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4 Classic Monster Reimaginings for Fans of The Invisible Man

by  | March 5
Scary Book

Dracula, Frankenstein, Zombies: classic monsters that have made their mark in horror history, both on the page and on the silver screen. Their stories have staying power not only because we know them, but because they embody fears we still have today. In the newly released sci-fi horror film The Invisible Man, directed by Leigh Whannell, we see the main character, Cecilia, fighting off her abusive ex-boyfriend, who has found a way to become invisible and continue to terrorize her. This modern reimagining of H. G. Wells’s classic novel, depicting the terror of an unseen enemy, does so with an update to the plot that shows what a victim of domestic abuse can experience.

And after watching the film, why stop at one reimagining? If you’re looking to shed a modern light on such creatures of the dark, here are four books that give us a fresh take on classic monsters.

Nightwing

Nightwing

by Martin Cruz Smith

The typical vampire story looks at the actions of human-like creatures of the night as they attack living beings for their blood. But what if a vampire didn’t present with a human’s face, wear a cape, or talk with a thick Eastern European accent? That’s where the horror in Nightwing comes in. When a horde of vampire bats attack anything with a pulse, leaving devastation in their wake, a cast of characters on a Native American Hopi reservation try to defeat this new threat, while at the same time dealing with the oil industry's exploitation of them. Author Martin Cruz Smith deftly reconfigures the classic vampire tale into a commentary on man versus nature (as well as man versus everyone else). The book was first published in 1977, with a recent paperback reissue, and its terrifying imagery, along with social commentary, remains poignant and salient in today’s world.

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Warm Bodies (Media Tie-In)

Warm Bodies (Media Tie-In)

by Isaac Marion

Just because your heart doesn’t beat, it doesn’t mean you can’t feel. Or, well, that’s the logic behind Warm Bodies. Ever since they terrified audiences in Night of the Living Dead, zombies are often thought of as shambling, mindless monsters, but author Isaac Marion chose to explore what could be going on behind that dead-eyed stare. The main character is R, a zombie who is having a hard time in his afterlife, until he meets Julie, a living person. Rather than (or, actually, in addition to) wanting to eat her brain, Z wants to protect Julie from the rest of the Dead. When a romance forms, their world is turned upside down by the possibility that there’s more to zombies than just never-ending hunger. A rethinking of both Romeo and Juliet and almost every zombie apocalypse story, Warm Bodies is more sweet than scary and provides an imaginative take on the zombie mythos we all know and fear.

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Frankenstein in Baghdad

Frankenstein in Baghdad

by Ahmed Saadawi

The way the dead are treated varies from culture to culture, but generally there is a level of respect awarded to the recently deceased. In Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein, that respect is disregarded in the name of science and leads to death and destruction. In Ahmed Saadawi’s reinvention, Frankenstein in Baghdad, junk peddler Hadi is collecting body parts he finds across U.S.-occupied Iraq to stitch together, hoping that he can lay the parts to rest once he has enough for a whole body. However, one day he finds that his creature has fled on its own and is wreaking havoc on those responsible for the deaths that led to its creation. Filled with dark humor and social commentary, Frankenstein in Baghdad reminds us that not all monsters are re-animated corpses and that collective trauma can change how we see our world, our neighbors, and ourselves.

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Fangland

Fangland

by John Marks

Any list of classic monster reimaginings just wouldn’t be complete without a look at everyone’s favorite undead Count. A retelling of Bram Stoker’s classic, Dracula, the novel follows Evangeline Harker, a reporter who travels to Romania to work on a story about an Eastern European crime boss—and then suddenly disappears. But if she’s really gone, why are employees still getting messages from her? And why are coffin-like packages arriving at her old office? Told through a series of texts, emails, and other correspondence, mirroring Dracula’s original epistolary structure, Fangland re-contextualizes the Transylvanian tale for a new media landscape. If you’ve ever wondered how a vampire could survive in the 21stcentury, this book is for you.

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A reporter by trade, Sara Roncero-Menendez is a lover of horror, sci-fi, and all things pop culture. From indies to classics to even the strangest genre pieces, all movies, TV shows, and books are fair game for a binge-fest. Follow her on Twitter @sararomenen or at her website, www.sara-roncero-menendez.com