If You Get Too Scared, You Can Always Hit Pause
A heightened fight-or-flight response. A flood of dopamine to the brain. The spine-tingling friction of experiencing danger in a safe environment.
Scientists, psychologists and pop culture pundits have long theorized why we love horror so much. Why do we flock to haunted houses, line up for horror movies or spend the cold fall evenings indoors with scary audiobooks? We’ve even turned our obsession with the macabre into an annual holiday, Halloween. Why do we do that?
The long answer lies somewhere in our shared psychology and biochemistry. But let’s stick with the short answer: being scared is just fun. There's no need to analyze it to death. Horror is one of those genres that offers pure enjoyment, whether you’re listening by yourself or with a group.
This Halloween, Sink Your Teeth into a Scary Title at Audible
This Halloween, stay indoors with a chilling, gripping, thought-provoking horror audiobook or true crime podcast.
If you have kids, make it an event – hang the skeletons and fake spider webs, crack open the candy corn and create a pillow fort in the living room. Follow our list of fun ways to celebrate below to make this Halloween a memorable one.
If you’re home alone, draw a bath, tuck yourself under the covers or listen while you kick back with a blood-red glass of wine. And if you get a phone call, hopefully it isn’t coming from within the house (dun dun DUN!).
To help you craft the creepiest experience possible, we’ve compiled 30 of the finest frightening titles, broken down into easy-to-navigate sections. You’ll find classic horror audiobooks, new horror audiobooks, scary audiobooks for kids, eerie true crime podcasts and more.
And keep the Halloween spirit alive (or shall we say “undead”) throughout the year by listening to all of these fantastic titles. Listen to them in their order of appearance on this list, or skip to the section that best speaks to you.
Without further ado: dim the lights, open the Audible app and sink your teeth into these 30 frightening titles.
Turns out we've always loved a good horror story. Since the days when tales were traded around a communal fire or broadcast over a tiny radio, horror's been a favourite of literature lovers.
And these classic horror stories have lost none of their ability to scare us. Just like vampires, these classic works may be hundreds of years old, but they still have the same vim, vigour and bite.
Whether you’re interested in classic literature or are searching for an old-fashioned fright this Halloween, check out these foundational works from the horror genre's trailblazers. With their vivid settings, haunting tones and timeless characters, they make the perfect accompaniment for a Halloween graveyard stroll or midnight stargaze.
To get the maximum mileage out of these creepy tales, choose a listening location that fits the audiobook. For Dracula, wait until dark and find a hilly, wooded trail evocative of the Transylvanian countryside. Or dim the lights in the basement and turn the volume way up. Many Lovecraft stories take place in fictional New England shore towns, so if you have access to the ocean (a lake or river will do in a pinch) take a night stroll with your headphones. And if you’re listening to Shirley Jackson’s seminal The Haunting of Hill House, find a nearby neighbourhood with old Gothic architecture or sinister-looking houses.
However you choose to experience them, you’ll love these classic works of horror literature.
There are hundreds of puns we could use here (“sink your teeth into Dracula,” “this classic work still has teeth,” “it’s a bloody good audiobook,” etc.) but Bram Stoker’s classic vampire audiobook deserves better.
This is where it all began – where the global fascination with vampires started. Although folklore about undead bloodsuckers had been around for millennia, Dracula made vampires a certifiable cultural phenomenon.
The story involves a mysterious Transylvanian Count (who researchers suggest is loosely based on the historical Transylvanian warlord, Vlad the Impaler) as he moves to England to find new blood. Told in “epistolary form,” through letters, ships’ logs and newspaper articles, Dracula makes you feel like you’re right there in the action, whether it’s on a Russian ship bound for England, as the crew slowly goes missing, or on the smoggy streets of London, as Count Dracula stalks his prey.
It’s no wonder this seminal horror audiobook still captivates over 120 years after its release.
“I think it is beyond doubt that H. P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.” That’s a quote from contemporary horror master Stephen King (who gets his own section later in this article). It goes to show you the profound influence Lovecraft had, and continues to have, on the horror genre.
