search-icon

See Some Evil, Read Some Evil with 6 Horror Movie–Book Matchups

by  | October 1
Scary person by window

October is upon us, which means that it’s time to bring out all the spooky books that have been waiting for just the right time of year to be read. Unless you’re like me, of course, then you’ve been reading scary stories all year round and are ready to share some recommendations with the world. But the fun of the Halloween season is not just in reading terrifying tales, but also in watching movies that will have you sleeping with the lights on for days on end. So let’s make the most of October by pairing up some spine-tingling novels with movies that will have you running for cover.

Magic Lessons

Magic Lessons

by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic

Start off the spooky season with a little romance and drama to ease you into the darkening days. Practical Magic is a classic, mixing elements of horror with a romantic plot full of witches, the living dead, and spells gone awry. At the heart of the film is a curse set on their family by Maria Owens, who had her heart broken by a man. Alice Hoffman, who wrote the eponymous book the film is based on, has been expanding this magical universe and has just released her second prequel to it, Magic Lessons, all about the origin tale of Maria Owens. Maria is abandoned in the snow as a child, only to be taken in by Hannah Owens to raise as her own, and taught magic. But Maria’s world is thrown into chaos when the man she loves abandons her, causing her to follow him all the way to the New World. That New World, in the late 17th century, is no less a place than Salem, Massachusetts, and the curse is only the beginning of the story. This book will haunt you as it explores themes of love, heartbreak, and what it means to understand and harness one’s own power.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
Everything's Eventual

Everything's Eventual

by Stephen King

1408

There’s nothing like a good horror anthology to really make the season come alive, and Stephen King is a master of the horror short story. And while there are plenty of King film adaptations to choose from, I wanted to go with something a little more under the radar. In his short story anthology Everything’s Eventual, there is the story “1408” about a writer, Mike Enslin, who ends up spending the night in a haunted hotel room in order to write about it. However, the room is far more sinister than anything he’s ever encountered, and soon the stay becomes a nightmarish ordeal that leads to his physical and mental anguish. The film version of 1408 is also a treat, following the King story fairly closely until the end, with John Cusack trying to sort nightmare from reality as his hotel room begins to warp his perception and bring up dark memories from his past. The story collection also has other great entries, like “Lunch at the Gotham Café” and, my personal favorite, “Autopsy Room Four,” which will merely make you paranoid for the rest of your life.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
The Twisted Ones

The Twisted Ones

by T. Kingfisher

The Cabin in the Woods

Once upon a time, cabins in the woods were cozy retreats that were places of rest and relaxation away from the weary world of responsibilities and modernization. But thanks to decades of horror media, cabins in the woods are now the sites for gruesome murders and horrible tragedies. Case in point, the creepy novel The Twisted Ones. Mouse’s task should be simple: clean out her recently deceased grandmother’s house in the woods of rural North Carolina. But when she finds a notebook detailing some dark and mysterious creatures lurking, things get eerie very quickly. Reminiscent of Arthur Machen’s classic horror story “The White People,” this book is a layered folktale of dark forces and heart-stopping fear. And when you’re done vowing to never stay in the woods overnight again, why not watch Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods? The movie follows five college students who rent an isolated retreat, only to find haunted objects in its basement. But just as with The Twisted Ones, there are layers to this story that make it all the more gruesome, and all the harder to look away from.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
Video Palace: In Search of the Eyeless Man

Video Palace: In Search of the Eyeless Man

by Maynard Wills

V/H/S

What is it about creepy uses of old technology that just really gets under your skin? Mark Cambria and his girlfriend, Tamra Wulff, run the popular podcast Video Palace, in which they hunt down the origins of a series of weird videotapes. When Mark goes missing after hearing of a creature known as the Eyeless Man, folklore professor Maynard Wills looks to collect stories surrounding the myth, and finds some terrifying secrets along the way. The Video Palace anthology, which pubs on October 13, has great stories by Bob DeRosa, Gordon B. White, Rebekah and David Ian McKendry, and others, all around one central ghoul that looms ever closer. If you’re looking for a film that can match that eerie energy, check out V/H/S. A group of kids finds a series of disturbing videotapes after breaking into a man’s house, each tape exploring different creatures that consume and murder its victims. However, it’s not the tapes these kids have to worry about—it’s what they can’t see that’s the real threat.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
I'm Thinking of Ending Things

I'm Thinking of Ending Things

by Iain Reid

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

There’s nothing quite like going into a stressful situation and realizing that something is off. At first, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but, slowly, the dread sets in and every nerve in your body is telling you to run. That’s the kind of white-knuckle suspense you’ll find in Iain Reid’s novel I’m Thinking of Ending Things. A woman goes with her boyfriend to visit his family in the middle of nowhere, even though she is thinking of ending her relationship with him. But as soon as they arrive, things begin to fall apart, and not in the typical emotional way. There are pictures of her as a child on the farmhouse’s wall, her boyfriend’s parents disappear for long periods of time, and the cashier at the Dairy Queen tells her to run as she avoids looking at the boyfriend. But whatever you think is happening, you’ll never see the ending coming. And once you’re done reading this short but intense novel, you can watch the adaptation on Netflix...with all the lights on, of course.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
Last Days

Last Days

by Adam Nevill

Midsommar

Cults are one of the few things that are as terrifying in real life as they are in fiction, which is why I saved them for last. In the horror novel Last Days, indie filmmaker Kyle Freeman is tasked with creating a documentary on The Temple of the Last Days cult, which self-destructed years ago, killing off all its members. But as strange incidents begin to plague the production, Freeman realizes there’s a lot more to the story than anyone realized...and that he might not live to tell it. In this gripping, dark, and endlessly fascinating story, author Adam Nevill makes it feel like the crew is constantly being chased by a presence as they move from location to location, a dark cloud hanging over them that spells their doom. So what film to pair with this dark delight? Ari Aster’s Midsommar, of course. The film follows Dani—whose sister recently killed herself and her parents—as she follows her boyfriend and his friends to a strange summer festival in Sweden. As she processes her grief and loss, Dani becomes the central focus of the cult that runs the event, all while her boyfriend and the others find themselves meeting very different fates. If you’ll learn anything from this book-film matchup, it’s to stay as far away as you can from organized groups of people.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
Love to get lit... erary? Sign up to get the latest delivered to your inbox!
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