New Reviews

The Five Scariest Short Horror Stories on the Market!


Written by: Crystal Leflar

You may notice as you read that these stories all have something in common. A slow build, heavy atmosphere and subtle, shocking endings. To me, that’s the ideal story. Slow to form, building dread and anticipation and then a quick drop that leaves your guts behind.

yellowwallpaper

1. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I first read this story from shitty photocopies in my 10th grade creative writing class. Reading the blurred grey lines gave me a headache but I couldn’t stop. I didn’t notice a “feminist theme” or pay any attention to hidden “symbolism”. It was just a story about a woman confined. A woman who lacked the ability to express herself or act independently. A woman haunted. And it terrified me.

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2. The Torture of Hope by Villiers de I’Isle-Adam

I found this story mentioned in another book (A romance/haunted house/ mystery, if you must know.) and I had to find it. The excerpt lingered in my mind until I found a copy for myself. I read it in the middle of a sunny afternoon but with increasing dread. I couldn’t breath and the inevitable end brought me to tears.

a-rose-for-emily

3. A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

I flipped through a cheap “Collected Works” at a second hand bookstore and“A Rose for Emily” caught my eye. It was the only story I read from that book and I read it repeatedly. I considered it horror from the first and to my confusion, not many others did. This was the kind of story that made me do a “double-take” I read the ending and then had “Wait…what?” reaction and I had to read it again.

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4. The Picture in the House by H.P. Lovecraft

This is the first Lovecraft story I read. Short, it still manages the slow build. The immediate sense that something is not right, right up until the subtle but shocking end.

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5. The Floor Above by M. L. Humphreys

I read this is “H.P. Lovecraft’s Favorite Weird Tales” and have yet to find anything else from the author. (It’s believed to be a pseudonym.) This story is proof that ghost stories had twists before M. Night Shyamalan.

About The Overseer (1669 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

7 Comments on The Five Scariest Short Horror Stories on the Market!

  1. Crystal…Wow…I am now totally interested in these tales …from ‘The Yellow Wallpaper on. Question is what are the chances that I could find them now ? i am seriously drawn to these …especially those that I have never heard anything about prior to your review. Nice piece here…Thanks…as always…just me…Vitina …the old hippie

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  2. Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the article and I’m sorry I didn’t think to include links to the stories that can be read online. I’ll fix that now.

    The Yellow Wallpaper: http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/wallpaper.html

    The Torture of Hope: http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/villier5.htm

    A Rose for Emily: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~drbr/wf_rose.html

    Not Available Online:

    The Picture in the House by Lovecraft can be found in this collection: http://www.amazon.com/Bloodcurdling-Tales-Horror-Macabre-ebook/dp/B000FBFMH0/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382201852&sr=1-9&keywords=hp+lovecraft#_

    The Floor Above can be found in this one: http://www.amazon.com/H-P-Lovecrafts-Favorite-Weird-Tales/dp/1593600569/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382202035&sr=1-1&keywords=lovecraft%27s+favorite+weird+tales

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  3. I love this, Crystal. I think short stories are on the rise again, especially flash fiction. Glad to see bloggers, reviewers, and web sites are promoting shorties. “Lunchtimes reads” are becoming so fashionable now. What are you reading for lunch today? I’m glad you mentioned Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, one of my favorites. This October, the horror month, I’m reading classic short stories by women horror authors only. Finding some great short reads by Mme. Blavatsky, Mary Shelley, Margaret Oliphant, Mary Elizabeth Braddon.

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  4. “The Picture in the House” is an excellent choice as is the “Yellow Wallpaper”.
    I would suggest “Firebird” by J. L. Comeau

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  5. Crystal….Thank you for posting where i can find these stories. I so look forward to reading them. As always…just me…vitina

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  6. Your intellectual acuity is amazing Ms. Leflar!

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