The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft has all the evidence you need to support King’s claim. It’s a collection of 74 stories, totalling over 50 hours of Lovecraftian horror, including classics like “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Shadow over Innsmouth” and “At the Mountains of Madness.”
For Lovecraft completists and novices alike, this stellar audiobook is a window into the strange, unsettling and fantastical mind of a horror icon. If you’re unfamiliar with Lovecraft, but like the stranger side of horror (the hit TV show Stranger Things was actually inspired in part by Lovecraft), get your tentacles on The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft.
“Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more.” These lines open Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.
Shirley Jackson may be best known for her tense, disquieting short story “The Lottery,” but it’s her full-length audiobook The Haunting of Hill House that we want to spend time with this Halloween.
Hailed by many as the one of the – if not the – greatest ghost story of the last hundred years, The Haunting of Hill House is the classic haunted house audiobook. If it didn’t invent the haunted house subgenre, it certainly popularized it.
It centres on the now-familiar narrative of a rag tag group spending the night at a haunted house: an occult scholar, his lighthearted assistant, a recently homeless girl with an interest in poltergeists and the future heir to Hill House. They may come together, but Hill House conspires to separate them.
There’s some debate as to whether Toni Morrison’s masterpiece Beloved fits in the horror genre. Those on the nay side argue that its thematic expansiveness and literary style push it outside the realm of horror. Others maintain it has all the hallmarks of a classic horror audiobook. What everyone can agree on, however, is that the antagonist in Beloved is no ordinary horror villain. The monster in Beloved is the system of slavery that oppressed and degraded Black American life.
The story follows Sethe, an enslaved woman who escapes and moves to Ohio to be free. She discovers, however, there is no freedom from the past — her new home is haunted by the spectre of her nameless child, whose tombstone only reads: Beloved.
Unflinching, poetic, taut and suspenseful, Beloved is a towering achievement in literature. It demands, and rewards careful attention and reflection. Whether you consider it a horror audiobook or not is up to your interpretation, but one thing is certain – Beloved will move you.
On its surface, Frankenstein may seem like a straightforward monster story, but Shelley’s classic audiobook is about more than just a hulking brute with bars in its neck. It’s about scientific hubris, identity, prejudice and isolation.
While studying at the University of Ingolstadt in Germany, young Victor Frankenstein stumbles upon the secret to creating life. Setting aside moral concerns, the young scientist decides to animate a creature, but he is so repulsed by his creation’s horrifying appearance that he abandons it.
Frankenstein’s monster is cast from society, abused and estranged, until it vows to take revenge on its creator. Frankenstein forces listeners to ask themselves: Who’s the real monster? And if suffering and desire are hallmarks of the human condition, is the monster just as human as any of us?
Scary, evocative and surprisingly sad, this is the perfect audiobook for lovers of both horror and literature. If you love classic horror movies and the classic horror characters they’ve spawned, you’ll love the original Frankenstein.
There's more to the horror genre than the older audiobooks. Discover five authors bearing the torch for a new generation of fright fans.
These contemporary horror classics are perfect for fans of the genre who want to start an online book club – just round up a few of your most thick-skinned friends and work your way through these hot-off-the-press horrors. To keep things on track, make a book club template with questions about themes, main characters, major plot points and probing questions individual to each title. Then, set a time to meet with friends over video chat and open up the floor for discussion. Horror audiobooks can be every bit as deep and affecting as other genres, so why not celebrate them with a book club?
You’ve probably heard of the Donner Party, but in case you haven’t, here are the salient points. The Donner Party was a real pioneer group in the 1800s that traveled a wagon trail from the Midwest to California. Stuck in the snowy mountain ranges of the Sierra Nevada, the group had to resort to cannibalism to survive.
That’s the historical backdrop for Alma Katsu’s supernatural thriller The Hunger. As the ill-begotten wagon train suffers through hardship, madness and the mysterious disappearances of its group members, many start to suspect something supernatural. Something waiting for them in the mountains, or an evil growing within them.
