Spooky Associations: Check Out These Halloween Book / Movie Adaptations


From spooky pages to images that seem to jump off the screen (and startle us), the Halloween season offers plenty of spooky moments for book lovers and movie buffs alike.

Shayna Ross, public service librarian and readers of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, curated a list of some of the best couples in Halloween movies and books.

Those on the list include books and films that have been well received in both forms.

She hopes the list will inspire more people to remember seeing or reading certain titles and to further explore the classics of the genre. “I recently reread ‘The Shining’. There were scenes in the book where I was like, ‘Oh, that wasn’t in the movie,’ ”Ross said, making him wonder how that scene could have translated into a movie.

Chronological pairings offer thrill recommendations from different time periods.

Gold classics

Ross associates Mary Wollstonecraft with Shelley “Frankenstein”, published in 1818 (and again in 1831 with textual modifications) with “Bride of Frankenstein”, released in 1935. Don’t miss Boris Karloff’s portrait of a monster looking for a Mrs.

The quintessential ’60s horror film is “Psycho”, that inspires nightmares in some about being alone when traveling, or the shrill cry of an opening shower curtain.

Robert Bloch’s book, published in 1959, results in a suspenseful scary 1960 film starring Janet Leigh (mother of future Screaming Queen Jamie Lee Curtis) and Anthony Perkins.

In “Rosemary’s Baby” written by Ira Levin in 1967 and scaring movie audiences from 1968, pixie cut Mia Farrow (Rosemary) can’t wait to start a family with her new husband in New York City.

Their elderly neighbors seem eccentric and overly interested in them and their unborn baby. It’s not scary, is it? And is Rosemary’s husband really the father of the baby?

In the 70s

The scares of the 1970s are triggered by that of William Peter Blatty “The Exorcist,” published in 1971, associated with, obviously, “The Exorcist”, released in 1973.

Reputedly inspired by a case of demonic possession that Blatty heard about as a student, the film stars a young Linda Blair as Regan, a suddenly possessed sweet child.


“The Exorcist” has inspired an insatiable appetite for possession-themed stories, Ross notes. “You’ll forget it’s just a story.”

And you probably won’t forget the levitating scene and… well, just read the book or watch the movie, but maybe not alone. Over 40 years later, the story remains terrifying.

Ross associates Daphné du Maurier’s short story from 1970 “Don’t look now” with the 1973 film of the same name.

The story, Ross says, plunges into psychological realism. While on vacation, trying to recover from the death of their young daughter, a couple encounter two suspicious elderly women.

“A seemingly simple plot that’s so much more,” is Ross’s description of the story.

“Heeeere’s Johnny” never looks more terrifying than when Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie “The brilliant,” which came out in 1980, the bellows with a maniacal smile.

Author Stephen King is the master of the horror genre for a reason, says Ross.

The combination of an alcoholic father, an increasingly unbalanced mother, and a young son who sees, hears and knows things, says Ross, gives us all the right elements to make a spooky ghost story. Ross notes that the film adaptation of “Doctor Sleep”, with baby boy Danny turned adult, is scheduled for November 8.

japanese horror

If you tire of American horror, Ross suggests trying Japanese horror with the film / book combination of “Hearing,” written by Ryu Murakami in 1997 and theatrically released in 1999.

Widower Aoyama agrees to attend film auditions through a friend in hopes of meeting a new wife, but the one who catches his eye is not who she claims to be, Ross says.

She adds that it has been reported that actor / musician Rob Zombie, who probably finds nothing disturbing, found this film deeply disturbing.

Nights of dread today

In the terrifying and controversial “Battle Royale,” Author Koushun Takami throws 50 randomly selected middle school students onto a remote island, where they are forced to kill each other until only one remains, Ross says.

“Make sure you read the book, watch the movie, and if you want some more, check out the manga series,” she says.

“There is a sequel to the film, ‘Battle Royale II: Requiem’, if you want more blood, ”Ross adds.

Ross associates John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 book “Let the Right One In” with the 2008 Swedish film of the same name.

If you like vampire movies, Ross says, “Interview with a Vampire,” “Twilight,” and “Dracula,” all novel-based movies, are perfect.

“Corn ‘Leave the one on the right in’ is a star. A bullied young boy in Sweden meets a young girl and befriends her without knowing she is a vampire, ”says Ross.

In the 2018 Netflix movie “Bird box”, based on Josh Malerman’s 2014 novel, actress Sandra Bullock has to grapple with what she can’t see.

Traveling with two young children, all blindfolded, she tries to protect them from anything that attacks the human race – those who open their eyes – in a post-apocalyptic world.

If you liked the movie, says Ross, look for a sequel based on one of the characters, “Malorie,” in May 2020.

And if you haven’t read the inspiration for the movie yet, this fan recommends it.

Bonus recommendation

Ross makes a bonus recommendation for “The Haunting of Hill House,” a 2018 Netflix series adapted from the 1959 Shirley Jackson novel.

“Although there were movie adaptations in 1963 and 1999, both titled ‘The Haunting’, the television series takes on a whole new twist with incredible results,” she says.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.