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Horror/Thrillers about small town cults


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Initial post: Aug 21, 2012 5:56:54 AM PDT
I had little time at work to view every discussion in the forum to look for a similar topic (sorry if this has already been asked). I am looking for a horror or thriller novel(s) about backwoods or small town cults. Searching for 'cult' and 'fiction' gives me all too different results. Anything with realistic or even sensational storylines could be good, be it Lovecraftian alien worship, to strange christian offshoots. Inbred cannibals and typical backwoods horror (ie Ketchum) need not apply. Thanks for any input the horror fans out there can provide.

PS- As much as I would love all those great old horror novels that used to be printed decades ago, I would appreciate only suggestions still in print, especially kindle available (as I don't currently live in a place with an English library or bookstore).

Posted on Aug 21, 2012 7:07:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 21, 2012 7:10:38 AM PDT
I read and enjoyed this cult novel. It does involve cannibalism but not inbreds.
Inside the Outside

Also Geek Love: A Novel. This one features a circus family o freaks and one gets a cult following for all of the wrong reasons.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2012 8:01:30 AM PDT
I have read Geek Love and thoroughly enjoyed it. But to be clear, I am looking for books about people in cults or conflicting with cults, and not merely books with a cult following. The other suggestion sure seems interesting enough, I will have to check it out. Thank you.

Posted on Aug 21, 2012 8:14:30 AM PDT
I considered Artruro's following a cult. I enjoyed Geek Love as well.

If I think of any others I will post them forthwith!

Posted on Aug 21, 2012 11:28:56 AM PDT
Read It All says:
Jeffrey,

You might check out Bentley Little. I think The Academy has a cult-like atmosphere. He has another one about a cult, but I can't remember the name. You could look it up here on Amazon though.

Ria

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2012 5:52:26 PM PDT
Sounds interesting enough, though maybe not as cultish as I am really looking for. But as a teacher, it could pose an interesting read.

Posted on Aug 22, 2012 8:53:53 PM PDT
No other suggestions? Nothing with weird small town gatherings? Secret hall meetings in otherwise serene christian small town settings? Weird offshoots of modern religions? Travellers caught in the middle of strange rituals like in Children of the Corn? Discovery of ancient rites and hideous gods like in Lovecraft, or the investigation of heinous religious freedoms like in The Innsmouth Syndrome? Or other worldly perversions like in the X-Files episode Roadrunners? I have read a number of true crime books about people in such cults, but is there really no horror fiction that takes these true elements to some unsettling extreme?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 3:17:56 AM PDT
Alina says:
Is Rosemary's Baby too obvious a suggestion?

The original The Wicker Man (1973) seems to fit your bill but it's a movie. I can think of more movies than books.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 3:29:58 AM PDT
How about The Cars That Ate Paris? Tis a movie though.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 3:48:58 AM PDT
Alina says:
Sloany, have you seen Not Quite Hollywood? It's genius.

Sorry for the temporary thread jack. Back to our usual programming which is small town cults (both well represented in the movies suggested by Sloany and I).

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 3:58:10 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012 3:59:47 AM PDT
Rosemary's Baby is a good one. Ira Levin was certainly enjoyable. Wicker Man is very much what I am looking for. Simple lifed Londoner bobby visits a quiet island and finds a dark pagan cult brewing just below the surface. If the same slow build tension of that film were present in a novel I would be all over it.
Alina - Not Quite Hollywood is a brilliant film!
I think we are getting closer to the feel of what I am looking for...we just have to find some actual book titles. Thanks btw.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 4:16:49 AM PDT
Alina says:
You could also ask for suggestions over on the amazon.co.uk kindle forums. If they suggest something good you can check back on amazon.com to see if it's available. I'm thinking that there's probably a genre of witchcraft related literature in small English villages that they might know more about.

Posted on Aug 23, 2012 4:30:08 AM PDT
Not a bad idea, though pagan cults in Europe a bit less frightening, it's worth a shot if it breeds a few results.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 4:38:44 AM PDT
Alina says:
While poking around I found The Wicker Man: A Novel.