Talk surrounding The Hunger has only increased since its release a couple years ago. The horror audiobook is gaining a reputation at water coolers and in video chats across the country as one of those must-listen recommendations. But its recommendation usually carries a warning: this audiobook will scare the pants off you.
If you’ve got the appetite this Halloween, check out The Hunger.
In the future, when horror-heads talk about the year 2020, one title will probably stand tall above the rest: Stephen Graham Jones’ The Only Good Indians. (Well, maybe two titles: Lucy Foley’s The Guest List is also spectacular).
The Only Good Indians is a masterful blend of horror, social commentary and interpersonal drama. The story follows four Blackfeet Nation friends who take a nighttime hunting trip on land reserved for tribe elders. After killing nine elk, the group starts dressing the carcasses, only to discover that one of the elk was pregnant – and the calf is still alive.
Jump ahead a decade. Lewis, one of the four hunters, is still haunted by the experience. And the haunting takes a sinister, physical form when Lewis finds a dead elk on his living room floor. As more strange, violent occurrences take place, the group begins to wonder whether the past is out to get them.
When major publications like The New York Times, USA Today, NPR and Kirkus Reviews all rally behind a horror title as one of their best books of the year, you take notice. When that title goes on to win an American Book Award, a Locus Award for Best Horror Novel, a British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel and a World Fantasy Award for Best Novel – well, there’s just no denying it. You have to listen to this audiobook.
When Apollo Kagwa’s wife starts acting strange, he assumes she’s suffering through post-partum depression. But he quickly realizes her troubles extend much further. After she commits an unspeakable act and vanishes, Apollo must traverse a world he thought he knew to find his wife and child. Along the way, he visits a forgotten island in New York City’s East River, a graveyard of secrets and a forest in Queens where immigrant legends still live.
The Changeling is a dark fairy tale that touches on race, mythology, parenthood, immigration and loss. It’s frightening. It’s also vital and probing.
Another standout in a packed year for new horror audiobooks is Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic, a strange, beautiful and truly terrifying twist on the classic Gothic novel. We’re partial to The Guardian’s description: “It’s Lovecraft meets the Brontës in Latin America.”
When Noemí receives a distressing letter from her newlywed cousin, she packs her bags and heads to the Mexican countryside to help. What she discovers is – let’s call it an inhospitable environment. Her cousin’s new husband, a handsome Englishman, is alluring but menacing. His father, the ancient patriarch of the countryside estate, is weirdly obsessed with Noemí. And the house itself invades her dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Noemí is a character that defies easy classification: she’s strong, smart, chic and glamorous. And Mexican Gothic is similarly unpredictable. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, it throws another horrifying curveball. You’ve never heard a horror audiobook like this before.
The Toussaint family home has stood in Sacajawea, Washington for generations. The residents have even bestowed a name on it: The Good House. But Angela Toussaint hopes to sell it. There are too many bad memories there, including her mother’s suicide when she was a child, and her son’s suicide three years ago. As she returns to The Good House, though, she starts to uncover its secrets.
Could the tragedies be related to a terrifying entity Angela's grandmother battled seven decades ago? And what about the other senseless tragedies that Sacajawea has experienced in recent years? Did Angela's grandmother, reputed to have "powers," put a curse on the entire community?
Told in nonlinear fashion, this unconventional haunted house tale explores the links between past and present, secrets and truth, good and evil. It’s an engrossing audiobook – its twists and turns, frights and gasps would make a fine addition to your Halloween plans.
Looking to serve up a scare this Halloween? For an exciting alternative to trick-or-treating, scare up an at-home Halloween with the kids. Dress up in your costumes, build a pillow fort, shine the flashlight under your chin and let Audible tell a few scary stories.
For the perfect at-home Halloween party with the kids that will come together in no time, start by scouring the home for costume ideas. An old sheet can be transformed into a spooky ghost with a few snips of the scissors. With a wire hanger, a couple of plastic bags and some quality craft time with the kids, you can create beautiful wings for an angel costume.
