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IR Staff Tells All: Our Favorite Scary Stories

To celebrate Halloween, Indiana Review senior editors shared what stories, poems, and novels cause shivers down our spines. If you’re wanting a spooky evening in tonight, why not check out our recommendations?

Be sure, too, to see our literary Halloween tableau on our Instagram page.

Su Cho (Editor):   

Stephen King’s It is a classic. But what resonates with me most is how the horror hides in the unavoidable pull-back to a place. The tether of where you once called home—having to confront why you really went back.

Tessa Yang (Associate Editor):  

I always start thinking about Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes around this time of year. There’s an old-school horror about Bradbury’s eerie traveling carnival—the wailing calliope, the blind Dust Witch with her “stitch-wrinkled eyes”—that never fails to give me chills. The story is infused with a hypnotic longing for youth that imparts that old adage with a fresh shudder: Be careful what you wish for.

Maggie Su (Fiction Editor):

It’s literary fiction’s version of a horror story; you’re eating dinner with your parents when you realize the unfamiliar man sitting across from you is your fiancé. As more and more unfamiliar boyfriends and lovers fill the house, Alexandra Kleeman’s surreal short story, “Fairy Tale,” from her short story collection, Intimations, evolves from its whimsical premise to become a chilling meditation on romance and violence.

Emily Corwin (Poetry Editor):  

Sonya Vatomsky’s Salt Is For Curing is evocative, grotesque, and boiling with a rich lyric. Vatomsky takes us to the woods, to the cabin there, to the kitchen inside with its potions, blueberries, wine and aspic, with its myths and language from a world that scares and entices.

Anna Cabe (Web Editor):  

Not everyone thinks of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights as a horror story. To me, though, Cathy and Heathcliff’s all-devouring passion is both mesmerizing and horrific—ruining everything and everyone it touches, including Cathy and Heathcliff themselves. Wuthering Heights is not only about how love can heal but also about how it can destroy. After all, Cathy’s ghost returns to haunt Heathcliff into madness. And what’s more terrifying than love turning to poison?