“If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!” On June 8, 1984 the world was introduced to the supernatural comedy known as Ghostbusters. I can still remember my favorite scene of the green blob-slob, Slimer, shoveling a tray of room service sweets down his gullet and onto the floor. But the most important part of the film is the cast, the classic comedy crew of Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver just to name a few. Jump forward 30 years and now we find ourselves with a new team of ghost exterminators: Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon lead the pack, shall we say gracefully? This movie may seem like a failure in some critics’ eyes, who think “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But this is an entirely different year and different team, so you go girls and kick the asinine out of those ghosts! We just hope the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man doesn’t get stuck in your nice hairs.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (Dover Thrift Editions, January 1, 1991)
While I’m more of an Edgar Allan Poe fan, this is one of the scariest stories of all time. At a lavish, secluded estate a governess is haunted by the spirits of the former governess and her lover. Both she and the housekeeper suspect these ghosts have been communicating with the children of the estate, even though they both deny it. So, are the ghosts real? Are the children communicating with the great beyond? Is an evil deal being struck? Are the servants mad? Get immersed in this beautifully written masterpiece of slow-burning horror and psychological torment. You’ll question the reality of everything around you once you’re finished.
Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano (Simon Pulse, August 2015)
One of the scariest books I’ve ever read, Diary of a Haunting plays into the same category of my personal favorite frightening film, Paranormal Activity. Living the typical teenage life in L.A., Paige is forced to move to a small town in Idaho. As if life couldn’t get any worse, the mansion she now calls home seems to have a different plan for her. Besides the typical spiders and flies, her new home begins to act out in many creepy ways, including her brother’s insomnia and her strange neighbor (we all know that’s never a good sign thanks to Horror Film 101). Not to mention the cult that conducted rituals 100 years prior. Either way you’ll find yourself picking up and putting down this book because it’s just scary good!
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz (Scholastic, 1989)
This might be a throwback book from the annals of any ’90s kid’s childhood, but Alvin Schwartz‘s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is chock-full of ghosts, creepy demons and generally blood-curdling tales that have the actual capacity to frighten adults. Written in the age of children’s content designed to scare the bejesus out of them to a traumatizing degree, Schwartz’s Scary Stories series was made all the spookier by the famous illustrations of Stephen Gammell, which literally look like they were drawn by Satan’s creepiest neighbor. If I were lucky as a kid, the Ghostbusters would have rolled into my room and proton-beamed this book out of my hands, saving me from years of nightmares (Literally, this book is seriously haunted and needs to be put into a non-EPA sanctioned storage facility in a N.Y.C. firehouse).
Maine image credit: SONY