To create the perfect mood, break out the blankets and make a fort. A tent-shaped pillow fort with a few lights will make the living room feel like a nighttime campsite! Finally, break out the scary stories. Explore an expansive list of kids’ Halloween audiobooks at Audible, or simply choose from our selections below.
Oh, and make sure there’s candy. Parents know that you can change nearly everything about Halloween except the candy.
Luckily, Audible has scary kids’ audiobooks for every age. In this section, we’ve listed a few of our favourites. As always, if the frights get too intense just hit pause on the app and search for some gentler kids’ audiobooks at Audible.
A “Jumbie” is a mythological creature in Caribbean folklore – sometimes a spirit, sometimes a demon. They lurk in the forests, their yellow eyes following you as you walk home. They aren’t actually real, of course. Or are they?
Corinne La Mer suspects that her island home is in peril, that the Jumbies are preparing to take over. When a beautiful stranger, Severine, appears in town and bewitches her father, Corinne’s suspicions are confirmed. But she won’t give up without a fight. With the help of her friends – plus a little ancient magic she didn’t know she possessed – Corinne sets out to stop Severine and save her island from the Jumbies.
One of several spectacular #ownvoices kids’ horror audiobooks, Tracey Baptiste’s The Jumbies reframes the classic monster story in a refreshing new light. It also features one of the fiercest, gutsiest young heroines in the genre.
Clocking in at just over five hours, start this fantastic kids’ audiobook the night before Halloween – that way you can tune in to the thrilling conclusion on October 31st.
Roald Dahl’s The Witches is one of those classic kids’ Halloween audiobooks that never goes out of style. Some families even make it an annual tradition. Kids love its off-beat brand of spooky humour, its larger-than-life characters and outlandish imagery.
The story follows a young orphan (he’s known only as “the boy”) who goes to live with his grandma. The two are great friends and she often tells him wild stories about witches – toeless, bald, claw-handed creatures who prey on children. His grandma warns him: Beware of the Grand High Witch, the feared leader of the witches!
Sure enough, the boy encounters the Grand High Witch while on holiday with his grandma on the English coast. And again, sure enough, she’s every bit as fearsome as his grandmother warned. When the Grand Witch turns the boy into a mouse, he embarks on a quest to outfox the witches, putting an end to their tyranny once and for all.
This charming, suspenseful kids’ horror audiobook is great for children 10 years and older. Its refreshing blend of humour, creepiness and nail-biting tension makes for a wild, five-and-a-half-hour roller coaster ride that kids and parents alike will love.
Set in the swampy heat of 1930s Alabama, Hoodoo follows a 12-year-old boy named Hoodoo Hatcher whose family has a rich tradition of practicing magic. There’s just one problem: unlike the rest of his family, Hoodoo can’t cast a spell to save his life.
Hoodoo’s hoping that’ll change, especially when a mysterious stranger decides to roll in, threatening the entire town with powerful black magic.
If you’re looking for bite-sized horror tales to accompany those bite-sized candy bars, look no further than this collection of kids’ horror short stories. Helmed by perhaps the most famous kids’ horror author, R.L. Stine (of Goosebumps fame), Camp Red Moon is the closest you’ll get to trading spooky stories around a campfire.
Each story in Camp Red Moon takes place at a sleepaway camp. Listen as campers contend with stalking werewolves, out-of-control robots, lingering ghosts and sneaky shapeshifters. Each tale contains spooky situations and tantalizing twists that will have your kids howling this Halloween.
Check out Camp Red Moon, free with your first 30 days.
This National Book Award finalist and winner of the Stonewall Book Award is YA at its best. It’s not strictly a horror, but rather a genre-bending monster story about community, truth and fighting for a better world.
Jam is a 15-year old trans girl from a city called Lucille. Lucille’s a safe place, and Jam feels protected and loved by the community around her. After all, as she and her friends learned to grow up, Lucille got rid of all its monsters years ago.
Then Jam meets Pet, a monster who pops out of one of her mother’s paintings. Pet’s unlike the monsters she learned about as a kid – this one seems pretty sweet, actually. As Jam is forced to reconsider what exactly makes a monster, Pet enlists her to hunt a true monster.
