(I started writing so many notes about kayaking, oceans, horrors from the depths, and pirates that I decided to just start a tumblr for that writing. Here are the ideas that got me heading in that direction; you can read more at The Seas are Dark and Full of Terror.)
"Fuck. You don't get a chance to know what the fuck you are in some factory in Ohio."- Apocalypse Now
Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad): The Horror! The Horror! Generally, people suck. Also, interesting discussion of rivers as the real places of exploration of the self and humanity (which as a river kayaker I completely understand).
Fevre Dream (George R. R. Martin): The tale of a tired riverboat captain reaching for a last chance at riches and glory on the antebellum Mississippi… but his business partner is a fucking vampire! In the middle of a vampire war! Also, Martin later went on to write a little known series called A Song of Ice and Fire, starting with an obscure book called Game of Thrones.
Apocalypse Now Redux (Francis Ford Coppola): You probably already know all about the original film, but after the “behind the scenes” documentary Hearts of Darkness came out a revised edition that included cut material shown in the documentary was released. The stopover at the French plantation, which may be a literal ghost town, is one of the best scenes in any version. Also, Apocalypse Now Redux is my 2nd favorite reimagining of Heart of Darkness after the misunderstood (and terribly named) console game Spec Ops: The Line by 2K Games.
Call Down Thunder (Kerry Newcomb)
My favorite book ever, which separates the man Mike Fink from the legend of Mike Fink by making them two different characters, who frequently come into conflict. Perhaps not as creepy as everything else on this list, except for the Shawnee torture practices, the really detailed romp with a serving wench, and Fink's constantly speaking to the Mississippi, Ohio, and Monongahela like they were lovers. Also, you may not have any idea who Mike Fink is, but once upon a time he was as legendary as Davy Crockett and had his own ride at Disney.