Break the spine of any of these novels, and the terrifying tale it tells will send shivers down your spine! But be warned, foolish mortals, these are not kid-friendly offerings with handsome, sparkly vampires or ab-adorned werewolves. These tales feature not creatures you’d gladly snuggle up to on a cool fall evening, but rather ones which will have you wanting to cuddle up to a loved one — or a weapon — for protection from the things that go bump (and squish and splat) in the night!
10. Draculas by J.A. Konrath, Blake Crouch, Jack Kilborn and F. Paul Wilson. The rare vampire book with as much heart as splatter. Mind you, there’s still a lot of splatter.
9) Family Tradition by John Pelan and Edward Lee. For anyone in need of a ready answer to the question, “What is the grossest novel I’ve ever read?” Or for those of you who fantasize about Mario Batali being tortured. Either way.
8) The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. Loosely based on a true story, this soul-crushing shocker won’t just frighten you, it will upset you. Deeply.
7) The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon. A real work of art, this one will make you long for your youth as much as afraid of the dark. (Come to think of it, not sure which is worse!)
6) Homesick by Richard M. Simms. The Kroll Call contributor’s debut horror novel is funny, icksome and (pleasantly) surprisingly sad. Like the author after that second bourbon and Coke.
5) Covenant with the Vampire by Jeanne Kalogridis. Lush and lusty enough to make Anne Rice blush, this first book in the trilogy will leave you reluctant to sleep alone for more than one reason!
4) Depraved by Bryan Smith. This baby’s so far over-the-top, you can’t even see the top from it. Neither it nor its sequel, Depraved 2, are for the easily offended. (And maybe not for those who can be offended, period.)
3) Frankenstein: Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz. Forget the awful TV movie that was made of this chiller, and instead, behold the source material in all its eloquent, horrifying gory. Er, glory.
2) Off Season by Jack Ketchum. In case you need it, a reminder of why you never, ever want to visit a cabin that is even remotely isolated. (See also: Offspring and The Woman.)
1) The Cellar by Richard Laymon. The creature that stalks guests of the Beast House tourist trap was such a monster smash, he spawned three sequels and a zillion sleepless nights.