Richly detailed, metaphorical and profound, Pet introduces young listeners to vital, relevant questions: What really makes a monster? And how do you stop a monster when no one will admit it exists? Use Pet as a launchpad to discuss big ideas and themes with your kids. Have them draw a monster and discuss the ways in which they would defeat their creature.
It's a common refrain from moviegoers: "It was good, but the audiobook was better."
There’s something about the source material that often gets lost in adaptation. Maybe it’s the slow-building tension, the richly detailed atmosphere or the inner thoughts of the protagonists. Or perhaps it’s the immersive experience of listening.
This fall, take a break from your screens and get your scares from an audiobook. You can enhance the creepy atmosphere by dimming the lights and lighting a few candles. And to suffuse some relaxation into your evening – and to offset some of the white-knuckle tension – draw a bath or bundle up in your warmest blankets. These horror audiobooks can also be a fantastic alternative to your weekend night movie routine. Pop a bag of popcorn, lean back on the couch and be prepared to have a nightmare or two tonight.
Is the audiobook better? Discover for yourself with these five, frightening audiobooks adapted into major Hollywood thriller and horror movies.
The brilliance of John Malerman’s audiobook lies in its simplicity. There’s a monster out there and one look at it will drive you mad. But you have to flee to safety. This simple narrative is squeezed for every last thrill and chill in Bird Box, as a young mother, Malorie, and her two kids travel blindfolded down a 20-mile stretch of river.
The unseen terror is always lurking and Malorie’s unsure whether the people she meets along the way can be trusted. This harrowing, white-knuckle travel story will keep you on the edge of your seat (or bed or bath or exercise bike – wherever you decide to listen).
For the ultimate Bird Box experience, close your eyes (bonus points for using a blindfold) and listen in the darkest room possible. Whatever you do, don’t open your eyes!
While Gone Girl received mainstream attention thanks to a David Fincher-directed, Ben Affleck-starring hit film, thriller fans were already well aware of the material. Gillian Flynn’s fast-paced psychological thriller about The World’s Worst Marriage made an immediate impact when it walked down the aisle in 2012.
The story begins with Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. But what’s supposed to be a day celebrating their union ends in separation, as Amy vanishes without a trace. Suddenly, Nick, the town golden boy, is suspect number one. Told through Amy and Nick’s alternating viewpoints, Gone Girl allows listeners to form their own opinions – opinions that are constantly tested and twisted with new revelations.
Gone Girl is the story of a marriage buckling under layers of deceit and manipulation. It’s also a carefully plotted mystery that gets more devilish and delicious the more you listen. If you’re in the mood for a tense “she said, he said” movie audiobook this October, reach for Gone Girl at Audible.
“The power of Christ compels you!”
If you’re like most horror film buffs, the image of young Linda Blair’s demon head swivelling around is probably burned into your memory – and so is that iconic line of dialogue, delivered with panicked intensity by Max von Sydow’s Father Merrin. But did you know that the classic 1973 film, widely regarded as one of the best horror movies of all time, started its life as a novel?
William Peter Blatty’s blood-curdling tale of a possessed young girl shocked the world when it was released nearly 50 years ago. And the intervening half-century has done little to dampen its impact. Narrated with surprising range and adeptness by Blatty himself (as well as Eliana Shaskan), The Exorcist is a seriously “possessing” and terrifying experience. Enter at your own peril!
Hannibal Lecter is a horror villain icon, thanks in part to Anthony Hopkins’ disquieting performance in the 1991 film. But a bulk of the credit needs to go to Thomas Harris, whose Hannibal Lecter audiobook series brought the creepy cannibal to life.
Although The Silence of the Lambs is book two in the Hannibal Lecter series (after the stellar Red Dragon), it’s a fantastic entry point. This audiobook has it all: a suspenseful plot, richly imagined characters and disturbing twists.
