5 of the best horror book to movie adaptations

By Katy Thornton

October 21, 2021 at 4:32pm

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It's always easier to brave a horror movie if you've read the book first

A fan of scary books but too chicken for scary movies? We're not judging, that's us too. If you want to participate in horror movie watching this Halloween, consider one of these book to movie adaptation. Although we warn you, in many cases the book is just as frightening.

Carrie - Stephen King

It was difficult to pick just one King novel for this list. There's The Shining, Cujo, Misery, It, among many others (we could have made a list just about King book to movie adaptations). We decided to stick with his first novel, Carrie, which truly set him up as a horror author to watch as far back as 1974. Carrie is a teenage girl with an overbearing mother who upon occasion, can cause supernatural things to happen. This doesn't bode well for her at school, and the story follows her as she's made the victim of a cruel prank. The movie adaptation came out in 1976 and remains one of the most iconic horror films about. It has an impressive 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And if you can't get enough of King's stories, there's no shortage of adaptations to choose from.

The Silence of the Lambs - Thomas Harris

The novel is harrowing; the movie is just downright terrifying. Harris published The Silence of the Lambs in 1988 and it was adapted three years later. It was the second Hannibal story to be written and adapted for film. Jodie Foster stars as Clarice, an FBI Agent hunting notorious serial killer 'Buffalo Bill'. There's a certain someone who can help her, dangerous cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), but asking a favour of him could have disastrous consequences. This one rates as high as 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Invisible Man - H. G. Wells

This 2020 film was adapted from a novel by H.G. Wells, written in 1897. It's loosely based on concepts from the Wells' novel, which was originally a series published in Pearson Weekly. The original story followed a scientist who figured out how to turn himself invisible, and goes on to do so for evil reasons. In the film, Elizabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale) stars as Cecilia, a woman who believes her ex has found a way to turn himself invisible to stalk her. Maybe don't watch this one alone. And while we're talking about Elizabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale isn't strictly a horror series, but it might as well be at times.

The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy - Elizabeth Kendall

This one is unfortunately a true story. The 2019 movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is not only based off a book, but true events. Serial killer Ted Bundy's former girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall wrote a memoir called The Phantom Prince that was turned into a movie, starring Zac Efron and Lily Collins. While this may not be deemed as a horror book, it certainly depicts horrors, as Kendall recounts her life with Bundy. The film is on Netflix and though it's not full of jump scares, it will leave you with chills.

The Exorcist - William Peter Blatty

Written in 1971, and adapted for film two years later, The Exorcist is one of the most famous horror novels. The 1973 movie holds up today and is as frightening as it ever was. The classic story follows Regan as she begins to exhibit strange behaviour after playing with a Ouija board. Her mother grows concerned and enlists two priests to help exorcise her daughter. Get a gang together to watch this horror movie and don't be surprised if your popcorn goes flying when you inevitably jump with fright.

Gulp. So, which adaptation are you favouring this Halloween season?

If you're looking for more spooky reads, check out our list here.

Header image via Shutterstock

READ ON: There's a fancy dress surf sesh happening in Sligo for Halloween

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