Halloween is fast-approaching, and we’re dusting off our Halloween DVDs ready for a marathon of our favourite heart-pounding cinematic moments! Who doesn’t love the slow burn of a ghost story, the mind-melding effects of a psychological thriller, or that one creepy image that stays burned to the backs of your retina… If you love all things spooky on screen, then keep reading to find out what horror and thriller books you NEED on your TBR right now, based on your favourite horror movies — from the classics, to our more modern faves.
The Body Snatcher (dir. Robert Wise, 1945):
Friend of the Devil by Stephen Lloyd
PUTNAM | 9780593331385 | h/b | Out 12/05/2022 | £20.99
You might recognise the name Stephen Lloyd from the credit scenes that roll after the hit shows How I Met Your Mother, and Modern Family, but trust us when we say Lloyd’s latest project couldn’t be further from his TV writing credits. In Friend of the Devil, a substance-abusing war veteran goes hunting for a missing manuscript at an elite boarding school. But when students begin vanishing from campus, Sam Gregory becomes sure that something more sinister is afoot. At the same time, Harriet, a physically fragile but indomitable reporter for the school paper, is keeping an eye on Sam. Sam and Harriet both venture into increasingly dark territory to crack the mystery of the school. In the end, they uncover a truth more horrible than they could have imagined.
If you love psychological mysteries, especially those with a twist of dark academia, then this will tickle your fancy. That’s why we’ve paired it with the 1945 classic The Body Snatcher, an intensely atmospheric film about a college professor and his student who find themselves continually harassed by a sadistic cabman to supply bodies.
The Ring (dir. Gore Verbinski, 2002):
The Shining Sea by Koji Suzuki
VERTICAL | 9781647291181 | h/b | Out 28/07/2022 | £23.99
It’s likely that you’ve already been frightened out of your skin by Koji Suzuki, known for creating the infamous Ring series in which a mysterious videotape appears to have the power to kill its viewers within a week of watching. Suzuki hasn’t put down his pen to stop scaring us, as he returns with this ominous new mystery thriller, The Shining Sea. A young woman who attempted suicide by drowning has lost her memory and ability to speak. Her lover, a young man, is on a pelagic tuna fishing boat. What happened between them? Nobody knows their own destiny. But what if you discover you only have a low chance of being happy in life?
Cabin in the Woods (dir. Drew Goddard, 2012):
Born to be Weird by Set Sytes
MICROCOSM PUBLISHING | 9781648411496 | p/b | Out 06/10/2022 | £13.99
So you love bizzare, self-aware horror that leaves you asking; “what the heck did I just witness?” — Good! Because Born to be Weird is about as strange, twisted and peculiar as you can get. This collection of short stories features a public restroom even more horrific than most, with a stained toilet that can swallow a man whole, sending him to a sewage-filled hell; a riverbank lined with swaying mops given faces and philosophies; A secondary school that seems to waver in and out of reality not only in dreams, but also upon wakeful visitation; An isolated grotto, home to trolls and the posthumous shadow form of Elvis Presley. These are all settings of peculiar, often unnerving events in Set Sytes’s collection of short bizarro fiction.
The Woman in Black (dir. James Watkins, 2012):
The Haunting of Maddy Claire by Simone St. James
BERKLEY – US | 9780593441350 | p/b | Out 06/10/2022 | £9.99
England, 1920s. Sarah Piper’s lonely, threadbare existence changes when her temporary agency sends her to assist an obsessed ghost hunter who has been summoned to investigate the spirit of the nineteen-year-old maid Maddy Clare, who haunts the barn where she committed suicide. Maddy hated men in life and will not speak to them in death. Sarah is unprepared to confront an angry ghost — and Maddy’s ghost is no hoax. She’s real, she’s angry, and she has powers that defy all reason. Now, Sarah must discover who Maddy was and what is driving her desire for vengeance — before she destroys them all. If you love the eeriness of The Woman in Black, this one’ll blow your socks off.
