Top 10 Horror Movie Adaptations…
I was just checking out a Tweet from Tom Holland’s blog post this morning, “Top 10 Stephen King films” and it got me thinking about my own list. Not wanting to flat out steal Mr. Holland’s idea I wondered what are the best horror movie adaptations from any author. I decide to make a list. There were dozens of great books that have been turned into great films. In fact, I first titled this post as the top 5 and quickly realized, that just wasn’t enough. I was able to narrow it down to just 10 Horror Movie Adaptations. I already know there’s going to have to be another list in the near future because to my surprise, there’s a lot of good books that were adapted into good horror movies.
So, with that being said, here’s my list of the Top 10 Horror Movie Adaptations…
AMERICAN PSYCHO (1991), BRET EASTON ELLIS To be fair, I can’t say much about the book. It’s been so long since I’ve read it I can’t comment on the differences between the book and film. They just merge into one in my head. I add it to this list because I do remember really enjoying the book and the movie.
JAWS (1974), PETER BENCHLEY There are so many things to love about the book and the movie. The book differed in many ways from the film but they both built suspense with masterful perfection. For example, the book had, at times, the perspective from the sharks train of thought and that was kinda fun. Some things were completely different in the book, iconic scenes from the film weren’t in the book. Sometimes things need to changed when making the jump from the page to the screen and Jaws the movie is a perfect example of how to do that exceptionally well.
MISERY (1987), STEPHEN KING I loved the book more than the movie. The movie was great don’t get me wrong. Kathy Bates was amazing as Annie Wilkes. I like the book more because what Paul Sheldon goes through is truly horrific. If you’ve only seen the movie and think Paul Sheldon suffered. It was nothing compared to what he endured in the book. There were so many cringe worthy moments in the book that weren’t in the film. That being said, what the movie did was capture the essence of the book and it was brilliant.
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1988), THOMAS HARRIS I can’t say enough about both the movie and the book. If you haven’t read the book, you’re missing out. If you haven’t seen the movie, you’re missing out. And, on a side note, if you haven’t seen “Manhunter“, you’re missing out.
THE EXORCIST (1971), WILLIAM PETER BLATTY The book was terrifying, the movie was terrifying. I first saw this movie when it aired on TV back in the late ’70’s. I was 8 or 9 years old. I was fine up until she spun her head around. I made the first grown up decision of my life. I stood up and said, “Um, I’m going to watch Battle of the Network Stars with grandpa in his room. I walked down the hallway and it wouldn’t be until I was in the 7th grade before I watched it again, this time successfully.
PSYCHO (1959), ROBERT BLOCH This book was an interesting read though different then Hitchcock’s classic in a few ways that I don’t want to get into because I don’t want to ruin it if you haven’t read the book. I have to admit, I liked the movie better but there were still a lot of things I loved about the book. Bates, is different in the book is about all I can say without ruining any plot points.
THE SHINING (1977), STEPHEN KING How can you not love the book and the movie. A lot of the King’s movies that have turned into books are horribly disappointing. This wasn’t one of them. I think the main problems in adapting King’s work is that so much of what he writes has a surreal quality that when taken to it’s literal interpretation on film come off as more silly than scary. Some things truly are left better the imagination.
HELLRAISER (1986), CLIVE BARKER I have to be honest, I’ve only read two of Clive Barker’s books and only seen the first Helraiser movie. The actual book from which Hellraiser came from was titled “The Hellbound Heart” and Helraiser was a one of the stories within it. The move is creepy and interesting, the short story it came from is certainly worth the read if you really want to get the feel of the Cenobites.
THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1977), JAY ANSON I have to admit that I loved the original movie. For about 10 years I lived alone and I watched a lot of scary movies all by myself in the middle of the night. Even movies that really aren’t that scary can really creep you out when you’re alone. This was one of them. The movie really, really creeped me out. As for the book, it’s been so long since I read it and the information I’ve learned over the years about the story makes it hard to recall what was in the book specifically. But, when it comes to an adaptation, this one surely couldn’t have been more successful.
THE THING (1938), JOHN W. CAMPBELL, JR. The thing has got to be my all time favorite creature feature as well as my all time favorite John Carpenter movie. From amazing acting, realistic sets, amazing special effects and suspense that once started does not quit. The book however, originally titled “Who Goes There?” is fabulous, it’s won awards, it’s been adapted into film four times though it wasn’t until John Carpenter’s The Thing that one of the adaptations actually tried to follow the book.
So there you have it. Let me know what you think should have been on the list. And, as I have just finished writing this post I realize that I really didn’t give much detail as to why each of the adaptations should be on the list. I think what it mostly comes down to is, did I like the book, did I like the movie. However, I did give some consideration to the success of the movie. Did the movie take the book further and I think in most of these cases it did.