Autumn is by far my favourite time of year and with Halloween around the corner, it’s time for the spooky season to begin. Broomsticks at the ready? Leaving behind the classics of Frankenstein, Dracula and The Witches, today I’m going to fly through my atypical Halloween recommendations.
Perfume- The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
This story follows a young man with an extraordinary sense of smell. Following his gift, he trains as a perfumer in Paris but is not satisfied, his hunger to capture the world in all its scents leads him on his quest to create the ‘ultimate perfume’, the scent of a young virgin. Creepy, haunting, but beautifully written, Perfume is a unique Halloween read.
Get Out directed by Jordan Peele
This horror film follows the African American, Chris and his white girlfriend Rose, as they visit her family out in the country. Suspense filled and subtle, the film questions the legacy of racism in modern America whilst keeping you on the edge of your seat. Peele is a successful director with other horrors such as ‘Us’ to gorge yourself on this Spooktober.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Chilling nursery rhymes? Murder? An Isolated mansion? Secrets? What more could you want this spooky season? Of course, Christie is a master of mystery but none of her stories are quite so creepy as And Then There Were None. Ten strangers are invited to a remote island by the enigmatic U.N. Owen, who accuses each of hiding something. As the story unfolds, they realise a killer is amongst them as they are gradually found dead. The novel and its accompanying BBC drama are tension filled and perfect for Halloween.
Black Mirror created by Charlie Brooker
Available on Netflix, this series tackles the ways in which technology could affect our lives, for better or worse. Chilling in their almost realness, each episode explores a new topic, each horror story feasible in modern life. Amongst the scariest are White Bear (season 2) in which everyone seems to know something the protagonist does not and Play Test (season 3) which follows a video game simulation. The whole series is worth a watch if you want something thought provoking and not too scary.
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson is well known for her ‘haunted mind’ and has produced some of the best known scary stories from The Haunting of Hill House which is now on Netflix to We Have Always Lived in the Castle. However, this short story, The Lottery, chills as it makes readers guess the sombre reason for which the town has gathered. Jackson’s narrative is provocative as it is paralysing in its terrifying reflection on modern society.
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Butler is well known for her science fiction novels and this book mingles science fiction and history to create this panic inducing reflection on American heritage. The main character is an African-American woman plummeted back in time to the Antebellum (pre-abolition) South. This story is tension filled, but not for its supernatural aspects. The topics of racism and its heritage in America is very pertinent today, making this a very topical Halloween read.
I hope my recommendations help you get in the mood for this Halloween, but I feel obliged to say that the School of English will not be liable for any nightmares you may suffer!
Wishing you a spooktacular Halloween, – Yzzy (Fourth Year English Literature and Hispanic Studies)