We’ve listed the abridged version here, which clocks in at just over three hours – perfect for a Halloween night indoors. The movie audiobook is also narrated by the inimitable Kathy Bates (herself famous for a horror movie audiobook adaptation, Misery).
Here’s your chance to listen before the movie comes out.
Although the film adaption is slated for some time this year, it’s difficult to imagine anything topping A.J. Finn’s audiobook. Gillian Flynn (author of the above Gone Girl) called it "Astounding. Thrilling. Amazing." And Stephen King (who gets his very own section below) called it “unputdownable.”
The Woman in the Window follows a New York City recluse named Anna Fox. Watching her new neighbours from the safety of her window, Anna witnesses something she shouldn’t. With this inciting incident, Finn’s diabolically gripping thriller kicks into high gear, reaching Hitchcockian levels of psychological tension.
Will the movie surpass it? Only time will tell.
Truth is stranger (and scarier) than fiction sometimes. If you prefer your frights with a long list of historical footnotes, check out these five, tense Audible Original true crime podcasts.
The wonderful thing about true crime podcasts is how immersive they are. It’s difficult not to get sucked into the real-world tension and drama of murder investigations, cold case files, heists and sordid criminal activity. Unlike crime shows on TV, however, you can take podcasts wherever you go, making it that much easier to binge them. Make less screen time and more scream time.
Put together the pieces of a conspiracy puzzle as you do an actual puzzle with your partner. Run from the scene of a crime as you do your morning run around the block. Bury the evidence as you plant your fall garden. Or dig deeper into a police investigation as you finish yard work before the winter. Provided there’s nothing demanding your immediate attention, you can continue bingeing these gripping true crime tales as long as you want.
And check out our monthly Editors’ Extra – a free listen, chosen by our editors for you each month. That’s on top of your monthly credit! This October, the free Editors’ Extra is the shocking true crime story, If You Tell.
However you like to listen, start these true crime podcasts now to reach their gripping conclusions in time for October 31st!
For decades, we called him by his nicknames: The Golden State Killer, The Original Night Stalker, The Visalia Ransacker. No one knew his true identity. Then, in 2018, authorities used DNA evidence linked to the crime to arrest 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo. The bogeyman finally had a name.
Gritty details are abundant in Evil Has a Name: The Untold Story of the Golden State Killer Investigation. Featuring a slew of personalities close to the investigation, as well as new details about The Golden State Killer, Evil Has a Name is a meticulously structured and expertly written podcast exploring evil in its truest form.
Who better than Sir Michael Caine – the star of classic heist movies like The Italian Job – to host a podcast about true heist stories?
Caine only played thieves in movies. But in Heist with Michael Caine he shines a light on the real swindlers, marauders and bandits. From the largest bank robbery in American history, to the world’s most daring book theft, this enthralling true crime podcast travels to America, Australia, Sweden, Belgium and everywhere in-between to tell true stories behind the world’s most daring heists.
Delivered in Caine’s trademark Cockney baritone, the stories here are wildly fun and wonderfully riveting.
Just as the physical city streets have their seedy underbellies, so too does the internet. Replete with drug trafficking, government espionage, anonymous hacking groups and fraudsters, the web can be a shady place. How much do we really know about what’s going on?
That’s where tech writer Geoff White and producer Bernard P. Achampon enter. In their stellar true crime podcast series, The Dark Web, they cast an investigatory light on the nether world of the worldwide web.
In March 2011, the Los Zetas drug cartel swept through a small Mexican border town called Allende, murdering and kidnapping many of the residents. As ProPublica's Pulitzer Prize-winning Ginger Thompson puts it in this probing, meticulous podcast: “Gunmen from one of the most violent drug-trafficking organizations in the world swept through this little town like a flash flood.”
The Making of a Massacre follows Thompson as she investigates the tragedy, interviewing townspeople, officials and cartel members. Over five episodes, she illustrates the scope of the calamity, the failures of the DEA and the ways in which Los Zetas exacted influence over average citizens.
