As an anthology series, American Horror Story creates a terrifying new world with each season. From killer clowns to vengeful spirits, AHS covers nearly every side of the horror genre. Cult, the seventh season, wrapped up last fall, and season eight, entitled Apocalypse, is set to premiere on September 12th. Here are 13 creepy books that will add to the terror.
Choose your favorite season, and sink back into an atmosphere of fear, whether it's inside a haunted asylum or a hotel that you may never be able to check out from ...
House of Leaves
Much like the mansion in Murder House, House of Leaves has a life of its own. There are several narratives dispersed throughout this cult horror hit, but the primarily plotline is that of the Navidson Family. Will Navidson, his partner, and their two children move into a house in Virginia. The four quickly discover that the house is somehow far larger on the inside than the outside, and there are always new doors, rooms, and hallways appearing and disappearing in their home. The disturbing recounting of their exploration of the strange house and the multiple enveloping narratives enthrall and terrify.
William Reinhardt Deutsch is dying, but he’s not yet ready to give up on life. He’s hired Dr. Lionel Barrett, a physicist; Florence Tanner, a mental medium; and Benjamin Franklin Fischer, a physical medium, to carry out extensive research and determine what happens after death. Their first step: Investigate the Belasco House, also known as Hell House. Supposedly the most haunted house in the world, Hell House was the site of terrible crimes long ago. But this is not Fischer’s first time in the house. He was the only person to survive an expedition into the house some 30 years prior. Once the team enters the house, they are tormented by spirits who have uncovered their greatest weaknesses. They will struggle to escape Hell House with their lives and sanity.
U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule are on their first assignment as partners. They are sent to a remote island to search for a woman who has disappeared. She is a patient at Ashecliffe Hospital, an institution for the criminally insane, sent there after drowning her three children. Despite the island’s isolation, the marshals cannot find Rachel Solando anywhere. As Daniels and Aule interview the staff and scour the grounds, they discover that the patients aren’t the only sinister presence at the hospital. Fans of Asylum will be captivated by the twisted experiments and complicated criminals found at Ashecliffe Hospital.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Nurse Ratched rules an Oregon psychiatric hospital with an iron fist. She and the doctors have stripped their patients of individuality and any form of self-autonomy. They employ harsh tactics, including hydrotherapy, electroshock therapy, and lobotomies, in an attempt to have total control of the patients. Enter McMurphy. He’s a new patient in the hospital who is determined to shake things up. He refuses to submit to Nurse Ratched’s strict rules and harsh treatments. But is sheer will enough to break free of the constraints of a cruel institution?
Ethan Wate is a seemingly average 16-year-old. He lives in a small South Carolina town in the same house his family has occupied for centuries. He does well in school and plays on the high school’s basketball team, but he wants nothing more than to get out of Gatlin, South Carolina. But then the dreams start. He’s plagued by the same dream night after night and is shocked when the new girl at school is none other than the girl who’s been appearing in his dreams all summer. Like Coven, Beautiful Creatures is the story of young people with magical powers who struggle with the delineation between good and evil and who are plagued by the secrets and actions of their magical ancestors.
The Wicked Deep
Penny Talbot learned how to read her fortune in tea leaves when she was just five years old. Now, she’s seventeen, but she still sees exactly the same fortune she saw as a small child: She will fall in love with an outsider who appears on the secluded island where she and her mother live. The island is just across the bay from Sparrow, a cursed village that is haunted by the spirits of the Swan sisters. Each summer, the sisters, who were received a death sentence for practicing witchcraft, inhabit the bodies of three young women and exact their revenge on local boys. Penny strongly believes in the legend, but when Bo Carter, an outsider, arrives, everything becomes infinitely more complicated–and dangerous.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Just before their 14th birthdays, a strange traveling carnival comes to Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade’s town. Despite the wariness of the adults in town, Will and Jim can’t wait to explore the carnival that arrived in the middle of the night. Soon, they discover that the carnival, and its leader, Mr. Dark, harbors many ominous secrets.
Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet
Kitty Hayward and her mother have traveled halfway around the world to visit Coney Island. They’re drawn to Dreamland, the island’s new amusement park, but the idealistic new attraction isn’t as bright and shiny as it seems. When Kitty’s mother disappears, she finds support in a place she least expects it: Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet. Its employees are circus freaks of all kinds, but even they are not prepared for what’s to come. The stuff of dreams turns to the stuff of nightmares as a horrible sickness, an assassination plot, a murderer, and an arsonist come to Dreamland.
There’s really no other hotel horror that comes close to touching The Shining. Jack Torrance is looking for a fresh start. When he’s offered a position as an off-season caretaker at the Overlook Hotel, he thinks it’s the perfect job. But before long, Jack’s five-year-old son Danny starts seeing ghosts in and around the hotel. Then, they turn vicious. As the vengeful spirits take control of Jack, Danny and his mom must do whatever it takes to escape the hotel alive. The Overlook certainly isn’t exactly the relaxing resort the Torrance family was expecting…
A Face at the Window
For years, Cookson has struggled with his addictions to drugs and alcohol, but he’s finally starting to rid himself of his demons. When his daughter goes off to school, he and his wife, Ellen, decide to take a trip to England. They’re staying at the Hotel Willerton, which has a history even darker than Cookson’s. The hotel is haunted by the ghost of a young girl who is threatening to suck Cookson back into his dark days of addiction. A Face at the Window explores how a location can become a symbol for a stagnant life.
The inspiration for the recent Netflix film, The Ritual is a horror novel in which four old friends unearth an ancient, evil spirit. The four friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Swedish Forests, but they quickly discover that they’ve grown too far apart and former friendship is replaced by tension. Things get far worse when they stumble upon sacred sacrificial grounds.
In 1664, a witch was put to death in Black Spring, New York. To prevent her from causing any further havoc, the woman’s mouth and eyes were sewn shut. Unfortunately, the witch’s powers have allowed her to haunt the town ever since–although her eerie stitches remain in place. In modern day, the townspeople have created an app that allows them to know when the witch is about to appear. But there are rules in Black Spring: You can never tell anyone about the witch, and you can never leave. When a group of teens becomes sick of the rules, things get ugly, quickly.
The Dead Zone
King dips his toe into a political horror show in The Dead Zone. After Johnny Smith suffers a head injury, he begins to experience premonitions of the future. Some of these premonitions are benign: He can find lost items, discover the story of an object by touching it, is able to tell his nurse that her son’s surgery will be successful. But when Johnny has a premonition that a future president of the United States will cause a nuclear showdown, he must decide whether it falls upon him to stop the candidate, no matter what it takes.
Featured still from "American Horror Story: Cult" via FX