What’s just TOO frightening?

A Saturday scare from BestSelling Reads authors

Photo by Oxana Melis on Unsplash

BestSelling Reads authors write some scary books. And we love to read some scary stuff, too. 

For the last weekend in Haunting Month, we polled BestSelling Reads authors with a couple of questions. 

First, what’s the scariest story they’ve ever heard or read? What sends shivers up their spine? What chills you to the bone, even though you cannot look away? 

And then we asked the authors of the darker, occult, paranormal or horror stories to go beyond: what is something too scary for you to write.

The responses were…interesting.

What’s the scariest story you’ve ever read?

Jennifer Harlow

From Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, where the spider lays eggs in the girls face. It so could happen.

Roger Eschbacher

I finished The Stand by Stephen King about a week before I visited Las Vegas, which is the headquarters in the novel for the truly evil antagonist,  for the first time. (Shudder) Totally colored my feel for the place! 

Author J.L. Oakley

J.L. Oakley

LOL. I need to read The Stand again. It’s been over 50 years, but it has always been stuck in my mind. Especially, the scene in the Lincoln Tunnel with the cars and trucks and the dead.

Elyse Salpeter

The Stand is King’s best work, in my humble opinion. A masterpiece. Ever since I read that book, I’ve always wanted to know what it would be like to try to run through a tunnel. Then a few weekends ago, I got a chance to run a race through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, which reminded me of the tunnel scene in The Stand.

Also, “The Jaunt,” a short story by Steven King, is the only story that has haunted me for years. Psychological horror vs slasher gore.

Scott Bury 

For me, the most terrifying movie I ever saw was Angel Heart, with Mickey Rourke and Robert de Niro. Without a spoiler, the scariest part is the final shot, a close-up on de Niro’s mysterious character and his yellow eyes. The final line answers all the mysteries of the story: “You’re mine.”

But the scariest story is a real throwback: The Statement of Randolph Carter by H.P. Lovecraft. In this story, Randolph Carter and Harley Warren explore a staircase leading deep into the earth. Again, it’s the last line that provides the punch of terror.

What kind of story is too terrifying even for you to write?

Jennifer Harlow

I won’t write anything with graphic rape or hurting of children or animals. I read books and watch movies to escape reality. Unfortunately, I’ve known too many people and animals who have had to endure pain.

Author DelSheree Gladden

DelSheree Gladden

I love scary movies and books, but I can’t write the gory stuff. I don’t like to watch it in movies either. Having to describe nasty things like maggots in flesh or awful injuries just makes me cringe. There isn’t really anything too scary I won’t write about, but gross is another matter!

Elyse Salpeter

I have this one book that I finished that I’m probably not going to ever let see the light of day. It is so unbelievably violent but I wanted to see if I could write something like this. 

It’s psychologically scary—normally that would be too scary for me to write, but I tried it. What makes it too frightening is the degradation and humiliation tactics humans do to others to get their way. The actions that can destroy a psyche.

I sent the first 50 pages to an editors that has done racy violent books. She wrote back, “Holy crap, I may even have nightmares about this.”  Hence I’m toning it down if i ever intend to publish it.

And the Master of Horror himself, David C. Cassidy 

I would never write about cannibalism. It’s simply taboo in my books, no pun intended. Totally frightening topic.

What about you, horror fans? Is there something beyond the pale (so to speak) that you cannot stand to read about? Share your fear. What could go wrong?

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