That’s not scary

CoverI’m a Children’s Librarian and I read a lot of Children’s books, but I’m also an adult. An adult who isn’t actually that surprised if it turns out at the end of the book that the creepy boy that no-one else ever sees is actually a ghost <gasp>! I don’t shriek in horror at the thought of a slightly sad ghost horse hanging around a pony club or recoil in dread if a ghost only has one arm (but no bloody stump). BUT there have been a couple of ghost stories for kids that have genuinely freaked me out –

 A woman stood in the kitchen with her back to Coraline. She looked a little like Coraline’s mother only…Only her skin was as white as paper. Only she was taller and thinner. Only her fingers were too long, and they never stopped moving, and her dark-red fingernails were curved and sharp. “Coraline?” the woman said. “Is that you?” And then she turned round. Her eyes were big black buttons.

Buttons! I dare you not to feel a bit of a chill at the thought of your Mum being replaced by a stand-in with buttons for eyes.  That was from Coraline by Neil Gaiman. If you’ve only seen the movie or played the (awful) game, you should definitely check out the book, but this post isn’t about Coraline, it’s about a series of books by Chris Priestley called Tales of Terror… .

It started out with Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror, then Tales of Terror From The Black Ship and I’ve just finished  Tales of Terror From The Tunnel’s Mouth.

“Don’t worry,” gurgled Peter. “I’m here, brother. I’ll always be here.” His mouth widened into a dimpled grin and mud oozed horribly between his teeth and down over his chin. He opened his mouth further and the mud flooded out, pouring down his chest in an unending glutinous stream.”

What books got your hiding under the covers when you were a kid, and still might as an adult?

5 thoughts on “That’s not scary

  1. Laraine 16 April 2012 / 9:28 am

    There wasn’t much in the way of scary stories for children when I was a kid. So I turned to Edgar Allan Poe and Dennis Wheatley (The Devil Rides Out is always what comes to mind first at mention of Wheatley). The Pit and the Pendulum set my heart pounding when I was a kid. Alas, it doesn’t now.

    I found Breathe, A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish (which reminded me slightly of Coraline) scarier than Coraline.

    Geraldine McCaughrean (whose writing is quite simply beautiful) is reported to have said The Stones are Hatching turned out scarier than she intended. While I’m sure it would have scared me as a kid, it didn’t scare me as an adult. I seem to have lost the ability to be scared, which I find rather sad. I even managed to sit through a televised viewing of Psycho late at night when I had the house all to myself and didn’t find it anywhere near as frightening as when I saw it in the cinema (aged about 17). It had me literally sitting on the edge of my seat then.

  2. purplerulz 16 April 2012 / 12:22 pm

    It’s funny, I don’t remember being scared by books, but I was a nervy kid with a big imagination, always thinking my dressing gown hung behind my door was a monster, hearing every house creak as a potential murderer! But I did get freaked out by things on TV, Cybermen from Doctor Who were the worst, but of course I kept watching every week!

  3. purplerulz 16 April 2012 / 12:24 pm

    Now I think about it, I recently read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Young Adult) and that freaked me out as an adult!

  4. Mojo Jojo 16 April 2012 / 4:23 pm

    I remember a friend once went to a costume party as Other Father. He spirit-gummed big black buttons to his eyelids. It was creepy as all heck, actually!

  5. Lisa 18 April 2012 / 3:33 pm

    “Breathe” does look really scary Laraine, I’ll put a reserve on it. A Monster Calls scared me too purplerulz, even though I thought it was going to be more of a tear-jerker (though I did cry too!). Mojo Jojo, I’m SO glad I wasn’t at that party, I would have been traumatised for life I think!

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