Recommendations: Horror Novels and Their Adaptations

The Ruins by Scott Smith

This is our great idea of a summer read, but summer doesn’t have to end in Autumn. Four Americans on a Mexican vacation make friends with a fellow tourist. The tourist asks the help of the Americans to help find his brother, who was last scene on an archaelogical dig near some ruins. They agree to help but find that what they’ve stumbled upon is the stuff of nightmares. The film adaptation keeps the same fun pace, but changes a few things near the end.

Let the Right One In by John Ajvde Lindqvist

Mentioned in many episodes, including our Valentines episode on vampires. A string of violent murders sweep a Swedish suburbs in the 1980’s. A boy named Oskar is grappling loneliness as he is extremely bullied. He meets a strange child in his apartment complex named Eli. She only comes out at night, and she might be hiding a secret.

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

This classic has a fanstastic audiobook if you can find it. The good news for those of you who have kindle unlimited, it’s available on there too. This horrifying story follows a single mother in Washington DC whose daughter becomes possessed by a demon after playing with a Ouija board.

The Bad Seed by William March

This 1950’s book was discussed in our creepy kids episode, especially how Hollywood’s codes of the era caused the film’s ending to be censored. Also, there is a Lifetime movie remake coming out. Rhoda seems like the perfect child. She’s prim, proper and respectful, but her mother starts wondering what’s going on when a boy who won the penmanship over Rhoda turns up dead on a field trip.

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

This Japanese novel is hard to put down, we talked about this one in our survival horror episode.  A class of high-schoolers are drugged and wake up on an island with strict instructions from a goverment program that they are to kill each other until there is only one person left standing. This one is not light on the bloodshed and reads more like a thriller than your usual horror novel.

Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

We talk about this 1970’s book on our young adult horror episode. A young girl is sent to a special boarding school that holds a dark secret. Why is the school so selective? What are they hiding? After reading this young adult classic, you can check out the recently released adapatation with Uma Thurman. If you’re in the mood for a slasher, you can always read Lois Duncan’s other book, I Know What You Did Last Summer and watch the film.

IT by Stephen King

We couldn’t write this list and not include at least ONE Stephen King adaptation. We decided on It because there are two adaptations to choose from and we’ve mentioned it on the podcast. There are always a lot of other adaptations to choose from.

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson

We”ve talked about this one in our early haunted house episode. The Lutz family thought they were moving into their dream house. The beautiful Long Island house was spacious enough for their new family and even had a boathouse, but it also had a sordid history of the mysterious DeFeo murders. So what caused the Lutz family to flee from their dream home in 1975? There are plenty are quite a few  films about the Amityville house. We would recommend the original or the 2005 remake.

The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker

There are a few Clive Barker adaptations out in the world, The Candyman and Midnight Meat Train from The Books of Blood, but perhaps the most famous is The Hellbound Heart which introduced the world to Pinhead and the Cenobites and spawned the Hellraiser franchise. Frank Cotton’s devious appetites leads to the Lemarchand’s Box which leads to a horrifying and tortuous death. That is, until, his lovesick sister-in-law finds a horrifying way to bring him back.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

There are many adapatations to choose from with this classic. Jonathan Harker heads to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania for what is supposed to be an easy real estate transaction. On his way to the castle, he notices that the townspeople are acting strange, and keep warning him about the Count. We recommend the Audible audiobook narrated by Tim Curry and Ala Cumming, as we mentioned in our vampire episode.




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