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October 15, 2013

Month of Horror: Best (and Worst) Movie Adaptations of Horror Book Favorites


When any book is adapted into a film version it’s a controversial topic. We all have our favorite books and we all have our pet peeves with the silver screen versions: it wasn’t accurate enough, that’s not how we pictured the protagonist at all, or there was simply too little of the actual novel and too much of the Hollywood touch to make it worth watching. All in all, it’s a bit of a love-hate situation – sometimes we love film adaptations and sometimes we find them so cringe-worthy that it makes us want to hug the novel, curl up in a fetal position in the corner, and weep.

Of course, seeing as it’s Month of Horror, we absolutely must take a look at some of the best and worst film adaptations of horror novels – from the deliciously scary to the atrociously horrible, here are six films to consider:

1. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice was made into a film adaptation with an all-star cast. Although having big names with a movie doesn’t always mean it fits with the high demands of fans of the book, the general consensus with the film version “Interview with the Vampire” seems pretty excellent! It’s appropriately frightening and bloody and does its best to remain true to Anne Rice’s famous book. 2. I’ve discovered that a lot of people don’t realize that the movie I Am Legend is actually based on a book by Richard Matheson (I can feel your jaw dropping as you read this), in fact, I saw the film first then was made aware of the book and ended up reading it after. I think the film stands well on its own, but unfortunately falls too far from the book from which it takes its title. There’s more action and less of the overwhelming loneliness present in the novel, and need I mention the complete lack of accuracy? 3. I’ve never had a chance to read Ira Levin's book Rosemary's Baby but I am definitely a big fan of the movie and my research shows that there is a very favorable view towards this film version. Apparently, it’s nicely accurate and brings alive the unsettling premise of Levin’s best-selling novel. 4. The Shining is easily one of Stephen King's most famous works. And although The Shining film is quite creepy to watch, most die-hard Stephen King fans will tell you that it’s just not good enough. Practically the only thing this movie takes from King’s book is the basic concept and theme, everything else is, well, an axe in the heart for nearly anyone who’s read and loved the book. 5. Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula has been used and abused in films in ways that make it difficult to watch, and probably has poor Bram Stoker tossing and turning in his grave. Some people claim that the 1992 version is the best and most accurate, but I still live with the undying hope that the perfect Dracula adaptation will someday be made a reality. 6. Stephen King is the most recurring novelist on this list, which is no surprise given how many of his excellent books have been turned into movie renditions. And even though his chilling novel Carrie has seen the silver screen before, a lot of people are really looking forward to the 2013 movie hitting theatres on October 18th. Hopefully the film lives up to everyone’s expectations!

Of course half the fun here is hearing your thoughts on why you agree or disagree. Judging a film by its book is touchy and subjective in a lot of ways so bring on the fun and share your thoughts on these horror novels and their subsequent movies! :)