Tales for a Winter's Night

Tales for a Winter's Night

When the snow blows and there's nothing to do but hunker down, these horror classics will keep your blood pumping . . . .

1. At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft 

Inspired by his interest in the Antarctic, the story details the events of a harrowing expedition to to the continent in September 1930, led by the narrator, a researcher at Miskatonic University. In writing this now classic tale, Lovecraft was largely influenced by Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, also on this list.  

2. Captain of the Polestar by Arthur Conan Doyle

The captain of the Polestar, a whaling ship venturing into the Arctic wilderness in more than iffy conditions, is on the verge of breakdown, as eerily reported by the narrator of this chilling tale (no pun intended), the ship's young doctor.  Oh--and the ship is also haunted.

3. The Terror by Dan Simmons

When The Terror is the name of your ship, what chance do you have? In 1845, the Franklin Expedition--the first steam powered ships searching for the Northwest Passage--seem well equipped for their adventure.  Two years in, however, they find themselves trapped in the Arctic wasteland with dwindling supplies, rationed coal, . . . and a nameless something stalking their already foundering vessel.

4. The Wendigo  by Algernon Blackwood 

This classic tale from the masterful Blackwood chronicles the ill-fated moose hunting expedition of two Scotsmen--uncle and nephew--who encounter the mythical Wendigo of First Nations folklore in the Northwest wilderness of Ontario.

5. The Thing by Alan Dean Foster

A novelization of John Carpenter's 1982 classic of horror, it's worth reading this excellent redux as well as Who Goes There? (also on this list), the origin of The Thing.

6. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket and Related Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

Poe later called his novel "silly," but the tale greatly influenced Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, as well as the work of Jules Verne and Herman Melville.  The narrative follows young Pym, a stowaway on a whaling ship who faces shipwreck, mutiny and cannibalism during his ill-fated journey towards the South Pole.

7. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

This now classic vampire novel was a bestseller in the author's native country of Sweden, and has been translated into many languages and adapted into two well received films.  It tells the tale of the relationship between a 12 year old boy and a vampire child in the suburbs of Stockholm.

8, An Antarctic Mystery by Jules Verne

The French writer loved Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym  so much that he penned this "spinoff" of sorts, set eleven years after Poe's tale. Dead bodies on icebergs, terrifying weather, and the discovery of the "Ice Sphinx" make this a must-read "sequel" to Poe's.

9. Thirty Days of Night by Steve Niles

If you still have nightmares about the fast vampires in the 2007 film, do yourself a favor and check out the comic book series that it's based on, set in Barrow, Alaska during its annual month of darkness.

10. Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr.

This is the classic sci-fi novel that inspired the film, The Thing from Another World in 1951 and, in 1982, John Carpenter's runaway blockbuster, The Thing.

11. The Yeti  by Mike Miller

In 1850, an expedition crossing the Himalayas vanishes, and the race is on for opportunists to find the lost team--and the treasure they were carrying. Infighting, greed, frigid temperatures and rough terrain are constants, as is the menacing creature of old following their every move.

12. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Unforgettable scenes set in the frozen landscape make Shelley's Gothic masterpiece a perfect winter's read. 


What are your favorite wintertime horror stories? Let me know in the comments!


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