Hereditary (dir. Ari Aster, 2018):
Where I End by Sophie White
TRAMP PRESS | 9781915290045 | p/b | Out 13/10/2022 | £11.99
From podcaster and author of the hit Corpsing: My Body and other Horror Shows, Sophie White delivers a horror that’s bound up in family, trauma and grief. Teenage Aoileann has never left the island. Her silent, bed-bound mother is a wreckage, the survivor of a private disaster no one will speak about. Aoileann desperately wants a family, and when Sarah and her three young children move to the island, Aoileann finds a focus for her relentless love. A horror story about being bound by the blood knot of family, Ringu meets Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love in Sophie White’s thrilling horror debut.
Audition (dir. Takashi Miike, 1999):
The Carnivorous Plant by Andrea Mayo, translated by Laura McGloughlin
3TIMESREBEL PRESS | 9781739823634 | p/b | Out 20/10/2022 | £14.99
It doesn’t take much to turn a situation toxic; from friends, to lovers, to family, we are always close to slipping into a war with each other. In Audition, a widower auditions women to be his wife, but the woman he ends up with isn’t as she seems, and takes toxicity to new extremes. The Carnivorous Plant also explores the complications of entanglement when combined with a toxic relationship. What makes a carnivorous plant trap you? How can we avoid it? How can we escape from it devouring us? For the protagonist of this story, it is already too late when she realises that she is completely trapped. This book is a portrait of horror. A synthesis of all the violence that exists between couples, friends, at work or in the family. It reflects the limits of human relationships, focusing on the abuse and its multiple psychological consequences. The Carnivorous Plant is about power rather than love.
The Handmaiden (dir. Park Chan-wook, 2016):
X by Davey Davis
CIPHER PRESS | 9781739784935 | p/b | 27/10/2022 | £10.99
An electrifying novel about the creeping reality of political terror, and the violent pleasures found in Brooklyn’s queer heartlands. Part noir, part erotic thriller, X is a vivid, moody and darkly funny portrait of those living on the margins of an increasingly hostile society. X is honestly a must-read for anyone who can stomach a bit of horror and violence. Like Park’s masterpiece The Handmaiden, X is told non-linearly, dashing between the protagonist’s relationships and vignettes of their sexual encounters. Davey’s writing is smooth, and as cinematic as any excellent noir, so fans of gorgeous visuals will be feasting on this novel.
Blade (dir. Stephen Norrington, 1998):
VMT: Vampire Menstrual Tension by William Simpson and Lovern Kindezierski
RENEGADE ARTS ENTERTAINMENT | 9781988903705 | p/b | 27/10/2022 | £17.99
Vampires come in many forms but one thing’s for sure: they aren’t meant to sparkle. VMT brings together three diverse vampiric existences in an encounter with a darker, more malevolent evil, insistent on shredding the veil of life and indulging in a brutal orgy of carnal sacrifice... but of course, you have to get the flies out of the ointment first. VMT series one: An invitation into a meeting of a tryptic of cursed vampiric existence, surrounded by a consortium of very human fearful companions… and the battle against something much worse in dubious demonic devilry and such things that go bump in the night. Both Blade and VMT bring vigour and new blood (hehe — new blood — get it?) to vampire lore with the comic style and a more modern take. If you also happen to enjoy watching feral female vampires jumping up walls and violently sucking blood, VMT should satisfy your cravings!
American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000) — Strange Blood by Sergi Puyol
CENTRALA | 9781912278268 | h/b | 10/27/2022 | £23
If you love the way American Psycho takes a look as the postmodern condition, capitalism and the ego; then prepare to delve deep into Puyol’s metaphysical graphic novel exploring the horrors of obsession and feeling trapped in modern life.
Arnaldo’s life is filled with a pneumatic void. He can’t stand Fridays, can’t stand working, he can’t stand, in general, his sorry postmodern existence. Until one day something random happens. Against his will, his spirit is shaken to the core leading him into an all-consuming obsession. He goes on a compulsive hunt to find answers, and his search will lead him through Russian novels, gallons of beer and into metaphysical questions to finally realise one can escape any place on earth except one’s mind.
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