It’s that time of year again when the temperature drops, the leaves get crunchy and there is a carved pumpkin on every doorstep. Get in the Halloween spirit with one of our many spine-chilling, frightening and downright horrifying media recommendations. Experience a new kind of terror with our Scary Maps Scavenger Hunt, Oct. 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Jerry Crail Johnson Earth Sciences & Map Library.
Japanese and Korean Studies Librarian Adam Lisbon recommends the Japanese Crime novel, Out by Natsuo Kirino. “It's a bit closer to a mystery, but it definitely lands in the horror genre,” said Lisbon. This book is about 4 women working the graveyard shift at a bento factory when one brutally murders her deadbeat husband. It gives a glimpse into the world of the yakuza, the cat and mouse game featuring detectives and the actions of inexperienced criminals. The libraries has copies of this book published in both in English and Japanese.
Sean Babbs, rare books librarian, recommends The Ghost Stories of M.R. James by author and medievalist scholar M. R. James. “James wrote ghost stories that often deal with old books and other ancient objects,” Babbs said. “Anyone interested in rare books or quality ghost stories will love these tales! They are great to read aloud with others.”
Graphic Designer Andrew Violet recommends the gothic story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. “We all loved the Disney short animated film, but the short story has elements left out of the animated special, like an account of another local made to ride behind the horseman,” explains Violet. “It is difficult to determine what really happened to Ichabod Crane.”
Lead of Digital Asset Management & Production Services and resident horror expert Michael Dulock recommends the book My Heart is a Chainsaw by local CU Boulder author Stephen Graham Jones. “The less said the better, except that [this book is] much deeper than the title might imply,” Dulock explains. “If you aren't familiar with 1980s slasher films, you will be by the time you finish.”
Romance Languages Librarian Kathia Ibacache recommends the Chilean horror anthology Chile Del Terror: Una Antología Ilustrada selected by Aldo Astete Cuadra. This collection features multiple authors, each with a unique writing style paired with equally frightening illustrations.
Michael Dulock enjoyed Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. “This novel is an eBay ghost story which is much better than that description makes it sound,” Dulock said. “It might be the last story that really scared me."
Adam Lisbon suggests reading the Japanese horror novel Ring. “Before it was a movie, The Ring or Ring was a book by Koji Suzuki,” Lisbon said. After four teenagers die, a reporter and uncle to one of the deceased decides to launch his own personal investigation. It's the first novel in a trilogy.
Kathia Ibacache also suggests Pesadillas: Cuentos de Terror en Español Y Quechua by Aarón Alva and translated by Luis Alberto Medina Huamaní. This book is a collection of Peruvian horror tales in both the Spanish and Quechua language.
Adam Lisbon recommends the Japanese comic Uzumaki by Junji Itō. “It’s about a town that becomes haunted by hallucination spirals and whirlpools,” Libson said. Uzumaki is Japanese for whirlpool.
Christopher Lovejoy, business collections specialist, recommends the 1943 novel Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber. “A college professor rises through the cut-throat world of academia thanks to the magic of his witch wife,” Lovejoy said. “It’s a little dated in some of the sexual politics, i.e., help your husband get ahead, but it’s good fun and a great skewering of academia.”
Adam Lisbon also suggests reading the Korean psychological horror The Good Son by Yu-Jŏng Chŏng. This novel is about twenty-six-year-old Yu-jin who wakes up realizing he may have murdered his mother. It follows his journey to uncover what happened that night, and to finally learn the truth about himself and his family.
Michael Dulock recommends the 1978 horror novel The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons. “The plot centers on a haunted house in the suburbs,” Dulock explained. “It turned out way scarier than I thought it would be. There is something particularly unnerving about the banal setting.”
Adam Lisbon recommends the Korean short stories collection Flowers of Mold by Sŏng-nan Ha. Each story is about ordinary individuals in an increasingly urbanized and fragmented world. There's something disturbing just below the surface, ready to permanently disrupt the characters' lives.
Jennifer Sanchez, photo archivist, suggests the film Rear Window, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. “A photographer who sees more than he should and is unable to seek out the proof of what he saw,” Sanchez says. “Will nobody believe him? This movie is a perfect blend of suspense, mystery and right up my alley!”
