Salem's Lot is probably one of King's top five scariest stories, ranking with The Shining, It, Pet Sematary, and maybe Christine or Misery in terms of horror and terror. Several things about this book creeped me out completely (SPOILERS AHEAD), starting with the silent, gradual infestation of the town. Characters who are forgotten for a few pages either disappear or turn up with the same mysterious "illness," walking around listlessly in a near-daze. Three-quarters of the way into the book, you begin to feel many anxiety-inducing emotions; a paranoid sense of being both outnumbered and watched; a claustrophobic, suffocating oppression; and eventually, pure fear of the evil aura that envelopes Salem's Lot. King also had me literally afraid of being inside the Marsten House. From the physical descriptions of the structure to the unimaginable (except to King, of course) and thoroughly disturbing history behind it, I had a distinct feeling of not wanting the characters to go in even though that was the whole point of their mission. That's good storytelling, in my opinion. Finally, the vampires are true horror-story vampires, from an age when they were still monsters rather than glittery teen heart throbs. Absolutely horrific images arise from so many scenes; Danny Glick floating outside his brother's window, Mike Ryerson's hideous "awakening" at Matt Burke's house, the vampire nest in the Marsten House's cellar, and Barlow himself, forcing Father Callahan to drink his blood, crushing the skulls of Mark's parents in front of their son...well, there's a reason King was considered the master of American horror back in the day. Read Salem's Lot late one night when you're alone if you enjoy being ridiculously scared by a book.