7 Trippy Horror Novels That Will Mess You Up
Ever since watching Terry Gillam’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and subsequently reading the novel, I’ve been obsessed with mind-altering substances and psychedelic experiences. Not so much in real life (my body and mind are not equipped to handle it), but through art and movies and music and, of course, literature. My new novella, Rainbow Filth, comes out September 5th from Ghoulish Books, and it’s about a group of college students and one eccentric professor who become obsessed with an all-natural substance they believe can physically transport them to an alternate dimension.
Yeah. Weird stuff.
Anyway, the new release got me thinking about some of my favorite trippy horror novels. Here’s a list of (maybe) seven titles that will scramble your brain. And if you’re like me — you’ll enjoy that very much.
"Fever Dream" by Samanta Schweblin
This short novel is a mind-bending trip to hell and back. A woman wakes up in a clinic next to a boy she doesn’t know, and the reader is slowly fed pieces of what happened through backstory told in dreamlike segments. It also highlights some major environmental issues facing the author’s home country of Argentina. It’s super short but packs a mean punch, and it will leave you feeling gutshot.
"Ghost Eaters" by Clay McLeod Chapman
When I read Ghost Eaters, I did so with a smile for the entire 300 pages. Even when I was creeped out. Chapman’s novel follows a group of friends as they experiment with a hallucinatory drug that claims to make you see ghosts. Wanna get haunted? is maybe the best tagline ever? Put this one on top of your TBR.
"The Cipher" by Kathe Koja
The Cipher is one of those novels that just sticks with you, the kind you can’t get out of your head no matter how hard you try. Much like “The Funhole” in Kathe Koja’s novel about a guy who discovers a black hole in his complex’s storage room and the chaos that ensues when he starts putting things inside it. This one is wild. And it’s not just one of my favorite trippy horror novels, but one of my favorite novels PERIOD.
"Mexican Gothic" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
This novel starts off in familiar territory for fans of gothic horror, but somewhere in the middle of the story we go off the rails in the best way possible. I don’t want to spoil too much, but Mexican Gothic turned out to be one of my favorite surreal, trippy horror reading experiences.
"John Dies At The End" by John Pargin
Quintessential trippy horror novel right here. In John Dies at the End, our main characters begin to experience weird supernatural phenomena after ingesting a drug known as “Soy Sauce.” It’s a unique reading experience with clever twists and turns, loads of humor, and enough psychedelic nightmares to quench your thirst for such things. I’m also a big fan of the film adaptation and the other novels in the series.
"Annihilation" by Jeff Vandermeer
This book is a literary masterpiece that will probably break your mind if you let it. I remember only being able to read fifteen pages in a sitting because I’m pretty sure I was getting high inside Area X. In the novel, a group of women explore a secluded region which is filled with weird biology and strange botanical specimens. I love this novel so much.
"The Drive-In" by Joe R. Lansdale
Like a novel that describes two human bodies fusing to form a creature known as the Popcorn King is NOT gonna make this list, right? This three-part series reads like a bad acid trip to bizarro country, and that's a compliment. Lansdale is a creative storyteller, and The Drive-In is what happens when an author at the top of his game lets their imagination run wild; this story has no bounds and everything is on the table. Monsters, dinosaurs, horrific chaos — it’s all on display at the drive-in and the price of admission is well worth multiple showings.
BONUS: "House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski
As far as mind-benders go, this one will do you pretty good. Told through a unique, story-within-a-story narrative, House of Leaves will often leave you confused, frustrated, blown away, downright terrified, and will have you questioning reality by the time you reach the end (if you make out alive).
BONUS II: "Drencrom" by Hamelin Bird
Whoa, what’s this? Two bonuses? That’s outrageous. And so is this nasty novella that recently hit the market. Drencrom is about a girl on a quest to score the legendary psychedelic substance known as “adrenochrome.” What happens when she finds it is absolutely wild, a trip like no other. My brain is still recovering.
Get Rainbow Filth directly from Ghoulish Books
To leave a comment