6 Spooktacular Malaysian Horror Books To Keep You Wide Awake At Night

Homegrown frights from creepy folklore to gruesome murders.

Cover image via @penguinbookssea (Instagram) & @mylitbooks (Instagram)

1. Taiping Tales of Terror by Julya Oui

13 boys gather and tell tales at night around a campfire about a headless ghost that returns as a grim reaper, a bird-like creature, a vengeful were-tiger, and a murderous vampire. 

As the storytelling session ends, the boys realise that they started out with only 12 people.

Read this if you're into:
- Paranormal entities
- Malaysian folklore
- Twist endings

2. 13 MOONS by Ee Leen Lee

In this book, look out for stories like 'Red Balloon', which tells the story of a ghost of a young girl who asks for help from the residents or passers-by near a playground to uncover the truth of her death.

In 'Joe Moth', the protagonist listens to the disturbing conversation between two children on an airplane, and in 'The Specialist's Cat', a girl makes a deal with the devil to protect herself and her mother from an abusive father.

Read this if you're into:
- Rural Malay horror
- Modern/contemporary settings
- Double-twist endings

3. Scream to the Shadows by Tunku Halim

Scream to the Shadows features five different themes like 'The Occult World' and 'Fragmented Minds'.

The controversial story of 'The Rape of Martha Teoh' tells of a returning ghost of an abusive husband; in 'Ladiah', a mysterious maid uses black magic to seduce her boss, and '44 Cemetery Road' tells an evil tale of the undead.

Read this if you're into:
- Gothic horror
- Graphic descriptions
- Revenge tales

4. Dark Highways by Megat Ishak

Image via Ookbee MY

The book boasts that it is "not for the squeamish".

Stories vary from a killer going on a rampage to avenge his uncle, a cannibal who wants to be loved, and a person taking the new highway back home only to discover there are strange things lurking on the highway.

Read this if you're into:
- Gore
- Cannibalism
- Visceral imagery

5. Remang: An Anthology of Ghostly Tales by Daphne Lee

Image via BookaliciousMY

If you like traditional Malaysian horror, this book is full of it. In 'Heirloom', the main character tries to get rid of a toyol and loses everything in the process and 'Restless' tells the depressing story of a girl who always repeats the same dream of walking on an empty road and sleepwalks herself into danger in the real world.

'An Umbrella Exit' is set on a train during the Hungry Ghost Festival while 'Hard As Nails' is a fresh take on a very old story of a pontianak and a bomoh who removes her curse.

Read this if you're into:
- Classic Malay ghosts
- Malaysian horror tropes

6. Dark City by Xeus

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This book contains 12 stories of depravity such as 'Psychotic', about a young waitress who is kidnapped in a dark alley by a serial rapist.

In 'One If By Land' a prisoner investigates what is causing his inmates to drop dead before he is next, in 'A Grave Error', a man wakes up in pitch-black darkness, only to find out he is trapped inside his own coffin.

Read this if you're into:
- Shocking twists
- Sadistic crimes
- The dark side of human nature

Here's another list of books if you prefer thrills over chills:

Not a book reader? Watch some scary movies instead:

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