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Customer Discussions > Horror forum

The Ultimate Horror Short Story Mix

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Showing 1-11 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 2, 2012, 7:14:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 2, 2012, 7:16:58 PM PDT
D. Sippel says:
As I make my way through 999: Twenty-nine Original Tales of Horror and Suspense, I've been trying to think of which short stories I would include in my own personal mixtape of horror shorts. I make music mixes all the time and have no problem doing that, but am having great difficulty compiling a top-to-bottom stellar mix of rocking horror shorts.

I perused the two recent horror short story threads and got some ideas, but didn't know where many of the stories were readily available and the list just got out of hand.

I typically just go one song per artist, so here's what I have so far:

Graham Masterton: either "Eric the Pie" free pdf at or "Sepsis" Festival of Fear (Anthologies)

Richard Laymon: "Mess Hall" from Book of the Dead

Clive Barker: "In the Hills, the Cities" found here Clive Barker's Books of Blood 1-3

David Morrell: "Orange for Anguish, Blue for Insanity" from Black Evening: Tales of Dark Suspense

Ramsey Campbell: "The Entertainment", easily the best tale from 999 I've across so far.

I would surely have a Stephen King tale in there, but which one??

Matheson would have one in there, but what to choose??

Going old school: Lovecraft? Poe? Blackwood?

So if you would be kind enough to offer up a truly frightening, absolutely fat-free horror short chiller or two and where to get it, we could probably come up with something that would rival the best of all horror anthologies.

Posted on Nov 3, 2012, 2:08:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 3, 2012, 2:08:59 PM PDT
Bruise Bane says:
My personal horror anthology would go something like this:

"October in the Chair" by Neil Gaiman. Not exactly horror, per se; but has a dark atmosphere and the story itself is very dark. And it's an excellent story.

"The Wind in the Rose-bush" by Mary E. Wilkins. I originally read this creepy little story in an anthology called GHOSTS edited by Marvin Kaye. I was home alone at night and it thoroughly creeped me out.

"The Haunters and the Haunted" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. The first half of this story, wherein a man spends the night in a known haunted house, is terrifying. The second half, in which the main character discovers the nature of the haunt, isn't nearly as scary; but it's a great horror story nonetheless.

-"The Outsider" and "The Dunwich Horror" by H.P. Lovecraft
-"The Old Nurse's Story" by Elizabeth Gaskell
-"The Ash Tree" by M.R. James
-"The Man in the Black Suit" and "The Reach" by Stephen King
-"The Girl with the Hungry Eyes" by Fritz Leiber
-"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
-"The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs
-"Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper" by Robert Bloch
-"Evening Primrose" by John Collier
-"The April Witch" and "The Homecoming" and "The Crowd" by Ray Bradbury
-"A Short Guide to the City" by Peter Straub
-"The Black Cat" and "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe
-"The Room in the Tower" by E.F. Benson
-"The Summer People" by Shirley Jackson

There are many more but I can't think of them at the moment. Here are some books to see:

The Dark Descent
Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural (Modern Library)
American Fantastic Tales Boxed Set
American Gothic Tales (William Abrahams)
The Best of Cemetery Dance (Volume 1) and The Best of Cemetery Dance, Volume 2

Posted on Nov 3, 2012, 4:51:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2012, 1:49:32 PM PST
This is an awesome topic, D!
It requires some thought though.
The only ones I know for sure would be in my mix are:

Sandkings by George R. R. Martin (novella)
The Black Cat by E.A. Poe
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Quitters Inc. by Stephen King
The Rats in the Walls H.P. Lovecraft

Posted on Nov 4, 2012, 2:25:01 PM PST
Dingfelder says:
Great topic!

I've never thought about putting the hundreds I've read into a careful collection before. I doubt I could come up with what are truly my favorites ever read without having access to books I no longer have. For instance, Charles Beaumont was an incredible writer, and Charles Grant and Karl Edward Wagner did some great ones too. They absolutely should not be forgotten. (The typical Twilight Zone episode, for instance, is something you could almost describe directly as "a Beaumont story," and he did indeed work on the show.) But which story? That would take some research.

I will say I strong agree with some of the suggestions here so far:

Quitters Inc, The Monkey's Paw; Your's truly, Jack the Ripper.

I'm not sure which Lovecraft I would pick. I tend to think of Lovecraft in terms of moments I like best rather than stories as a whole. I think it was "The Dunwich Horror" which had a truly freaky body transference scene, which may be my favorite Lovecraft moment. I do really love Pickman's' Model, but it doesn't represent what is most distinct about Lovecraft -- the cosmic horror.

