Some Great Horror Books Turned Big Screen

Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Apex Publications Blog: Matters of SF, Fantasy, and Horror | 3 comments

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Nearly every classic horror film came from a novel. While films can present a visual horror, novels present you with horrific ideas that can be impossible to forget. A novel will provide your imagination with shadowy details to paint a picture of hell; a film will just show it to you.

Many of these novels even inspired award-winning films like Hitchcock’s Psycho, or The Silence of the Lambs. These novels provided the basis for some of the most iconic figures in horror film history, from Dracula to Frankenstein, and even the shark in Jaws. While you may have seen the movie, it is never too late to check out the source materials of the scariest films. Sit back, turn on the lights, and get ready for thrills with these classic horror novels. Many of these films are on TV during the month of October. Remember to program your DVR to keep an eye out for the next time they are on TV. Currently the most advanced DVR on the market is the DirecTV genie. You can pick up DirecTV using and at the same time pick up the Cinemax and HBO for three months for free.


Bram Stoker’s Dracula has inspired thousands of films, and it is the first example of vampires in modern language. While vampires had been present in other forms throughout history, Stoker’s novel gave them a face and specific backstory: suave, in a castle, afraid of garlic, and other now-common traits.

The novel provided a template that has been used by some of the most famous vampire films since, including 1931′s Dracula with Bela Lugosi’s, Coppola‘s 1992 version, The Lost Boys, Fright Night, and countless more. Its overall influence in modern culture is unrivaled, and it continues to inspire today.

Stephen King, the Horror Machine

If you’ve seen a few scary movies, then chances are you have seen one based on a Stephen King novel. While there are over 200 film and television adaptations to choose from, these are the most renowned: Cujo, Misery, Children of the Corn, Carrie, Stand By Me, The Running Man, Pet Semetary, The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, Hearts In Atlantis, The Mist, and even more. Yes, all of these films were based on novels written by one man. Many of the films have even won Academy Awards for Best Picture, like The Shawshank Redemption.

One classic Halloween film based on a King novel is The Shining. Critics and fans often say that this is director Stanley Kubrick’s best film, and one of the best horror films ever made. Incidentally, King initially hated the film because it differed so drastically from his novel. Where the novel presented a haunted hotel that tried to influence Jack Torrence into killing his son, the film is more about Jack succumbing to madness with the ghosts as a more secondary-threat. However, both the film and the novel continue to scare readers with their portrayals of ghosts, insanity, and the potential dangers of isolation.


While many view the 1975 film as Steven Spielberg’s first masterpiece, few know that Jaws is actually based on a 1974 novel by Peter Benchley. The novel presents a small beach-town that is plagued by a menacing, and hungry, great white shark. As he continues to kill more swimmer’s, local fisherman decide to take action.

Jaws is an interesting case, where the film is actually considered better than its source material. While the film may have improved the character’s dynamics, and had the help of visuals to enhance the shark’s menace, the original novel still stands proud as the inspiration to one of America’s greatest horror films.

Many of these novels are scarier than their film-counterparts. While the films are well made, they only show the horrors without making you truly feel them. A novel is something that you read over a longer period of time, and combined with the more detailed format, you will have more time to truly appreciate the horror. A novel will allow you to think, and to make personal connections with the horror it provides. While the films may be scary, a quality horror novel will be truly terrifying. Hide under the cover, lock your doors, and open one of these classic books today!

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  1. I love the Coppola version of Dracula. And Pet Semetary…geez that little kid is just CREEPY! Oh and those little girls in The Shining. My mom actual read a lot of Stephen King when she was pregnant with me in the 70′s…this explains a lot :)

    • Gage is one of the creepiest horror “villains” of all time in my eyes. When he slices that achilles tendon…

      • ZOMG!@@!!!11!!! That gives me the hibby jibbies just thinking about it. Little monster kids are the worst!

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