Over 23 days in October 2002, a sniper wreaked havoc on the DC area, murdering everyday citizens and bringing the region to its knees. Law enforcement scrambled to put together the pieces. The 24-hour news cycle stoked fear into a fever pitch. And a series of shoddy theories and bad leads confused the whole ordeal.
Nearly two decades later, Call Me God reopens the DC sniper investigation. With accounts from victims, family members of the deceased and people close to the perpetrators, as well as insights into behavioral, ballistic, forensic and electronic analysis, Jim and Tim Clemente (both FBI agents) piece together the tragedy. Listen to this harrowing, captivating podcast today on Audible.
The King of Horror is so prolific, so influential and so consistent in his ability to scare the pants off us that we had to give him his own section. Here in King's Corner, we've chosen five of the finest Stephen King horror audiobooks, including a balanced mix of his older classics and contemporary hair-raisers.
This fall, make Stephen King a part of your normal routine. Get goosebumps on a chilly autumn walk around the neighbourhood. Work up a panic sweat at the gym. Or if you’re commuting on Monday morning, make the trip even scarier.
Many of King’s audiobooks are long, so don’t be afraid to make them a weeklong project. Start one Monday evening as a welcome respite from the beginning of the workweek. Follow up with the next few chapters on your Tuesday morning commute or as you enjoy your morning coffee at home. Reach the apex of tension during your Wednesday workout. Write the entirety of Thursday evening off, because you have to know what happens next. And then gently settle into the resolution on Friday, just in time for the weekend.
When Monday rolls around again, pick up another King classic and repeat the whole process. Now that’s a way to spend your fall!
If The Shining was written in 2020, it would probably feature the world’s worst TripAdvisor review. “While the rooms at the Overlook Hotel were nice, the ghost of the former caretaker urged me to kill my family and the hotel itself continually attempted to possess me.” Still, this King classic is a must-listen for horror lovers. If you’ve only seen the movie, do yourself a favour and check out the audiobook!
If you’ve exhausted King’s back catalogue but are still in the mood for his trademark brand of horror, you’re in luck. Forty-six years after he began his writing career with Carrie, Stephen King continues to churn out hits. His most recent full-length horror audiobook, The Institute, follows the nighttime abduction of a child with extranormal gifts, who is taken to a ruthless, inescapable place known only as The Institute.
Here it is: the Stephen King horror audiobook that singlehandedly gave an entire generation of adults clown-phobia. It’s easy to see why. Pennywise is one of King’s most spine-chilling creations – a shapeshifting monster that feeds on human fear. If you loved the recent hit movies, you’re going to love immersing yourself in It: a 44-hour thrill ride fleshed out with strong character development and impressive world-building.
King’s most recent audiobook is the collection of short stories, If It Bleeds. In it, a dead man’s cell phone still communicates from beyond the grave, a writer makes a Faustian bargain with a rat and a shadowy group of reporters create and sell grief. Each of the frightening short stories in If It Bleeds would make a perfect Halloween night accompaniment.
A relative newcomer to the pantheon of All-Time Greatest Stephen King Audiobooks is The Outsider. Following the grisly murder of a young boy in Flint City, police arrest popular local resident Terry Maitland. As you might guess, though, nothing is quite as it seems in a Stephen King audiobook, and the investigation takes shocking twists and turns. This is pure white-knuckle suspense, written with King’s characteristic verve and economy. Don’t make the mistake of starting this one late at night – its bingeability makes it impossible to turn off.
There’s something about horror and suspense that lends itself to the audio medium. For countless generations, horror stories and frightening true accounts have been passed down orally – whether by the campfire, by the bedside or around a hushed dinner table of friends.
An integral part of the scary story experience is hearing someone narrate, letting the dynamics and idiosyncrasies of their voice deepen the material. It makes it all the more chilling. And it connects us, in a safe way, to one of the most fundamental human emotions – fear.
Hopefully, you’ve found something to scare you in our list of the 30 most frightening titles at Audible. If there’s a hidden gem we’ve missed, we’d like to know. Send us your ultimate Halloween listening recommendations on social media. Together, let’s share the experience of being scared silly.