As a total horror buff, I’ve seen most of the all-time scariest films. I love cult classics and everything from zombies and witches to psychopathic killers and Satanism. But what really gets my sweat pumping is reading the best horror books that were at some point also made into a movie. Horror book junkies, look no further: here is my top three list for the best horror novels that were also turned into great movies.
- The Exorcist. The movie is considered by many to be the best horror film ever made, and I absolutely loved it (the uncut version). But if you think the movie is terrifying, read the book. William Peter Blatty’s writing is incredible and his prose just pulls you into a realm of horror and keeps you there. You will get to know the demon “Pazuzu” to the depths of his soul – and it will terrify you. This beast is vile, ruthless, and one of the purest forms of evil ever written about. It doesn’t just possess the young girl, it mercilessly preys on her – slowing her heart beat and depriving her of sleep for days while mocking the priests. The fight for the girl’s life is very real and intensely involving for the reader. And one thing the book features that the film doesn’t are detailed Satanic worship rituals with graphic scenes. “The Exorcist” will scare you out of your gourd.
- Silence of the Lambs. The movie is epic and considered one of the most suspenseful ever made. Terror is genuinely felt as the reader gains access to the manipulative mind of a dangerous psychopath needed to track down a serial killer. In the book author Thomas Harris writes to make the reader feel sympathy for the character Hannibal Lecter, just like a psychopath would actually want you to. The vocabulary is brilliant and we get to know Hannibal as a true genius. He develops an in-depth relationship with FBI trainee Sterling, each of them revealing more and more to each other about their past. The back and forth test of wills between Sterling and Lecter is riveting and will stand the test of time in the literary world. It’s a mental game of cat and mouse that delivers shock, horror, and a great crime mystery to the reader.
- Pet Sematary. The movie was decent and gave me a good chill. But it just can’t compare to the dark and eerie masterpiece by Stephen King. The characters are developed perfectly, each unique and unforgettable. When Jud Crandall meets his new neighbor Louis Creed, he shares with him some of the town’s “secrets”. These stories about what happened in the town years before are absolutely terrifying. The combination of supernatural terror, the tragic loss of a child, and coming back from the dead will freeze your blood. The pacing of this novel is fantastic, with hints of a growing malevolent force that can’t be seen. A likeable and healthy family goes through horrors that will keep the reader awake at night. The book is like the burial ground portrayed in it – a force that takes you under. Many people consider this to be the scariest novel ever written.
John Mathews is a tenured University Professor of English and living in Rome, Italy. Immersed in a long and somewhat stressful career, he feels the desire to break out of the mold and delve into macabre thriller fiction novels which focus on the dark side of human nature. He writes captivating thriller and suspense fiction books with the goal of pulling the reader into the plot through the minds of unforgettable characters. Complete with great suspense, plot twists, and shocking scenes, his stories will keep you guessing until the very end.