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This story first appeared in the Oct. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
1. Something Wicked This Way Comes (Ray Bradbury)
Bradbury is a hero of mine. He turned me into a reader when I was 9 or 10. Before that, it was only comics. This librarian told me, “If you like comic books, you’ll like Ray Bradbury.” [The book] is about a boy in the Midwest — I’m from the Midwest — who sneaks out late at night and goes to where a carnival is setting up, and it turns out to be an extremely evil carnival.
2. “The Black Cat” (Edgar Allan Poe)
In junior high, we ordered from the Scholastic Book Club, and it had an edition of Poe stories. “The Black Cat” was in it. [In the story,] they can’t get rid of [the cat], so they wall it up, but that doesn’t kill it. It’s a very creepy story.
3. Misery (Stephen King)
It’s my favorite King book and it may be the best book ever written about writers and editors. His “editor” has him chained to the bed and she’s going to cut off parts of him unless he writes what she wants him to write. That’s terrifying to a writer!
4. Pet Sematary (Stephen King)
It’s an amazing horror novel. They bring their pet back to life, and when it comes back, it isn’t quite the same. That, to me, is just an amazing, creepy premise.
5. A Simple Plan (Scott Smith)
I really admire this book about four friends who find a bag of money from a crashed airplane. They’re going to hide the money and wait and make sure it’s safe, but they start doing terrible things to one another. It’s scary to see how friends can get out of control. It’s a brilliant plot.
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