Recommend books that are like Stephen King short stories
January 2, 2014 6:25 AM   Subscribe

I really like Stephen King's short stories, specifically those that focus on possessed objects or ghosts/demons/ghouls manipulating objects. I'm thinking specifically of Lawnmower Man and The Mangler. Can you recommend horror novels in a similar vein, by Stephen King or by others? [Spoilers for The Shining within]

As stated, I love Stephen King's short stories, especially those like Lawnmower Man and The Mangler that are about objects that are imbued with horror. I'd like to read horror novels like this, but I'm specifically looking for novels that hinge on supernatural horror -- especially horrifying/possessed/controlled objects-- rather than those where the horror is more purely psychological.

I've read and liked The Shining. The idea that the hotel was possessed by something (ghosts? demons?) and could act through objects (the topiary, the fire hose, the bar, the elevator, etc.) and people (Jack) totally worked for me. The scenes where the topiary seem to be moving, or where Danny thinks the fire hose is chasing him, are the kind of thing I want to read more of. The scenes where Jack and Wendy are trying to suss out whether the other has hurt their son, and the complexities of their relationship, is the kind of thing I want to read less of (although it's fine if it's in the mix).

I've read and disliked The Dark Half (the menace of the pseudonym driving around endlessly got boring for me after a while). I tried to read Misery but couldn't get into it -- I just don't find pure psychological horror all that interesting. I'm also not looking for books where demons work directly in the world themselves (like in the movie Event Horizon).

What novels would you recommend to me that are like Stephen King's short stories, whether by King or by others?
posted by OrangeDisk to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't read it in many years, but Needful Things by King definitely plays with the idea of objects being a haunting/controlling/causal force.
posted by juliplease at 6:33 AM on January 2, 2014

The house in House of Leaves is nightmares-level scary, to me.
posted by jbickers at 6:33 AM on January 2, 2014

Carrion Comfort
by Dan Simmons

A novel about possessed horror, supernatural. Stephen King said this was one of three greatest horror novels of the 20th century.
posted by Kruger5 at 6:39 AM on January 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Try Laird Barron, particularly his collection The Beautiful Thing that Awaits Us All.
posted by BibiRose at 6:50 AM on January 2, 2014

You might want to consider "NOS4A2" by Joe Hill. The story features a 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith, the object in question.
posted by applesurf at 6:59 AM on January 2, 2014

I think that Stephen King's It has a similar ratio to The Shining of creepy possessed stuff vs. interpersonal relationships, so you may be on board with that.
posted by telegraph at 7:05 AM on January 2, 2014

M.R. James is a bit old-school but you might enjoy him, check this story or this one to see if you like his style. His books are in the public domain and Penguin has a collected edition paperback.
posted by sukeban at 7:12 AM on January 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Dionaea House, although it might be more psychological than you would like.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:19 AM on January 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

You want to read Christine.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 9:54 AM on January 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Seconding Christine. Absolutely.
posted by Specklet at 10:01 AM on January 2, 2014

Stephen King's "Word Processor of the Gods" from Skeleton Crew might tickle your fancy. The object in question in this story is particularly insidious in its abilities and the entire thing revolvies around complex and painful family dynamics.
posted by xyzzy at 1:24 PM on January 2, 2014

You also might like "The Sun Dog" from Four Past Midnight
posted by Gev at 2:02 PM on January 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pin by Andrew Neiderman fits your criteria (there is a sinister medical dummy in it)
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose at 2:05 PM on January 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Applesurf recommended NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, and I would add Heart Shaped Box by him, also, which revolves around a haunted suit.
posted by Bresciabouvier at 3:38 PM on January 2, 2014

Try "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson. A heads up that the title story is nothing at all like the movie with Will Smith - but instead a really interesting tale about a solitary man trying to make it in a new world. The remaining short stories are quick, sweet and eerie reads... like the story about a doll that comes to life and hunts its new owner. *Shiver!*
posted by watrlily at 8:59 PM on January 2, 2014

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