Some of the suggestions here strike me as too long for inclusion.

I'll add a few to the mix:

The Autopsy, by Michael Shea
Like the Whimper of Whipped Dogs, by Harlan Ellison
The Tulsa Experience, by Lawrence Block
The Spider, by Hans Heinz Ewers
It's a Good Life, by Jerome Bixby
On the Pike, by Dennis Etchison (psychological horror)
Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell (a little long)
The Cold Equations, by Tom Godwin (sci-fi/psychological horror)

Those are the best of their type I can think of, and some seem exceptional enough that I can't think of what exactly "their type" is supposed to be.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012, 9:47:56 AM PST
D. Sippel says:
I'm already getting overwhelmed. With music, you can usually easily locate an mp3 of the track you want, download it and add it to a list, easily compiling your favorites. With e-books you should be able to do the same thing some day.

"The Dark Descent" has been on my radar for some time and is often compared with Dark Forces (Signet) as the best story-for-story best horror anthology going.

The Dark Descent includes the twice mentioned here:

"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
"Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper" by Robert Bloch

as well as the already mentioned:

"The Ash Tree" by M.R. James
"The Reach" by Stephen King
"The Crowd" by Ray Bradbury
"The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe
"The Summer People" by Shirley Jackson
"Evening Primrose" by John Collier
"The Rats in the Walls" by H.P. Lovecraft
"Like the Whimper of Whipped Dogs" by Harlan Ellison

"Quitters Inc" by Stephen King, twice mentioned is from Night Shift, which I read decades ago and includes several familiar King classics.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012, 9:54:54 AM PST
D. Sippel says:
Mentioned twice here, I want to read (what sounds vaguely familiar to me) "The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs, which can be found public domain here:

I have seen mention elsewhere and as a Robert E. Howard fan, I started to read his story "Pigeons from Hell", which can be found from public domain here: or you can purchase it for your kindle for $0.99 Pigeons from Hell.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012, 1:48:49 PM PST
Excellent, D.! I've been wanting to read Pigeons from Hell, but I didn't really want to pay for it. The Barbarian (who used to post here) raved about that story.

Good call on The Monkey's Paw. I haven't read it, but in high school we were shown an old black and white movie based on the book. It was awesome and has always remained with me for whatever reason.

Posted on Feb 26, 2013, 1:08:45 PM PST
J. K. Grice says:
Great suggestions, Shadow, as I too would include THE BLACK CAT, THE MONKEY'S PAW, and THE MAN IN THE BLACK SUIT. I was also happy to see D. Sippel mention Robert E. Howard. I have the anthology, THE HORROR STORIES OF ROBERT E. HOWARD, which has some great stuff in it, like "Pigeons from Hell." The book is also wonderfully illustrated. The thing I love about many of Howard's stories is that they deal with the occult and that is something of a unique theme in our times. How sad that we lost Howard to suicide in the earlier part of the twentieth century at the age of 30. Here are some other stories I would add to my "horror mix":
1. THE SAMHAIN FEIS by Peter Tremayne
2. DOLAN'S CADILLAC by Stephen King
5. TO BUILD A FIRE by Jack London
6. HE'LL COME KNOCKIN by Robert McCammon
7. QUIETLY NOW by Charles L. Grant
9. THE BLACK STONE by Robert E. Howard
10. PUMPKIN by Bill Pronzini

Posted on Feb 26, 2013, 3:10:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 26, 2013, 3:11:20 PM PST
The Horror Hall of Fame This one is pretty close as is.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2013, 12:22:51 PM PST
D. Sippel says:
This is the first I've heard of this one. Looks good, but a few more recent (1950's forward) might help pique my interest even more. Thanks for the link, Isaac.

Posted on Mar 4, 2013, 10:30:05 AM PST
KinksRock says:
I enjoyed many of the stories in Scare Care. Standout stories included D.W. Taylor's "Good Night, Sweet Prince" (about how to deal with an evil child) and Peter Valentine Timlett's "Little Miss Muffet" (about a woman tortured by arachnophobia). I also liked Graham Masterton's contribution, "Changeling" (about a man who finds himself trapped in a woman's body), but you already have Masterton stories in your hypothetical collection.
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Discussion in:  Horror forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  11
Initial post:  Nov 2, 2012
Latest post:  Mar 4, 2013

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