‘Tis the season of gift giving, and we’ve already given great suggestions for art, movies, and video games. But what about the avid reader? When it comes to books, the choices can be overwhelming. From nonfiction, fiction, to graphic novels, this year has unleashed an endless selection of great options to fill those bookshelves. Stephen King released two novels and a short story collection in Elevation, The Outsider, and Flight or Flight, making for easy gift options for the Constant Reader. But for those who already are up to date on King’s works, or want to branch out further, these 10 books make for excellent gifts for the horror loving reader in your life.
The 1990s Teen Horror Cycle: Final Girls and a New Hollywood Formula – Alexandra West
Horror academic and co-host of the Faculty of Horror podcast, Alexandra West’s latest is an in-depth study of the politics and subculture of the ‘90s applied to the teen horror scene that gave us Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Craft and more. She brings her critical eye to an oft-maligned decade in horror, and builds a case for these films’ recurring themes of feminism. In short, West champions the horror films written off as teen schlock and offers historical context and deeper meaning.
Ad Nauseam: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s – Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold has been a well-known Fangoria writer and editor for nearly 30 years, as well as a Rue Morgue contributor, and he’s taken his life-long love of horror and turned it into one of the coolest hardcover books in recent years. Featuring a collection of horror ads from newspapers that he clipped himself for years, Ad Nauseam is a deep dive into ‘80s horror featuring more than 450 ads and commentary by Gingold, bringing new insight to one of horror’s most beloved decades.
Anna and the Apocalypse – Katharine Turner with Barry Waldo
Inspired by the musical zombie film of the same name, Anna and the Apocalypse makes for perfect holiday reading. Anna Shepherd is a high school student still coping with the loss of her mother, the fallout from a fling, and typical friend drama. She’s counting the days until she can skip town, but her plans are derailed when a zombie apocalypse arrives with the holiday season. This one brings the laughs, holiday cheer, and all the feels.
Baby Teeth – Zoje Stage
This debut novel is a button pusher. Little Hanna adores her father so much that her mother, Suzette, needs to die so she can have dad to herself. Stage alternates the story’s perspective, from evil Hanna to panicked Suzette, upping the ante on this homicidal Bad Seed-like tale. Creepy and full of twists, Stage intends to disturb, which has proved to be polarizing for readers.
The Cabin at the End of the World – Paul Tremblay
Tremblay leaves behind the supernatural horrors of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil’s Rock to put his horrific spin on home invasion horror in his latest. Wen and her parents Eric and Andrew think they’ve begun an idyllic vacation at a remote cabin with no neighbors in sight. It is, until the arrival of four strangers bearing strange weapons changes everything. The strangers present the family with a choice that begins a tumultuous tale of sacrifice, paranoia, survival, and the fate of the world.
Halloween: The Official Movie Novelization – John Passarella
Considering the original 1978 film’s novelization by Curtis Richards, this is yet another way in which the new Halloween has come full circle. A faithful adaptation of the film, in which Laurie Strode and Michael Myers face off once again after forty years, Passarella gets into the headspace of the characters and even includes scenes cut from the film. For collectors, Halloween franchise fanatics, and those that are just curious about added content, this novel is for you.
Harrow County Library Edition Volume 1 – Writer Cullen Bunn, Artist Tyler Crook
Essential horror graphic novel series Harrow County has been around and ongoing for a few years now, but 2018 brought the new release of the oversized Library Edition, in all its hardcover glory. Containing the first two volumes with a new cover, sketchbook art, essays, and bonus stories, this edition makes for a great gift for longtime fans and those just getting started. As for plot, it follows Emmy, a girl who learns she may be connected to the monsters and ghosts that live in the woods near her home on her 18th birthday.
Our Lady of the Inferno – Preston Fassel
Here’s your chance to get ahead of the curve, as this Fangoria publication was recently announced to have a feature length film adaptation in the works. Fassel, who has also written for Scream Magazine, Rue Morgue, and Fangoria, penned a 1983 set serial killer thriller that’s unafraid to get brutal. A collision course between prostitutes and a religiously-motivated psychopath, Our Lady of the Inferno delivers great character work and gritty horror.
True Indie: Life and Death in Filmmaking – Don Coscarelli
The director/creator behind Phantasm, The Beastmaster, Bubba Ho-tep and John Dies at the End delivers a candid, tell-all memoir that spans his entire career. It isn’t just full of great anecdotes and insights to Coscarelli’s catalog of films, but it also provides helpful advice for the aspiring indie filmmaker. Coscarelli will make you laugh, and he’ll also make you cry- his touching chapter on Angus Scrimm is a heartfelt tearjerker. In short, if you’re a fan of his films or in any way interested in filmmaking, this book is a must.
We Sold Our Souls – Grady Hendrix
As evidenced by Horrorstor, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, and Paperbacks from Hell, Hendrix is a captivating storyteller and We Sold Our Souls further proves that. 1990s heavy metal band Dürt Würk was on the verge of breakout stardom when lead singer Terry Hunt left his bandmates high and dry for new band Koffin. Twenty years later, former guitarist Kris is broke and unhappy, stuck working at a hotel on the night shift. A chain of traumatic events coinciding with Koffin’s farewell tour sets Kris off on a larger-than-life journey as she suspects the fateful night that changed everything might have been rooted in something far more sinister. An epic voyage filled with metal, supernatural terror, conspiracies and paranoia, We Sold Our Souls is an addictive read for the metalhead and horror hound alike.