And I bought Small Town Secret because it sounds fascinating.

It's a stumper in terms of figuring what search terms to use and pretty much any search term seems to result in an incredible cross-over with romance novels. Charlene is the encyclopedia around here when it comes to suggesting well-written horror on all/any topic so it's not promising that she's stumped as well.

Posted on Aug 23, 2012 6:17:33 AM PDT
The problem I have is that "cult" is used so often to just mean something with an unexplained following. If I search "cult" and "horror" I get results that are more in line with "cult favorites". Which is what brought me to asking everyone here.

Posted on Aug 23, 2012 6:52:52 AM PDT
FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC by VC Andrews----it isnt cult but treads on incest and the torture these children were put through makes you cheer for them regardless. I dont know about the movie, I think I saw it, but it did not leave me with any memories unlike the book which has stuck with me for years.

Posted on Aug 23, 2012 8:21:15 AM PDT
I read those books many years ago. Interesting reads but quite far from what I am searching for.

Posted on Aug 23, 2012 2:11:23 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012 2:25:01 PM PDT
D. Sippel says:
What immediately comes to my mind are films more than books, but after a few minutes thought a couple of these might fit the bill:

The Skull Ring (Julia Stone) by Scott Nicholson

Soultaker (Leisure Fiction) By Bryan Smith

Creekers by Ed Lee is awesome, but has a bit of the backwoods thing going on, so maybe Flesh Gothic instead.

The Woods Are Dark by Richard Laymon (sure it's got the inbred backwoods thing, but there's more to this one)

Deep in the Darkness by Michael Laimo, although The Demonologist is probably closer in theme to what you are looking for.

Posted on Aug 23, 2012 7:17:33 PM PDT
Ok so far on here and other forums we have a few suggestions that fit a little closer to what I am looking for. My reading list thus far:
The Servants of Twilight
Inside the Outside
Dark Channel
The Disappearance
Harvest Home (not that I will ever find a copy)
The Darkest Part of the Woods
Any feelings on this list?
Keep the suggestions coming, nothing has struck me as exactly what I am looking for (a hard concept to really put into words) so more ideas are certainly welcome.

Posted on Aug 24, 2012 4:00:35 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 24, 2012 4:03:58 AM PDT
Alina says:
I read Inside the Outside and I didn't love it as much as Charlene does. It was entertaining enough as far as plot and writing goes but I found some of the character actions not credible. I thought it started off stronger than it finished. Put it this way - it's no Wicker Man.

ETA: From checking the list the most intriguing looking one to me is the one that's not available (Harvest Home).

Posted on Aug 24, 2012 5:25:31 AM PDT
I've been wanting to read Harvest Home for a long time. I thought maybe I could get it from my library, but I couldn't. : (

Hi Alina! *waving* S'up, girl?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 24, 2012 5:46:27 AM PDT
Alina says:
Howdy Charlene. Poor Jeffrey hasn't been really helped much by any of us. I would have thought there'd be more literature out there that would fit the bill.

Posted on Aug 24, 2012 5:54:43 AM PDT
Hahaha it's alright, you guys have tried. I will admit I am a bit picky and it's something I have been searching for for a while. It's hard to explain exactly what I am looking for too, which makes asking for help rather difficult. I want the terror that comes from the confrontation with religious extremism. I have always had this weird fear of small towns and strange religious offshoots. So a book that really strikes that nerve would be great. However, finding that particular book has been rather daunting. I have found a number of YA books(not really my thing) that touch on teens stuck in cults and such, but while I can often get close, I have yet to find a novel that really hits the subject and atmosphere on the head.

Posted on Aug 24, 2012 6:49:29 AM PDT
I could give a few redneck/woodsy recs, but they don't fit the cult definition. : (

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 24, 2012 7:12:09 AM PDT
Alina says:
Jeffrey, have you tried looking at non-fiction accounts? There seem to be plenty of them around. I'd imagine that many of them are pretty badly written but there might be some gems out there.
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Discussion in:  Horror forum
Participants:  31
Total posts:  133
Initial post:  Aug 21, 2012
Latest post:  Mar 11, 2013

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