I decided to start a new special feature this year for Murder, Monsters, & Mayhem. Once a week, a special guest will write about the first book that terrified them. For our inaugural post, I am pleased to welcome Kelly, a fellow horror movie buff and blogger extraordinaire! Kelly lives in Baltimore with her dog, Sam. She is obsessed with books, horror movies, most—but not all—things from the 80s (that means you, legwarmers!) and Parks and Recreation. She’s currently grieving the end of Breaking Bad.
I’ve been a fan of all things horror for pretty much my entire life. I started watching scary movies when I was nine and not long after that, I started what’s easily been the longest literary relationship of my life: reading Stephen King.
When Jenn put out the call for guest posts and the prompt for the first book that scared us, I knew it was something by Stephen King, but I can’t honestly remember whether I read The Shining or It first. (It’s been over 20 years, people!)
But either way, I know that those are easily the two scariest books I’ve ever read. Almost 10 years ago, I did a massive re-read of Stephen King, going from Carrie to Lisey’s Story (what was then his most recent release). When I re-read The Shining, there was a power outage while I was reading the book. It was, of course, late at night and when the lights went out, I think I almost died of fear. When I got to It a few weeks later, I had to institute a policy where I would not read the book after dark. I don’t like clowns and I’m pretty sure 95% of the blame for that can be laid squarely at Pennywise’s feet. (The other 5% is the clown doll in Poltergeist.)
If you were to ask, I think It is definitely scarier. It’s the only thing I won’t read after nightfall, after all. And I don’t like walking past storm drains or looking too long at the moon. Yes, I know I won’t see Pennywise…but I also know that if I manage to avoid those two things, I definitely won’t see Pennywise. I don’t want to float.