Tara’s Top Ten Terrors

‘Tis the Season for all things ghoulish and ghastly! Whether you prefer to turn off the lights and creep under a warm blanket to eat popcorn and catch a freaky flick or curl up with a hot mug of apple cider and lose yourself in a bewitching book, it is an ideal time to embrace and celebrate the Dark half of the year!

I have had a great time getting in touch with my own inner monster while compiling my list of Top Ten Terrors! So, without further ado (and, in no particular order), here they are!

TARA’S TOP TEN TERRORS

coraline1. Coraline’s Fake Mum in Coraline by Neil Gaiman
You might think it’s the button eyes or the overly long, thin fingers that is so freaky about Coraline’s “other mother.” For me, it’s her icky-sticky sweetness and forced cheer. It’s the fact that she looks aaaalmost just like Coraline’s mum, but not quite right. It’s the not-quite-rightness that gets to me. Like, you could almost relax and just pretend everything is normal, except, except, except…

diviners2. Naughty John from The Diviners by Libba Bray
He whistles, refers to himself in the third person, and disembowels young women. Also, he’s been dead for decades. Naughty John, a murderous spirit conjured by a misguided jaunt with a Ouija board checks off all the points on the “How to Terrify Tara” list.

darkness3. Darkness in Legend (1985)
I watched this movie when I was in grade school and Tim Curry’s portrayal of the character called “Darkness” has shaped my idea of evil ever since. Like, if someone uses the word, evil, in a sentence, my brain pulls up his image and plays it on the little projector screen in my skull. (You have one of those too, right? It’s not just me?) He’s dark and decadent and deliciously wicked in so many ways!

slasher4. Emmeline and the March Hare (among others) in Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, edited by April Genevieve Tucholke
This anthology has a great collection of short stories featuring a ton of killer ladies. (Har har!) My two faves are near the beginning. In the Forest Dark and Deep author Carrie Ryan draws on the story of Alice in Wonderland to give us a villain (heroine?) that is sweet and lovely and utterly unhinged. Cat Winters’ Emmeline is a more traditional ghost tale with a twist that sent literal shivers down my literal spine.

lenore5. Lenore series by Roman Dirge
Lenore, the Cute Little Dead Girl isn’t frightening exactly. She’s cute.  She’s little.  She’s… oh yeah.  Well, I guess she’s perhaps a bit disturbing… I mean, what would you call a little girl that hangs out with dead things and chops off people’s noses in a game of “Got Your Nose”?  You can read all about her and her cute, little, dead adventures in books like Noogies, Wedgies, Cooties, and Swirlies!

dr-moreau6. Dr. Moreau from The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells
This classic sci-fi horror depicting a megalomaniac scientist and his half-man/half-beast experiments is by far the oldest “terror” on my list and also one of the most frequently remade. There are at least four movie adaptations with another one in production. But, I say skip all those knock-offs and go straight for the original – the book! It’s far creepier than any of the films. If you like cheesy, old black-and-white movies, though, try The Island of Lost Souls (1932).

Image result for jack skellington7. Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Poor Jack. He just wants to bring the excitement of a new holiday to Halloween Town. But everything just ends up as a hot mess. I can relate. Plus, with Tim Burton’s stark fantasy imagery and Danny Elfman’s rumbling baritone, the whole movie is just breathtaking!

8. Anna Korlova from Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare BlakeAnna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
Anna Korlova is more than an urban legend. She is a force to be reckoned with. After her own bloody murder, Anna’s ghost takes over the house in which she was killed. Her power and her rage are so strong that the house itself becomes changed. And no one who enters the home ever leaves it. Until Cas Lowood comes to town.

pans-labyrinth9. The Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Ok, so this movie is rated R, so talk to a parent or guardian before watching it. It’s also in Spanish, so you’ll have to watch it subtitled if you don’t understand Spanish. But, even if you’ve never seen the movie, The Pale Man (also known as “The Dude with Eyeballs on His Hands”) is an image that will stick with you. Pan’s Labyrinth is a fantasy film, not a horror, but it has some of the most stunningly disturbing imagery I’ve ever seen.

10. Pennywise from the TV mini-series,It
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