Michael Dulock enjoyed the psychological horror film Hereditary by director Ari Aster. “Can a film be an intense slow-burn?” Dulock contemplates. “I was literally on the edge of my seat for 127 minutes, and uncomfortable the whole time in the best way!”
Kate Wright, outreach and student success coordinator, recommends the fantasy horror film Pan’s Labyrinth directed by Guillermo del Toro. “The protagonist is a young girl whose new step-father is a sadistic military capitan,” Wright explained. “To escape the violence, the girl retreats into Pan’s labyrinth. The film is horrifying due to both the real-life brutality and the magical creatures within the labyrinth.”
Engagement Programming Specialist Sarah Hagerman suggests the film Dead Alive, directed by Peter Jackson. “If you love the Evil Dead series, but felt they weren't over-the-top gory enough, this Peter Jackson film from 1992 should fit the bill,” Hagerman explains. “I like my horror on the uber ridiculous side with hefty doses of dark/gross-out humor, though, so it may not be for everyone!”
George Karpoff enjoyed the film Midsommar directed by Ari Aster. “Are you anxious,” Karpoff asks. “Having relationship troubles? Well then this is the film for you! This ambient horror film will lock you and your anxiety in from the start and have you squirming as both you and the characters realize, oh this is really happening.”
Outreach Coordinator Mark Locy enjoyed the film Only Lovers Left Alive, directed by Jim Jarmusch. “Vampires have feelings too, you know,” Locy reminds us. “Take a journey with ancient vampire lovers Adam, played by Tom Hiddleston, and Eve, played by Tilda Swinton, as they navigate the vagaries of life as immortal blood suckers in the 21st century.”
Kate Wright also recommends the comedy horror film What We Do in the Shadows directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement. “This mockumentary is about vampires trying to live in present day New Zealand,” said Wright. “It’s totally absurd and worth a watch.”
Kathia Ibacache recommends the Dominican Republic film Cuentos de Camino, directed by Javier Vargas. The film centers on old man Julio who tells horror tales that happened during his youth.
Claire Woodcock, communications specialist, recommends the film Carnival of Souls directed by Herk Harvey. “After a near-death experience, Mary moves to Salt Lake City to work as a church organist, only to be tormented by a ghoul trying to claim her soul,” Woodcock explains. “This 1962 film is unsettling in the tone director Herk Harvey establishes. The ghoul’s make-up job is unforgettable.”
Michael Dulock also recommends the 1986 psychological horror crime film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. “It is possibly the most disturbing movie I've ever seen,” Dulock notes. “I'm glad I've seen it, but once was enough.”
Kate Wright also suggests The Witch, directed by Robert Eggers and starring Anya Taylor-Joy. “The Witch is set in 1630 New England,” explains Wright. “The slow-burn storytelling and ambiance is what really delivers the horror versus the traditional pop-up scares.”
Claire Woodcock also suggests Scanners, directed by David Cronenberg. “It’s up for debate whether there is anything scarier than David Cronenberg’s body horror. Scanners (1981) follows an army of people with telekinetic powers that enable them to read minds, which gives them the power to make other people’s heads explode. A must-see for fans of ’80s b-horror.”
For the comedy-horror fan, Michael Dulock suggests Return of the Living Dead, directed by Dan O'Bannon. “In my opinion, it is the perfect blend of the two genres,” Dulock said. “It’s also important to subsequent zombie lore, which is often misattributed to director George A. Romero and his Night of the Living Dead film series, which are, of course, also excellent.”
IT Professional Erika Kleinova recommends listening to the 1938 radio drama The War of the Worlds narrated by Orson Welles. “According to Radiolab, about 12 million people were listening when Welles' broadcast came on the air and ‘about one in every 12 ... thought it was true and ... some percentage of that one million people ran out of their homes.’” Don’t miss this infamous classic.
Mark Locy enjoyed the podcast Alice Isn’t Dead written by Joseph Fink and narrated by Jasika Nicole, Erica Livingston and Roberta Colindrez. A horror podcast presented as a series of audio diaries, the hero of the story searches for her missing and presumed dead wife working as a truck-driver for a mysterious corporation. Along the way she encounters murders, monsters, supernatural phenomena and a vast conspiracy.
Kathia Ibacache suggests listening to the audiobook Cuentos de Terror Latinoamericanos featuring stories written by various authors. It contains 21 horror short stories from Latin American countries such as Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Uruguay, Nicaragua and others.