Many of the most famous horror films of all time were first written as novels. It takes incredible talent to translate horror to the page, and it also takes talent to faithfully adapt the novels to the big screen. After being terrified of a good horror movie, some viewers are encouraged to visit the source material.
Some horror writers have made a name for themselves as masters of the craft, adapting many of their novels to film and becoming classics in the process. When fans read the novels of these prolific horror authors, they feel like their novels were meant for the screen.
ten William Blatty adapted The Exorcist from his own book
The Exorcist, written by William Peter Blatty, was a best-seller before being adapted for the screen in 1973. It was written for the screen by Blatty himself, and the novel and screenplay are said to be inspired by an actual exorcism which was conducted on a young boy in 1949.
The Exorcist was critically acclaimed despite not having any major actors attached to him, and also set box office records despite his studio not having high hopes for him. William Peter Blatty even won an Oscar.
9 Stephen King doesn’t like Kubrick’s The Shining
Possibly one of the greatest horror movies to date, the brilliant was directed by Stanley Kubrick and adapted from the novel of the same name by Stephen King. King criticized Kubrick’s take on the story, which was co-written for the screen by Kubrick and Diane Johnson, due to the major theme changes and downplaying of supernatural forces in the film.
Despite the controversy over the adaptation of the brilliant, it has become a staple of the film industry. The sequel, based on King’s novel Doctor Sleep, was released in 2019 and was directed by acclaimed horror director Mike Flanagan.
8 I Know What You Did Last Summer is loosely based on Lois Duncan’s 1973 novel
The 1997 classic slasher I know what you did last summer was loosely based on Lois Duncan’s 1973 novel of the same name. The novel and the film are quite different, as the novel is closer to suspense while the film leans heavily into the slasher genre with supernatural elements.
The novel adaptation was written by Kevin Williamson, who is best known for his writing work Scream (1996). I know what you did last summer also started a franchise like Scream, as well as a 2021 remake in series form.
7 World War Z is a loose adaptation of Max Brooks’ novel
The Second World War, produced by and starring Brad Pitt, is very loosely based on Max Brooks’ novel, World War Z: An Oral History of Zombie Warfare. Unlike the film, the novel takes place in the form of fictionalized interviews ten years after a zombie invasion. The interviews chronicle the various social, environmental and political changes that have occurred as a result of the outbreak.
The 2013 film was directed by Marc Forster and written by Matthew Michael Carhanan, Drew Goddard and Damon Lindelof. Unlike the novel, World War Z follows a man (Pitt) and his family at the start of a zombie outbreak as he searches for safety and a cure.
6 It was believed that Gerald’s game was impossible to adapt
Another adaptation of a Stephen King novel, Gerald’s game (2017) was directed and co-written by Mike Flanagan. Since King wrote it almost exclusively in one location and featured a single character conversing with the voices in his head, many thought the novel was impossible to adapt into a film.
This meant that Mike Flanagan and his co-writer, Jeff Howard, had to come up with creative changes to make the movie interesting for viewers. Fortunately, they accomplished this with ease, and King is a fan of the adaptation..
5 Robert Bloch’s Psycho has become one of the most iconic horror films of all time
Robert Bloch’s 1959 novel, psychology, is the source of the famous 1960 Alfred Hitchcock horror film. Written primarily by Joseph Stephano, psychology is fairly faithful to the source material. Some aspects have been changed for the big screen. Namely, the violence of the film has been toned down.
psychology became one of the most influential horror films of all time and is certainly one of the most recognizable. The shower scene has become iconic and has often been honored in various movies and TV shows since the film’s release.
4 Thomas Harris’ Silence of the Lambs Led to One of the Most Successful Horror Movies of All Time
Thesilenceofthelambs (1991) became a worldwide hit and nearly swept the Oscars, and it’s based on the 1988 horror novel written by Thomas Harris. Both the novel and the film tell the story of the notorious Dr. Hannibal Lecter as he is portrayed by a young FBI agent, Clarice Starling, as she searches for a new serial killer actively hunting down local women.
Thesilenceofthelambs is the sequel to Harris’s novel, Red Dragon. the Red Dragon the film was not released until 2002 and received less success.
3 It’s been adapted twice since Stephen King wrote the book.
This is one of Stephen King’s most famous novels and has been adapted twice; once in 1990 as a two-part miniseries and again in 2017 and 2019 as a duology (split into It: Chapter 1 and It: chapter 2). The stories follow a group of childhood friends as they are terrorized by a creature that calls itself “Pennywise the Dancing Clown”.
This (2017) received praise for its writing, direction, and performance. Both installments of the duology have become fan-favorite horror films. Many even prefer the films to King’s novel, thanks to the removal of many disturbing scenes.
2 HG Wells’ Invisible Man Is Very Different From The 2020 Film
The acclaimed film of 2020 The invisible Man is based on the novel of the same name by HG Wells, published in 1897. The invisible Man follows Cecelia Kass as she escapes an abusive relationship with Adrian, who then commits suicide. Cecelia thinks Adrian faked his death and follows her. Strange events begin to occur around Cecelia, which seem to confirm that Adrian is not dead, and the events unfold as the story continues.
The novel and the movie are very different due to differences in when the stories were written. However, Leigh Whannell, writer and director of the film, turns a famous story into a terrifying film with multiple meanings.
1 Koji Suzuki’s ring has become a cult favorite
the ring (2002) is an adaptation of the Japanese horror/mystery novel, Ring, by Koji Suzuki. the ring was directed by Gore Verbinski and written by Ehren Kruger. As the film is an Americanization of the novel and the earlier 1998 Japanese film adaptation, significant creative liberties were taken.
The film was a hit upon its release and gained cult status. Rings the success also opened the doors to American remakes of other Japanese horror films, such as The Grudge.
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