Every year, October 31 offers three standard options: drop by the cemetery to honor our deceased loved ones, put on a costume and go trick-or-treating (or just party the entire night away), or go on holiday or staycation. And if you’re the type of person who thinks holidays are better with books, well hello kindred spirit, please, keep on reading. We offer you the following titles to keep your Halloween night satisfyingly spooky.
Horror isn’t limited to blatant jump scares and predictable gory stories. The perfect example: Otsuichi’s Goth. Get the 2015 edition, which has been translated to English and published by VIZ Media.
Goth is composed of six short stories connected through their young, death, and murder-obsessed protagonists. The murder mysteries gradually unfold in every story, and lead to surprising outcomes that gave us more goosebumps than any blood-soaked horror movie or Magandang Gabi, Bayan reenactment that we’ve seen. If anything, this book proves that the most horrifying tales actually come from normal life—or from your own restless mind.
For those new to the horror genre, local anthologies are the way to go. They provide ample scares in familiar settings, and with characters that you may or may not know from past fictions or real life. And if a story just isn’t your jam, there’s always the next one to look forward to.
Our suggestions: the more recent anthologies All that Darkness Allows: 13 Stories of Horror and Dread (edited by Anton Umali), and Demons of the New Year: An Anthology of Horror Fiction from the Philippines (edited by Karl de Mesa and Joseph Nacino). Our biggest complaint is that many of the stories contained in these two volumes are bitin AF. But maybe that’s the trend among local writers? If you can find it in major bookstores’ shelves, get Yvette Tan’s Waking the Dead and Other Horror Stories as well.
And we’ve named this particular komiks series so many times before, but we’ll do it again: the Trese series, by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo. Trust us. If you like your mythical horror stories female-fronted, and with a hefty side of private investigations, read this first.
The government seems intent on taxing the shit out of imported books (examples: The Great Book Blockade of 2009, and the more recent TRABAHO Bill). So, it’s reasonable to say that books from overseas will see major price increases in the future.
Get these horror books while it still fits within your budget:
- The Sleep of Reason: An Anthology of Horror, edited by C. Spike Trotman, a graphic novel devoid of the familiar “vampires, zombies, and traditional monsters,”
- The alternafutures of Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream: Seven New Stories that Defy Belief,
- The recently adapted gothic-horror novels The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (debuting on Netflix in October), and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (which premiered in theaters overseas last month), and
- Chuck Palahniuk’s writers’-retreat-gone-bad horror story Haunted, for the terrifying three-level chapters and the utter grossness of it all.
If you want your horror stories on the more comical side, the “crowdsourced” short-fiction anthology Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die will make you laugh and cringe. Get it online here.
They may already have small and big-screen adaptations, but we still say read the book sources first. Stephen King’s It, Koushun Takami’s Battle Royale, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale present their own share of shivers and terrors; and can be considered horror-fiction classics.