Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
7 horror novels that are scarier than the movies
Instead of watching horror movies this Halloween, why not curl up with the real masters of terror? The original books.
Who doesn’t love to ride a horrorfilled roller-coaster film for an hour or two? But for those who want to chase longer and bigger scares, we recommend picking up the source material for your favorite horror movie.
Here are seven books that overshadow their film adaptations:
We all know the famous takeaways from the film: the shower scene and finally meeting Norman Bates’ mother. But there is more to Norman than meets the cinematic eye, and that is where the book — by Milwaukeean Robert Bloch, who loosely based the character on Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein — stands out.
There have been several adaptations of the novel (and its series) to “The Ring” movies since its publication in 1991. The videotape, a staple in the 2002 movie, is not as omnipresent in the books by Koji Suzuki. The novels offer curses in other frightening formats and more opportunities for your imagination to get the best of you.
‘The Haunting of Hill House’
The novel by Shirley Jackson has been adapted into feature films twice (and later a Netflix series). Really, all adaptations pale in comparison with Jackson’s exquisite storytelling.
When discussing what book-tofilm entry for Stephen King is far more frightening as a novel, this title popped up more than any other.
The 1967 book by Ira Levin was immediately followed in 1968 by the film. The buildup to the gaslighting of Rosemary by her husband and neighbors is far more drawn out in the novel, and all the more chilling.
The 1971 novel by Richard Matheson was made into the 1973 film “The Legend of Hell House.” The novel does a better job of getting into the heads of the characters and, as a result, the heads of readers.
‘Let the Right One In’
This Swedish vampire thriller was made into two film adaptations, first the Swedish version of the same name one and later an English language version called “Let Me In.” This 2004 Nordic thriller by John Ajvide Lindqvist overshadows them both.
The screenplay for the film was written by the novel’s author, William Peter Blatty. But the book will leave readers with more psychological scars.