser photographer Ray Titus won a Walkley Award for his photograph.

Monica was found alive but traumatised, 26 hours after her ordeal began. Det Sgt Giles returned to Adelaide a hero. She later married her boyfriend, Graham Smith, and they invited the detective to their wedding. As recently as , the couple were still living in the house from which she was abducted. Haley was jailed for 15 years but escaped again in , later serving eight years in NSW before being extradited back to SA to finish his sentence. He was released in In Haley was shot in the back while at home, lying on his lounge.

He was later charged with attempted murder over another shooting that same night in Campbelltown. The charges were replaced with manslaughter and then dropped.

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The month-old nephew of Clifford Cecil Bartholomew was the last to be killed, shot through the head at point-blank range while he lay sleeping in his cot. Bartholomew, then 40, had just shot and killed the other nine members of his family at a remote farmhouse in Hope Forest, near Willunga, in what was then Australia's worst mass murder. He then sat down and had a beer, before remembering his toddler nephew was still alive and reloaded his gun.

Hours before, Bartholomew had snapped.

He later wrote that with the "screaming noises that was splitting my head wide open, and that horrible look on my wife's face, I couldn't control my actions". Bartholomew had become convinced his wife, 40, was having an affair with a Vietnam soldier staying at the farm. Police later determined she wasn't. Bartholomew had moved out, but the family had a Father's Day dinner that night. He'd intercepted a letter from the soldier to his wife.

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He stormed off and came back about 1am with two rifles and a rubber mallet. He walked into the house and hit his wife with the mallet, before shooting her. As the family was roused with the noises, he systematically shot them all - his sister-in-law, his seven children ranging in age from 19 to 4, and then his nephew.

Bartholomew made a coffee, took some aspirin, and covered the bodies with blankets. He called a local doctor and told him what he'd done.

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When the police arrived that morning - one of them was legendary SA detective Allen Arthur, on one of his first major cases - he was sitting in the kitchen, with an empty Bacardi bottle beside him. During the police interviews that followed, he told police he "had to kill all of his family".

Detective Arthur noted the murders were "a conscious decision each time to reload and kill his family". In , The Advertiser reported he was living in Adelaide under a new name and identity. SA police sniper Detective Senior Constable John Ramsden cut short one of Adelaide's most dramatic events, when Victorian man Michael O'Connor walked into the gun shop and loaded two shotguns with his own bullets. Officers fired tear gas into the shop to force O'Connor out, and when he walked outside he waved the two shotguns at a police officer. Det Sr Const Ramsden, watching O'Connor through his Armalite rifle at the first-floor window of a furniture shop m away, received the order to fire.

It was a simple tyre blowout that ultimately stopped the Truro serial-killing spree - the ensuing car crash killed the rapist and psychopath Christopher Worrell, his ex Deborah Skuse and seriously injured the man besotted with him, James Miller. Worrell and Miller - the elder by 17 years - met in prison.

Both were serving terms for rape - Miller for raping a year-old boy and Worrell for a year-old woman. They became what are thought to be one of Australia's first "tandem" serial killers. Some reports put Miller in love with and dependent on Worrell, who was charismatic, more heterosexual and prone to black moods.