MOVIE AND A BOOK! By Sonja Ska
If you're a fan of heart-pounding horror movies that leave you gripping the edge of your seat, why not extend that adrenaline-inducing experience to the realm of books? The best way to find something you love is by riding the wave of an old favorite. So, if you're ready to double down on the scares and dive into a story that's bound to haunt your dreams, read on for a curated recommendation list based on your favorite horror flicks.
If You Like The Evil Dead, Read Maggie's Grave by David Sodergren
We're going off of vibes on this one, but also why you shouldn't mess with angry ancient spirits. In the case of Maggie's Grave, it's the spirit of a pissed-off woman turned witch after an angry mob kills her because independent women who won't conform to society are scary. Years after her death, her curse will obliterate every ounce of boredom felt by Auchenmullan's four remaining teenagers when they're suddenly fighting for their lives and trying to uncover what happened in their town all those centuries ago. If there's one thing David Sodergren knows how to do, it's delivering old-school horror vibes. Fans of The Evil Dead will love the over-the-top gore mixed with just the right amount of campy fun. You'll cringe, you'll laugh, and you'll never be able to scrub the rebirth scene out of your mind.
If you like The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014), read The Vessel by Adam Nevill
The Vessel by Adam Nevill may not have the same found-footage goodness as The Taking of Deborah Logan, but it perfectly captures the slow-burn dread that made my heart do summersaults. While both focus on older women seemingly battling dementia, The Vessel swaps the documentary crew for a down-on-her-luck mother taking on the care of a recluse to better the life of her daughter. As her patient's behavior deteriorates, she realizes the change may not be due to a disease but something far more sinister.
The Vessel ultimately careens in a different direction than the film, adding a new level of foreboding that had my stomach in knots. Nevill has fine-tuned the art of making readers squirm in discomfort, and that same deep-rooted anxiety will drill into your stomach as you hold onto hope for Jess and her daughter.
If You Liked Misery (1990), read This Is Where We Talk Things Out by Caitlin Marceau.
Look, everyone knows that Misery was based on a Stephen King novel, but we like to keep things fresh and exciting here. So, if you're into psychological looks at tense relationships with the backdrop of extreme isolation, you need to pick up This Is Where We Talk Things Out by Caitlin Marceau.
The relationship in This Is Where We Talk Things Out is a little more straightforward than Misery - an estranged mother and daughter decide to rekindle their relationship during a weekend getaway at a remote cabin. While that may initially sound lovely, everything about this novella is designed to slowly unravel your psyche.
Marceau is unrelenting in building up inescapable tension, thrusting you into a world of hope turned to confusion turned to paranoia and fear.
If You Like Hereditary (2018), read The Haunting of Alejandra by V. Castro
If you're into creepy, multi-generational folk horrors about families being targeted by a malicious presence, you really can't go wrong with the Haunting of Alejandra by V. Castro. Readers will find the same heavy presence of grief lingering throughout both works, but in the case of V. Castro, there is a loss of culture and the sense of self that's vying with the added fear of losing a child.
With the strength of her ancestors, Alejandra has to figure out why this presence has been stalking her family for generations and stop it before it claims her children.
The Haunting of Alejandra isn't as controlled in its supernatural chills as its movie counterpart, but it still holds space for the gravity of exploring generational trauma and its repercussions. Just be prepared for some gore and terrifying scenes that will make your skin crawl.
If You Like Friday, the 13th (1980) read Under the Blade by Matt Serafini.
If there's one thing slashers have taught me, it's to never go to summer camp. Under the Blade by Matt Serafini pays homage to 80s slashers, and while it's likely to be a hit with fans of series like Friday the 13th, it's not your standard slasher. Yes, it includes a camp massacre, old locals giving the side eye to passersby, and the killer clearly takes after Jason Vorhees, but Serafini takes the classic tropes and makes them entirely his own.
Under the Blade follows Melanie, the sole survivor of the Camp Forest Grove massacre. Twenty-five years have passed since that horrible night, but a publishing deal and her need for answers bring her back to the campground. Yes, there will be a mask-wearing murderer and blood - lots and lots of blood - but there are also well-developed twists and characters, making this feel like an expertly crafted extension of beloved slasher movies of old.