Movie & A Book by Sonja Ska
Few things are better than turning off the lights, lighting some candles, and settling in for a terrifying horror movie marathon. Sure, they can lead to heart palpitations and sleepless nights, but there's something undeniably addictive about opening yourself to a world filled with ghosts, axe-wielding maniacs, and demonic entities that leave you questioning every shadow that moves through your house.
For those who crave that fear-spiked adrenaline rush, the haunting excitement doesn't have to end when the credits roll and the screen fades to black. Just as the silver screen weaves its tales of terror, the world of horror literature stands ready to embrace you in its chilling embrace. For every horror movie that's left you breathless, there exists a read-alike that can offer an equally spine-tingling experience. So, let's delve into this realm where the thrill of horror extends beyond the screen as we embark on a journey to uncover the perfect literary companion inspired by your favorite horror movie.
The comparison may be based on similar plots, settings, or just general vibes, but each pairing introduces you to a new dimension of fear, and every page turned leads to a new nightmare.
If you like The Craft (1996), read Goddess of Filth by V. Castro
If you like your witchcraft angry, defiant, and brimming with young female rebellion, look no further than Goddess of Filth by V. Castro. Like its film predecessor, Goddess of Filth follows Lourdes and her best friends after a boozy seance summons a powerful presence into their lives. But where The Craft uses magic and its dark implications to lean further into its horror roots, Goddess of Filth pivots to use possession as a lens to explore the complexities of identity, inequality and injustice, and female empowerment.
While both explore the price women must pay to gain control over their bodies and lives, Goddess of Filth feels like a natural progression of Sarah's storyline, one where Nancy didn't necessarily have to end up strapped to a bed for feeding into the dark resentment building inside her for living in a society that refused to understand or help her.
If you like X (2022), read Red Station by Kenzie Jennings
You may be wondering how a slasher set in the 70s compares to an extreme horror Western, but they're actually a match made in heaven. Both rely on characters visiting isolated settings and the breakdown of group dynamics when situations turn deadly. Thematic similarities aside, it's the use of unconventional women that makes the movie and book great. While one becomes the unexpected hero and the other the villain, they both subvert traditional expectations of what it means to be a woman in a horror franchise.
Whether you root for their victory or demise, there's no doubt that Pearl and Clyde will stick with you long after finishing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given their slasher roots, this recommendation comes with trigger warnings: Red Station is part of the splatterpunk western series, and some may find the contents hard to stomach.
If you like The Ring (2022), read Ghosts by Ian Rob Wright.
Before people come for me, I know The Ring is already an adaptation of a novel by Koji Suzuki, but I can't let this pairing go unmentioned. After multiple teenagers die due to a bizarre new internet trend that's said to summon ghosts, a reporter and a photographer team up to uncover the mystery behind the gruesome deaths.
Although Ghosts comes with a modern upgrade - it's a viral TikTok video that is getting teenagers killed instead of a VHS tape - fans of investigative horror and urban legends will instantly feel a pull of nostalgia as Shane and Ed rush against time to save Shane's life.
If you liked The Descent, read Below by Laurel Hightower.
If you're anything like me, you spend your weekends scaling mountains or crawling through cave systems, convinced the next squeeze will be too tight. Or maybe you just like courting the feeling of claustrophobia from your couch. Either way, both Below and The Descent will make the smallest studio feel like a vast, open countryside.
Below swaps the in-group tension between Sarah and her fellow cavers for a solo traveler helping out a stranger, and while Addy only spends part of the plot in subterranean territory, the twisty creature feature still captures the creepy, adventure-gone-wrong atmosphere with ease.
If you liked Grave Encounters (2011), then read Episode Thirteen by Craig DiLouie
Not only is Grave Encounters one of the best-found footage films ever made, it’s also one of the few movies that has truly terrified me. I’m talking, sitting up all night with the lights on, scared. After reading hundreds of horror books, I can easily say that Episode Thirteen by Craig Dilouie is the closest you’ll come to capturing a Grave Encounters vibe.
Episode Thirteen follows a ghost-hunting reality TV crew as they lock themselves in a mansion with a supernatural past. At first glance, the plot may seem like a complete rip-off, but Dilouie manages to make it his own. Told through video logs, journal entries, and text messages, the mixed media approach feels right at home in the found footage genre.