Because of the generation I come out of, I consider myself so fantastically predictable when it comes to my favorite horror novels that it’s barely even worth making a list. However, I realize that my view of “predictable” may be a little odd. I also must quote Douglas Winter’s very sensible sentiment that the idea of defining horror in literary terms hinges not on its marketing schtick.
Winter said: “Horror is not a genre. It is an emotion.” I echo his sentiment.
Furthermore, I realized that, for me, the best horror ever written is not in novel form, so I brought out my well-used meat cleaver, sharpened it up on my whetstone, and hacked off the word “Novels” from this post concept. Then I decided that I wasn’t going to draw lines between horror and science fiction , or horror and fantasy. With a broad definition, this is my favorite horror.
Some of Thomas S. Roche’s Favorite Horror:
“On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert With Dead Folks” by Joe R. Lansdale, originally published in Skipp & Spector’s The Book of the Dead, which is hard to find, and reprinted in Lansdale’s great collection By Bizarre Hands, which isn’t. “OTFSOTCDWDF” is, to my mind, the greatest piece of short zombie fiction ever written.
The Book of the Dead, Still Dead and Skipp & Spector in general, particularly The Light at the End.
World War Z by Max Brooks.
The Mythos stories of H.P. Lovecraft, and everyone who ever added to it, no matter how good or bad they are. Brian McNaughton wrote a Mythos story called “Mud” that was in my anthology Graven Images that has proven recurrently influential on me.