I came across this list of 10 best horror novels made into films when I was checking if had forgotten to mention something good on my Top Ten Books for Halloween list.
This does not seem to be a consensus list, but rather one person’s opinion, but since film adaptations of books are a subject I am interested in, I decided it was worthwhile to look at this list in an issue of List Love.
- The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (1971). The book made me afraid to go to sleep – the last book ever to do so. The movie was good, very creepy and the “pea soup” scene was disgusting.
- Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin (1967). I have neither read nor seen this one, but the book is on my Top Mysteries Challenge list, so I will read it one day. I generally find that reading the book before I see the movie is better, so I will not be watching it until I am done with the book.
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959). One of my top 10 best supernatural suspense novels. The 1963 movie captured the atmosphere perfectly and was fairly faithful to the book. I haven’t seen the second movie, but I have been told it sucks. Both are titled The Haunting.
- The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (1988). Good novel, although I preferred Red Dragon, and the movie is very good, very creepy.
- Misery by Stephen King (1987). I have neither read nor seen this one, and am not particularly interested in doing so.
- The Shining by Stephen King (1977). Another one of my Top 10 supernatural suspense/horror novels. The Kubrick movie changed the story considerably but captured the atmosphere perfectly, while the TV mini-series was more faithful to the book but didn’t capture the atmosphere as well. My advice is to not view the Kubrick movie as an adaptation of the book as much as an independent work inspired by it.
- Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley (1818). I wrote my thesis in English literature on this novel. My favourite film adaptation is the old James Whale film, starring Boris Karloff. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was more faithful, but it doesn’t have the atmospheric tension of the old black-and-white feature.
- The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham (1957). I have neither seen nor read this one, but I like Wyndham’s writing and plan to read the book. It has been filmed twice as Village of the Damned and once as Children of the Damned. I am following a webcomic that speculates about what could have happened if the children in the story had grown up: FreakAngels.
- Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897). I also wrote a detailed essay about this one when I was in college. I have seen several film adaptations of it, but the two that I like best are the 1958 adaptation with Christopher Lee, who made a damn creepy count, and the Coppola version, Bram Stoker's Dracula, from 1992, which followed the book pretty well. This is probably the horror novel that has been filmed the most times, and definitely the one with the most spin-offs.
- The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin (1972). This is one I have no desire to either see or read.