Are you ready to be drawn deep into the underworld, meet horrifying fiends and scare yourself senseless? This Halloween we’re calling out some of the most feared and foul legends of the night; characters that will creep into your subconscious and disrupt your dreams. Read on to discover which demonic individuals are lurking in the darkness.
‘Listen to them – the children of the night. What music they make!’
The celebrity vampire of the literary world, this undead bloodsucker is a pain the neck. Widely regarded as a gothic horror masterpiece, Bram Stoker’s atmospheric tale remains a go-to Halloween novel. The timeless themes of sexuality, technology and good versus evil resonate with modern horror fans; the prose still chilling first-time readers.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
‘If he be Mr Hyde’ he had thought, ‘I shall be Mr Seek.’
When skilled chemist Dr Jekyll unleashes his evil alter ego, the worst of humanity is revealed. Mr Hyde is repulsive in both appearance and character, and it is only so long before his loathsome excesses can no longer be contained. A classic exploration of the darker side of human nature, the book is based on a vivid dream, with Stevenson famously completing the first draft in just three days.
Illustration by Mervyn Peake
’I’m your number one fan.‘
Annie Wilkes is every house guest’s worst nightmare. She’ll haunt your every waking hour … if you survive. This gripping thriller is one of Stephen King’s greatest novels and the tension is unbearable, as crash survivor Paul Sheldon comes to the realisation that he’s at the mercy of his psychotic rescuer.
The Phantom of the Opera
’I am alone, and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species, and have the same defects. This being you must create.‘
Haunting the murky depths beneath the Paris Opera House, the hideous phantom is a cruel suitor. Based on the rumour of a ghost that had caused the death of a concierge during a performance, Leroux’s deliciously atmospheric gothic novel was serialised when first published. It went on to inspire one of the most successful theatrical show of all time.
Illustration by Taylor Dolan
‘When a woman has seen me, as you have, she belongs to me. She loves me for ever.’
Mary Shelley’s disturbing story of a monster created from amalgamated body parts still curdles the blood more than 200 years after it was first published. Shelley began writing the novel when she just 18, following a stay with Lord Byron where they devised a ghost story competition for entertainment.
The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Tales
‘I have looked upon all that the universe has to hold of horror, and even the skies of spring and the flowers of summer must ever afterward be poison to me.’
A myriad of unspeakable horrors, madness and despair haunt the pages of these short stories. Spanning Lovecraft’s literary career, the tales also chart the development of his ‘cosmicist’ philosophy – the belief that behind everyday life lies another reality that is too terrible for the human mind to comprehend.
Illustration by Dan Hillier