Best Horror Novel Adaptation Other Than Stephen King
From Shirley Jackson to John W. Campbell, here's a read beyond King.
Walking down the aisles of most bookstores, it should come as no surprise to find that the horror section is completely dominated by Stephen King novels. The man was prolific and arguably legendary, his ability to churn out material sometimes faster than we can read it. With such a vast and diverse catalog of work, horror fans often have a hard time resisting the urge to temporarily disrupt their journey through King's labyrinthine multiverse.
For a long time, when audiences thought of horror fiction's live-action debut on the small screen and off screen, King's work would come to mind. While he's the undeniable king of horror, pun intended, some of the best adaptations in horror history have emerged from the minds of other masters of the genre. With upcoming horror movie adaptations like Paul Tremblay's The Cabin at the End of the World, Adam Cesare's The Clown in the Cornfield and Hayley Piper's A Light So Hateful The Lights, It's Time to Give Our Flowers to the World's Best and Brightest genre.
Some of their legacies are already established, while others are just beginning. anyone Regardless, their contributions to horror literature and film history are priceless. Here are just some of the best horror novels adapted for your viewing pleasure.
Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House (1959)
Jackson's novel tells the story of Eleanor (Nellie) Vance, who, after feeling that her life is aimless, accedes to Dr. Montague's request to host a foursome at the infamous Hill House mansion. people group. His goal was simple, Montague wanted to find scientific evidence of the paranormal and to choose his subjects based on their past experiences. Once there, the story follows the assembly of the characters as they slowly experience the excruciating horror.
This masterpiece of fiction has been adapted several times in various styles. The premise was parodied not only in 2001's Scary Movie 2, but also in 1963 and 1999 under the title. More recently, in 2018, Mike Flanagan loosely adapted Jackson's novel into a Netflix limited series.
Ira Levin, Rosemary’s Baby (1967)
In many ways, Levine's work was overshadowed by the enormous success of Roman Polanski's 1968 adaptation of the novel. Although Polanski brought it to the big screen with great fidelity, the film lacks Levine's novels provide Rosemary with inner depth. As the novel offers more insight into Rosemary's mind, readers will find that its content adds a great deal of depth to her characterization.
The novel tells the story of newlyweds Rosemary Woodhouse and her husband Guy, who move into an old building in New York City. The newlyweds soon meet their neighbours, an older couple who clearly have a hard time keeping boundaries. After they give Rosemary a necklace containing tanning root, her body becomes a battleground for good and evil. In addition to Polanski's film, "Rosemary's Baby" was made into a miniseries that aired on Mother's Day 2014, starring Zoe Saldaña.
William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist (1971)
One of the most famous horror films of all time is William Friedkin's 1973 film The Exorcist. Upon release, audiences were shocked by the imagery and vulgarity of 14-year-old Linda Blair as the possessed Regan McNeill. The novel follows Regan's mother, actress Chris MacNeil, as she struggles to find help for her troubled daughter. When the doctors were helpless, she set her sights on two Catholic priests in desperation.
When readers read this book, they will find that the content of the novel is very rich. Legends, characterizations, and Reagan antics. Blatty's sequel, "The Exorcist," was his 1983 novel "Legion," which was eventually adapted into the 1990s fan favorite "The Exorcist III." The author not only wrote the screenplay, but also directed it.
Clive Barker, The Hellbound Heart (1986)
The Hellbound Heart was the amazing inspiration behind the 1987 film Hellraiser. Barker also directed and wrote the screenplay for the film. The novella revolves around the influence of a man named Frank Cotton, whose uncontrollable desire for otherworldly pleasures leads him to a search for fulfillment. Once he finds a puzzle box that connects him to multidimensional beings dedicated to psychosexual pleasure, and once he realizes he's getting far more than he bargained for, he subjects himself and others to unspeakable violence .
In addition to sparking the beginning of the Hellraiser series, Barker's work has been adapted several times. His short story "Taboo" was the inspiration behind Bernard Roth's 1992 film "Candyman," starring Tony Todd. Barker's 1988 novella Cabal was also adapted into the 1990 cult classic Nightbreed.
Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca (1938)
Du Maurier's novel is a Gothic masterpiece, often overlooked because of her adaptation of the short story "The Birds" Created by Alfred Hitchcock in 1963. Du Maurier's novel tells the whirlwind romance between an unnamed narrator and a wealthy man named Maxim De Winter . The couple soon married and moved to his estate, Manderley. Once they arrive, the narrator is quickly reminded of Maxim's late wife, Rebecca, who permeates Manderley's grounds and visitors.
This novel is a haunting psychological meditation on how memory animates ghosts. In 1940, Alfred Hitchcock deftly adapted du Maurier's novel. It has also been remade for television shows around the world over the years. In 2020, Netflix released an adaptation starring Lily James and Armie Hammer. Yet Hitchcock's vision remained undefeated.
