Library staff share their favorite scares

Photo of a creepy tree

In this season of spooks, we asked staff to share the films and books that keep them hidding under the covers. Turns out, we have a few horror aficionados. Checkout one of their recommendations for Halloween mood chills and thrills.


The Autopsy of Jane Doe – This scary movie took me by surprise. It’s the story of two coroners who receive the body of an unidentified woman. As they start to investigate the body, strange things begin happening. This movie was TERRIFYING to watch and does a fantastic job of keeping the watcher in suspense. - Becca Smith, High Springs Branch Library Assistant

Crimson Peak  – Yes, it's cheesy but also visually beautiful. It's just haunting enough to be scary, but not so terrifying that it'll keep you up. - Rachel Cook, Marketing Manager

The Descent  – I’ve never been spelunking a day in my life, but I somehow felt the terror of being trapped in a cave system with carnivorous, bite-y creatures. - Sara Peden, Technical Services Library Specialist

Final Destination – I’m not into scary books or movies, but I have to admit, watching the Final Destination (1 and 2 in particular) got me quite intrigued, even though it’s a bit cheesy.  I’m guessing I probably liked it because it really messed with my mind at the time, getting me curious as to the pattern that the characters were trying to determine in their own deaths.  To this day, I get away from any trucks hauling lumber. - Otto Pleil, eBranch Manager

Kingdom – A cinematically beautiful Korean period drama. With zombies. - Sara Peden, Technical Services Library Specialist

The Loved Ones  – Australian teen girl revenge horror with a cordless drill and party hats. What’s not to love? - Sara Peden, Technical Services Library Specialist

Oculus - A cult classic, this movie brings psychological terror as the main character struggles with both a demonic possessed mirror and his own mental illness, making it subjective as to what is real and what is imagined. - Richard Ross, High Springs Branch Library Page

The Silence of the Lambs – At first it’s off-putting that characters look and speak directly into the camera but you get used to it; you become a smart and ambitious FBI trainee getting leered at and sneered at by strangers.  Then eventually Clarice has to search the basement and the lights cut out; the POV switches and I feel my throat catch every single time. - John Jack, Technical Services Librarian

Teeny Tiny and the Witch Woman – For the kids, but honestly this story has stuck with me all my life.  I first found it when I was 7, and it still gives me the creeps to this day.  A young boy has to save his two older (more reckless) brothers from the dastardly intentions of a witch in the woods. - Sean Waters, Newberry Branch Library Assistant 

Vacancy – It's a gripping thriller and slasher movie that will twist your insides and give you nightmares! I literally woke up screaming in the middle of the night because of this movie. - Coleen Tobin, Millhopper Branch Page



Annihilation — This book does such a fantastic job of creating a subtly eerie atmosphere that grows as the book progresses, making you mistrust everything down to the narrator’s own perceptions of what is happening around them and giving you a feeling of deep “wrongness." - Madison Snyder, Millhopper Branch Library Specialist

Anything by Stephen King — They are designed to bring fear into one's heart. This ranges from Cujo, Carries, Christine, Pet Sematary to Misery. All of these will have you wanting to read what happens next, yet dreading it at the same time. I have stayed up for many night swiht thoughts about these books and have found myslef not wanting to go out at night. - Phillis Filer, Public Services Administrator

Cell   The fact that the zombies moved with a hive mind mentality gave it an extra creepy feel. - Michelle Floyd, Circulation Library Assistant

A Cry In The Night— She meets him, falls in love and quickly marries. Then her nightmare begins. One of my favorites by M.H.C. - Linda Godwin, Tower Road Branch Library Assistant

Birdman – The Jack Caffery series elicits a visceral upset that I rarely find with books. This book in particular is profoundly disturbing. - Sara Peden, Technical Services Library Specialist

Hitchers – A surprisingly haunting story, it caught me off guard with its creepiness.  What happens when the dead start speaking through the living? It touches on both the moral and emotional impact of hearing your dead ones words coming from your own mouth, but also the way society at large breaks down when pandemics run amuck.  Though the ghostly words might not be realistic, the chance of a disease spreading through us and how we would react are all too easy to see happening in today’s world. - Sean Waters, Newberry Branch Library Assistant 

It – A Stephen King classic, this is my favorite of his works for its combination of likeable characters dealing with an incomprehensible and disturbing evil. - Richard Ross, Library Page 

Let the Right One In  Just plain creepy. Kid vampires and all sorts of spookiness. - Lisely Laboy, Youth Services Librarian

Little Darlings – It sounds like it’s a dark fairy tale, and that’s true. But it’s also a horrifying scenario of motherhood.- Sara Peden, Technical Services Library Specialist

Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase — Ghosts. Rapier fights. Talking Skulls. Unsupervised Teenagers. What else could you want? When one of her paranormal investigations goes wrong, killing her fellow child agents, Lucy Carlyle escapes to London. Desperate for money, takes up a position at Lockwood and Co., a small ghost fighting agency run by Anthony Lockwood. But Lucy’s special gift for not only hearing ghosts but being able to speak to them will set her new agency apart. - Danie Ellsworth, Newberry Library Specialist

Nailbiter — This is a graphic novel series I’ve just recently finished about a town that’s home to a bunch of serial killers. The art is really spooky and graphic (not for the faint of heart) and you never know when something scary is going to happen on the very next page. - Becca Smith, High Springs Branch Library Assistant

The Turn of the Screw — Couldn’t read the book in the evening. This novella is about a governess who cares for two children in a remote English estate and becomes convinced that the grounds are haunted by the two previous caretakers, and the last page has the boy…..well, I won’t spoil it for any future readers. - Fiona Lama, Adult Services Library Specialist

Unwind There are several scenes that stick with me to this day. Especially one where what happened to one of the antagonists was so unsettling that I actually felt bad for him after hating him for most of the book. I guess the book generally falls under body horror and psychological horror since the concept is a “what if instead of abortion we let kids grow up and if we didn’t like what they were becoming before they turned 18 we could donate their bodies to be taken apart and given away without killing them.” Very creepy! - Finn Simmons, Circulation Library Page 

Posted by RachelC on October 22, 2019