In this list we will only be looking at films based on books, not the books themselves. Although we hope to revisit these films at a later date and compare them to the books they’re based upon. What’s your favourite horror film based on a book? Did it make our list?
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin
Based On: Psycho by Robert Bloch (1959)
Based on the novel. Marion Crane is on the run after stealing a large sum of money from her boss. She stops for the night and meets Norman Bates, the shy proprietor of a secluded old motel, but all is not as it seems at Bates Motel. As evidenced by the not-so-popular remake, this film is just untouchable.
Buy Psycho on Blu-Ray: https://amzn.to/36PGcc7
The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Director: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine
Based On: The Silence Of The Lambs by Thomas Harris (1988)
An adaptation of the novel. A young FBI trainee seeks the advice of an imprisoned Dr. Hannibal Lecter – a brilliant psychiatrist turned cannibalistic serial killer – to help catch a serial killer named ‘Buffalo Bill’ who skins his female victims. My favourite thing about this film is probably the tense conversations between Clarise Starling and Hannibal Lecter.
Buy Silence Of The Lambs on DVD: https://amzn.to/3r56ezE
The Invisible Man (2020)
Director: Leigh Whannell
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid
Based On: The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (1897)
Loosely based on the novel. After his supposed suicide, a woman believes she is being stalked and gaslit by her abusive and wealthy ex-boyfriend. Despite others not believing her, she becomes adamant that he has acquired the ability to become invisible. My favourite film of last year. This film perfectly blends a classic tale in a modern way.
Buy The Invisible Man on DVD: https://amzn.to/2Mgp5cn
The Shining (1980)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Danny Lloyd
Based On: The Shining by Stephen King (1977)
Based on the novel. Jack Torrence, an aspiring writer, takes up a job as the off season caretaker at a hotel with a dark history. Isolated with his family, Jack’s mental stability begins to unravel. I know Stephen King doesn’t particularly like this adaptation, which I understand, it certainly does have it’s flaws. Overall though, I view this film as a masterpiece, and one of my favourite horror films of all time.
Buy The Shining on 4K Ultra HD: https://amzn.to/2LaRGPJ
The Wicker Man (1973)
Director: Robin Hardy
Starring: Christopher Lee, Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt
Based On: Ritual by David Pinner (1967)
Inspired by the novel. Devout Christian and Police Sergeant Neil Howie is sent to an isolated island in search of a missing girl. Once there, he is appalled and disturbed to find that the inhabitants have abandoned Christianity and now practice a form of Celtic Paganism. My absolute favourite film about cults, nothing else ever quite compares.
Buy The Wicker Man on Blu-Ray: https://amzn.to/3thoQhA
Director: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Finn Wolfhard, Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis
Based On: It by Stephen King (1986)
Based on the novel. Seven children are terrorized by a deadly shapeshifting being, whilst also facing their own inner demons. I really loved this adaptation, and did prefer it to the mini-series. It’s like a summer feel-good film meets horror – it shouldn’t work, but it does.
Buy IT on DVD: https://amzn.to/3teXcBY
Gerald’s Game (2017)
Director: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Carel Struycken, Henry Thomas
Based On: Gerald’s Game by Stephen King (1992)
Based on the novel. A married couple arrive at an isolated house for an erotic getaway. When her husband dies of a sudden heart attack, Jessie must find a way to survive, whilst also battling her inner demons. Yet another Stephen King adaptation on this list, what can I say? The guy can write a good story.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves
Based On: Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)
Based on the novel. Dracula comes to believe that a young woman named Mina is the reincarnation of his beloved Elisabeta. He travels to London to pursue her, leaving carnage in his wake. The classic vampire love story set to a beautifully gothic backdrop – and some great performances by British actors.
Buy Bram Stoker’s Dracula on Blu-Ray: https://amzn.to/3rbAF7h
Warm Bodies (2013)
Director: Jonathan Levine
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Dave Franco, Analeigh Tipton
Based On: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (2010)
Based on the novel, which is inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. R is a zombie, and Julie is a human, but when they meet, a love begins to grow. Their love is threatened by their societal differences, despite R beginning to regain his humanity. Yes, it’s the classic star-crossed lovers story we’ve seen many times, but this managed to be endearing and insightful of the societal prejudices we still face today.
Buy Warm Bodies on DVD: https://amzn.to/36vFpwM
Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (2019)
Director: André Øvredal
Starring: Zoe Margaret Colletti, Austin Abrams, Michael Garza, Austin Zajur
Based On: Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark by Alvin Schwartz (1981)
Based on the children’s book of short stories. When Stella and friends decide to explore a supposedly haunted house, they find an old book full of handwritten stories. Not only are these stories scary; they’re coming true. I loved seeing the stories from the book come to life in this film, which is definitely where it shined.
Buy Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark on DVD: https://amzn.to/2MGCzOi
Director: Clive Barker
Starring: Doug Bradley, Ashley Laurence, Clare Higgins, Sean Chapman
Based On: The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker (1986)
Based on the novella. A couple moves into an old family home, but the wife finds her ex-lover (her husband’s brother) in the attic room – not wholly human. She must now bring him human sacrifices to help him be whole again. This film is particularly interesting because it was made by the man who wrote the book, which is probably what helps to make it so good.
Buy Hellraiser on Blu-Ray: https://amzn.to/2Yxjdhc
Addams Family Values (1993)
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Christina Ricci, Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd
Based On: The Addams Family by Charles Addams (1938-1988)
Based on the characters of the comics. In this sequel to The Addams Family (1991) Uncle Fester marries Debbie Jellinsky – a serial killer intending on murdering Fester for his inheritance. Meanwhile, Wednesday and Pudsley are sent to hell i.e. summer camp. This film is so fun, I love anything featuring The Addams Family, but Wednesday inciting chaos at summer camp makes this one my favourite.
Buy Addams Family Values on Blu-Ray: https://amzn.to/3anJAMe
I Am Legend (2007)
Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Willow Smith, Charlie Tahan
Based On: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (1954)
Only loosely based on the novel. Robert Neville is a virologist who is the last human in New York. A virus which was created to cure cancer has infected most of mankind, turning them into nocturnal mutants. Neville is immune to the virus and is working to develop a cure whilst defending himself from the hostile mutants. One of the more interesting Post-apocalyptic films I’ve seen, which is excelled by a stunning performance from Will Smith.
Buy I Am Legend on DVD: https://amzn.to/3oEu1EX
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