First published in The New Yorker magazine in 1948, The Lottery is as shocking a short story as any I’ve read. Set in a contemporary village, The Lottery refers to an ancient custom that calls for a human sacrifice each year to ensure a good harvest. The contemporary setting, when mixed with the ancient barbaric practice of human sacrifice, offers a chilling statement about traditions in culture. Beautifully written and with a wonderful eye for detail, Jackson crafts a feeling of doom and dread that ultimately erupts in a flash of violence. If you read one short story this year, this would be a great one to choose!
The Haunting of Hill House is genuinely a scary story. Shirley Jackson writes with such subtlety and precision that a feeling of apprehension, unease and dread slowly built in me page by page. The Haunting of Hill House never relies on predictable clichés or “in your face” bombastic horror to scare the beans out of the reader; instead, Jackson uses psychology, intensity and implied horror to pack a wallop.
Eleanor Vance, a lonely woman who has spent many years caring for her invalid mother, receives, along with a few other people who have had paranormal experiences in the past, an invitation from a Dr Montague to stay at Hill House to study "supernatural manifestations."
The gradual psychological unraveling of Eleanor amongst the strange noises, turning doorknobs and ghostly apparitions is truly an exquisite study in implied terror. Masterfully written and truly scary, this fine novel deserves a read from any fan of psychological horror.
This novel was also filmed twice: once in 1963 and again in 1999. The 1963 version, directed by Robert Wise, utilizes the same technique of implied terror that Jackson did, and is almost as successful. After you read this fantastic book, check out the equally scary 1963 film.
Submitted by Dan@Central