Saturday, March 2, 2013

Top 3 Children's Horror Book Series that I Loved as a Kid

Long before I loved horror movies, I loved reading horror novels.

I thought that I would start with a list of the top three horror book series that scared the crap out of me when I was a little kid, and I loved it.

3. Point Horror

Point Horror is the Young Adult horror book series that launched R.L. Stine's career. His book, "Blind Date" was the book that also helped make the series popular. Other notable authors that contributed to this horror book series include Christopher Pike with "Collect Call,"  A. Bates who wrote "Party Line," and "Richie Tankersley Cusick, who wrote the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" book series and "Trick or Treat."

My two favorite books from the Point Horror series includes "Call Waiting" by R.L. Stine and "April Fools" by Richie Tankersly Cusick.

2. Bunnicula

"Bunnicula" is a children's book series by James and Deborah Howe. The stories are told from the perspectives of the Monroe family's pets, Harold the dog and Chester, the cat. If you can't guess, Harold is the more rational one and Chester is a paranoid scaredy cat. When their owners welcome a new strangely colored bunny with white fur and black patch on it that looks like a cape, strange things start to happen to the vegetables in the home. Turns out that Bunnicula is a vampire bunny who sucks the juice out of veggies.

What I really loved about this series is that there was a spooky mystery to be solved by Harold and Chester, with the usual hijinks ensuing that you would assume a cat and a dog to get involved with when attempting to prove that a pet rabbit is a vampire.

This is one of my most cherished children's book series and just writing about it is a huge nostalgia bomb for me. I read the first three books of the series, "Bunnicula," "Howliday Inn,"  and "The Celery Stalks at Midnight," so many times that the book coves became severely bent and worn. This is a condition that I call well loved, my S.O. Shane Strange calls it book murder. He's probably right.

1. Scary Stories To Tell In the Dark

When I was in fourth grade, I was introduced to "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" by Alvin Schwartz. The book was the first in a series of anthologies. The anthologies consisted of urban legends and ghost stories from traditional folk lore that were collected by Alvin Schwartz and then retold for his books. There were three books in total in the series, which were then collected into one volume a little later on.

The stories that I liked the most from the first volume are "The Viper," "The Big Toe," "The Bride," and "The Ghost with the Bloody Fingers," with the latter two being the scariest stories in the book.

Most of the stories themselves were a little goofy and mostly of the "spooky" variety. It was the illustrations by Stephen Gammell that were the real scary parts of the books.

This one in particular I found to be as creepy as hell when I was a little kid.

Unfortunately, a few years ago they decided to change the art in the books when they were up for a reprint by Harper Collins, so if you have any copies of the originals, hold onto them, as they're worth a lot more to collectors nowadays than they used to be.

I wonder if the people who decided to change the art because it was "too scary" were also the same people who decided to put the parental warning on the DVDs of the original episodes of "Sesame Street?"

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