John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In (2004)
This stunning vampire tale follows a young boy, Oscar, and his budding relationship with a child vampire named Eli. Over the course of the novel, the two characters open up to each other and begin to become emotionally dependent on each other. As more questions are answered, the two must come to terms with society and their own dark sides. More than just another vampire story, John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel offers a refreshing meditation on growing up in a world that refuses to protect you.
The time is ripe to get the right people into film and TV adaptations. The 2008 Swedish film of the same name, directed by Tomas Alfredson, was released to critical acclaim. Two years later, Matt Reeves directed an American remake called Let Me In, starring Chloe Grace Moretz. Another adaptation in the form of a TV series is coming in 2022 on Showtime.
John W. Campbell, Who Goes There? (1938)
John Carpenter's 1982 film The Thing is so iconic it's hard to remember it as an adaptation. Campbell's novella is remarkably short, at less than a hundred pages, and thrusts the reader straight into the action. In many ways, Campbell's work is harder sci-fi than the movie remake. The characters go into great detail about the technical details of the origin of things and the general climate of Antarctica in relation to the central plot.
In short, this novella tells the story of a group of scientists stationed in Antarctica who discover frozen aliens. Then they had the brilliant idea of thawing it and everything went haywire. In addition to Carpenter's famous adaptation, Christian Nyby's 1951 film "Something From Another World" source text. While Campbell's work has more latitude, Neby's film is so different from Carpenter's that the two can be enjoyed separately.
Ryu Murakami, Audition (1997)
Not many people know that renowned Japanese horror director Takashi Miike adapted his infamous 1999 film "Audition" from a novel published a few years earlier. The plot revolves around widower Aoyama who finally decides to date again after the death of his wife. A friend convinces him to hold an audition for a fake role in a movie so the two can round up a group of women as potential love interests. One of the women, Asami, catches the eye of Aoyama and he falls madly in love with her. However, he soon discovers that Asami is not the innocent young woman he thought.
Unlike the film, the nature of Murakami's novel allows the reader to enter the protagonist's mind more clearly. There are a lot of nuances in the novel that are not easily captured in the film. Although the novel focuses more explicitly on Aoyama, Miike's interpretation focuses more on the character of Asami. In this way, the novel and the film can be combined into one Add extra backgrounds for surreal and scary episodes. In addition to Audition, another Murakami novel, Piercing, received a US remake in 2018.
Adam Nevill, The Ritual (2011)
Like many horror stories about group outdoor excursions, Neville's novel will make you never want to go hiking again. It follows a group of old friends who decide to venture into the mountains of Sweden. After a few mishaps, they collectively decide to take a short cut back to camp. However, this decision proves to have disastrous consequences, as they become even more disoriented and terrified of what they discover along the way.
In 2017, David Bruckner brought Neville's vision to life in a horror film of the same name. While the script changes some things around it, it mostly retains the visceral sense of dread associated with getting lost in the woods and facing something bigger than yourself.
Yoshikazu Takeuchi, Perfect Blue (1991)
Takeuchi's light novel, Perfect Blue, is a text that feels far ahead of its time. Takeuchi's novel perfectly captures the fear inherent in many fans' sense of ownership of idols and women in general. The story revolves around Japanese pop singer Miasa The idol who decided to quit the music scene. Instead, she aspires to transform into a more "mature" image. In response to the change, one fan will do whatever it takes to keep her from disappearing from the image of the bubblegum pop star.
The legendary Satoshi Kon adapted Takeuchi's novel and produced the 1999 animated film Perfect Blue. The film's central premise remains the same, but the two are very different. Whereas Takeuchi's novel is more rooted in violent realism, Kon's film chooses to showcase the psychological horrors only hinted at in the original.
Grady Hendrix, My Best Friend’s Exorcism (2016)
Up-and-coming horror giant Grady Hendrix is good at writing about friendship. In this novel, two best friends (Abby and Gretchen) are torn apart after Gretchen is demon possessed. Then it's up to Abby to save her friends from the forces of darkness before she's lost forever. But it won't be easy, as Gretchen's demons want to destroy their friendship in order to tighten their grip on her. This novel is a beautiful and nostalgic look at the friendship of two 80s teenage girls. It's as much a story about possession as it is a coming-of-age story.
In 2022, a film adaptation of the same name, directed by Damon Thomas, was released on Prime Video. While the movie does a good job of capturing 80s nostalgia, it's very different from the novel in many ways. The events in the novel are more disturbing than in the film, and the friendship between the two girls is more fulfilling. A TV series of Hendrix's 2021 novel The Final Girl Support Group is currently in production.