Skip to main content

I CANNOT Watch Scary Movies, But I Love Scary Stories. What Are Some of Your Favorites?

This Halloween-adjacent weekend, we all get to celebrate the scary, spooky things we love, from ghost tours to creepy costumes to building elaborate nightmarescapes on your front lawn. However, there’s one genre of scare that I’ll personally never understand: the scary movie.

Recommended Videos

Scary movies are a weird exception to my general rule. Books almost always have a bigger impact on me than movies, and I am not a visual person. I have terrifically awful spatial reasoning and visual memory, including my sense of direction. While I love movies and comics as much as the next person, images usually just don’t stay with me that long. I remember words for a lot longer.

But scary movies…those scare the crap out of me, and they linger for days. I hated Are You Afraid of the Dark? as a kid, because I knew I would have nightmares after every episode. I saw The Exorcist for the first time when I was 21, and I still had to sleep in my roommate’s bed afterward because I was so freaked out. It’s not so much the experience of watching the movies themselves; it’s that I just can’t seem to shut the terror off once they’re over. After I get home from the cinema, I’m locking all the doors, drawing all the curtains, and checking all the closets.

Scary stories, on the other hand, give me all the sensations that horror movie fans talk about: the catharsis of confronting my nightmares and inevitable mortality, the excitement and intensity of fear, and the artistic pleasure of creature and world design. But unlike with scary movies, that all comes without the lingering and irrational fear of my own bedroom.

So tell me, TMS readers: what are some of your favorite scary or creepy stories? I’ll take short stories, novels, urban legends, comics, your family’s creepiest ghost story… it’s all part of the same wonderful, primordial tradition.

Some of my own favorite creepy and/or scary stories include “The Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado, “Royal Jelly” and “The Landlady” by Road Dahl, “The Pram” by Roddy Doyle, Scott Snyder and Jock’s Wytches, “The Faerie Tree” by Kathleen Kayembe, and the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark anthology.

So let’s celebrate the holiday with all your best scary stories!

(Featured image via Harper & Row)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue: