11 books that scared us before the movie came out

These books go bump in the night, have you read any of them?

What do The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby and Dracula all have in common? They are all terrifying, that's one. They were also all books before they became the movies we love today. These books were meant to give you chills, even before the iconic films did.

The debate between books and movies has been a long-standing one. What's better? The book or the movie?

We are going to take a look at 11 of the most iconic, but yet sometimes forgotton books that influenced some of our favorite horror movies.

1. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty


Book date: 1971
Movie date: 1973

The Exorcist, written by William Peter Blatty, was a bestselling book before it hit theaters in 1973. The book has sold over 13 million copies since its release in 1971. Blatty wrote The Exorcist after he heard about a possession while he was a student. Are you a fan of The Exoricst book or have you only seen the movie?

2. Coraline by Neil Gaiman


Book date: 2002
Movie date: 2009

The Coraline movie is a stop-animated film that came out in 2009. It's a classic for many people around spooky season. Did you know the famous movie was based on a book? Coraline is written by Neil Gaiman and is a dark fantasy children's novella.

3. The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson


Book date: 1977
Movie date: 1979

We've almost all watched this movie, or at least know how terrifying it is. There are a few different movies based on the events at the Amityville House. These events weren't just movie magic, many events in these films were depicted in the novel by Jay Anson. His book is based on claims of paranormal experiences by the Lutz Family. Although, there has been a lot of controversy over the book's truthfulness. What do you think? Ghosts or no ghosts?

4. Who Goes There? (The Thing) by John W. Campbell


Book date: 1938
Movie date: 1982

The Thing director John Carpenter created an iconic film when he and Kurt Russell teamed up in the '80s. But, it wasn't always just about Kurt Russell.

Who Goes There? was written by John W. Campbell in 1938. The Thing was one of two movie adaptions of the book. Today, there are games, comic books, movies and more, all made around this classic novella. There is one core theme among it all: not all aliens are as nice as E.T. 

5. I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan


Book date: 1973
Movie date: 1997

We know that you have probably seen this film, but did you know it was a book too? Many people thought I Know What You Did Last Summer was just another slasher film. Those people aren't wrong but that's also not quite right.

I Know What You Did Last Summer was written by Lois Duncan in 1973. The movie loosely follows the book. The film focuses on a group of teens that are being picked off one-by-one by an unknown killer. The only real connection between the book and the movie is the premise, everything else isn't the same. So if you liked the movie, check out the book it's based on (sort of).

6. Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin


Book date: 1967
Movie date: 1968

Rosemary's Baby, written by Ira Levin, was one of the best selling horror novels of the '60s. Did you pick up a copy?

Many people consider the film to be one of the most disturbing films of the 20th century, but that means they must not have read the book!

7. The Forbidden (Candyman) by Clive Barker


Book date: 1985
Movie date: 1992 and 2021

The Forbidden, written by Clive Barker, was a short story published in his anthology, Books and Blood. There has been two screen adaptions for the short story, one in 1992 and the other in 2021. Candyman (2021) was written by Jordan Peele. 

8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


Book date: 1818
Movie date: 1931

The original Frankenstein book came out in 1818 and was written by Mary Shelley. Many people don't realize Frankenstein was a book before it became the famous 1931, Boris Karloff movie.

Frankenstein is iconic for those who love classic horror. The 1931 film plays a significant role in cinema history, but its success isn't typically credited back to the author, Mary Shelley. 

9. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice


Book date: 1976
Movie date: 1994

Interview with the Vampire is a gothic horror and vampire novel that was released in 1976. Anne Rice wrote the book after the death of her daughter, who served as an inspiration for the child-vampire character, Claudia.

The film adaptation in 1994 starred Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Have you ever read the book?

10. The Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney


Book date: 1955
Movie date: 1978

The Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney may not be the most well-known movie and book combo on the list, but it's important to mention. The novel has been adapted for the screen four times. The 1978 film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, stars Leonard Nimoy. 

Just do us a favor and avoid the 2007 film adapation.

11. Dracula by Bram Stoker


Book date: 1897
Movie date: 1931

The 1931 Dracula film is an all-time classic. The book has received the same amount of love, with many people considering it to be one of the most famous pieces of English literature. 

Dracula was originally written by Bram Stoker in the 1800s. Stoker made it an epistolary novel, with no single protagonist, the narrative is related through letters, diary entries and newspaper articles.

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texasluva 19 months ago
𝙋𝙧𝙚-𝙃𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙢𝙤𝙫𝙞𝙚 -**𝙄𝙣𝙫𝙖𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙊𝙛 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘽𝙤𝙙𝙮 𝙎𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙘𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙨** (1956)-1 𝙝𝙧 20 𝙢𝙞𝙣- 𝘿𝙧𝙖𝙢𝙖--𝙃𝙤𝙧𝙧𝙤𝙧--𝙎𝙘𝙞-𝙁𝙞-
𝘿𝙤𝙣 𝙎𝙞𝙚𝙜𝙚𝙡
𝙆𝙚𝙫𝙞𝙣 𝙈𝙘𝘾𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙝𝙮---𝘿𝙖𝙣𝙖 𝙒𝙮𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧---𝙇𝙖𝙧𝙧𝙮 𝙂𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙨---𝘾𝙖𝙧𝙤𝙡𝙮𝙣 𝙅𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙨

𝙘𝙤𝙥𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙥𝙖𝙨𝙩𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙧𝙤𝙬𝙨𝙚𝙧 =𝙘𝙡𝙞𝙘𝙠 𝙩𝙤 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙩 𝙢𝙤𝙫𝙞𝙚, 𝙘𝙡𝙞𝙘𝙠 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙜𝙚𝙧 𝙨𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙚𝙣.

SteveMcnary 19 months ago
I liked the book The Exorcist way more than the movie. The movie didn't scare me at all but the book kept me riveted.
I liked the original Invasion Of The Body Snatchers movie to the 1978 remake.
olddogg 19 months ago
I'm a little surprised that Stephen King was left out. But then again, it would have been way obvious and would have lengthened the list considerably.
kkvegas olddogg 19 months ago
I was thinking the same thing. When the movie version of The Shining was too scary for me, I decided to read the book first and then give the movie another try. I was surprised (and scared) when things in the movie didn't play out exactly like the book.
Bill 19 months ago
Despite what Hollywood has done with Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s novel was NOT “Dr. Frankenstein,” he was a school dropout. And he was not a “mad” doctor. In an early chapter he explains that he wanted to cure diseases, so he created the creature. Yes, things went badly. Mary Shelly lost children to childhood disease, which was her motivation to write the book.
AgingDisgracefully 19 months ago
With Fair Being Fair...attention must be paid to The Novelization.
The book that comes out AFTER the movie appears.
MichaelRothstein 19 months ago
In reference to #10 (IBS), the only good film version was in 1956 with Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, NOT the 1978 version! It's stupid to even REFERENCE that miserable version!
Runeshaper 19 months ago
Coraline is pretty dark for an aminated film, but it's GREAT! Gotta love Frankenstein and Dracula (-:
lynngdance 19 months ago
I’ve read Frankenstein and about half of Dracula (had to take it back to the library and never got around to checking it out again.) Coincidentally, I was at a yard sale just yesterday and in a pile of books was “The Exorcist” with the same exact cover as pictured in this article. 😄
Pacificsun lynngdance 19 months ago


LOCATION: For the Trvia Quiz (STOP if your gonna play)
lynngdance Pacificsun 19 months ago
Thank you 😊!
Sway 19 months ago
Mary Shelley was only 18 years old when she began writing Frankenstein. She was 20 when it was first published.
Lantern 19 months ago
In the 90's, Ira Levin wrote a sequel to Rosemary's Baby titled Son of Rosemary. Thank goodness they didn't film that - the ending was a real cop-out (I won't spoil it here though).
Sway Lantern 19 months ago
There was a made for TV movie sequel to Rosemary's Baby, called "look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby" that came out before the sequel book was written and not based on the book sequel.
KJExpress 19 months ago
I love to read, but the only book in this group that I have read is "Frankenstein."
MrsPhilHarris 19 months ago
The only one I read was Interview With A Vampire. Thought it was great and bought the book that followed. Dreadful.

I remember my mum reading Rosemary’s Baby and saying it was creepy. The movie certainly wasn’t. More comical than anything.
CarolKelley MrsPhilHarris 19 months ago
The book by Ira Levin was so much better than the movie. I actually got put in detention for reading Rosemary's Baby in school. I put it on my book list and pointed page 86, IIRC, to my 8th grade classmates. If you don't know what page I'm talking about, it's the page where Satan has his way with Rosemary. Doncha know that 8th graders are too young to know about sex?
cperrynaples 19 months ago
A couple of mistakes: The first version of The Thing came out in 1951 and the first Body Snatchers came out in 1957! And it can be argued that the first Dracula movie was a German film which turned 100 this year!
Moody cperrynaples 19 months ago
Was that Nosferatu?
CarolKelley Moody 19 months ago
Yes!!!! I really need to get a copy.
Pacificsun cperrynaples 19 months ago


LOCATION: Trivia Quiz (STOP if you want to play)

LoveMETV22 19 months ago
Other Great books that later became Horror Films
Carrie/ The Shining: by Stephen King
Psycho by Robert Bloch.
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris.
and many others....

Both the book and movie adaptions have their qualities, (JMO), so can opinions or preferences be debated ? What one individual likes or prefers is different from others. So the debate will most likely always be there.
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LoveMETV22 Moody 19 months ago
Always a pleasure chatting with you Moody, We look forward to your return and hope all is well with you and the Mrs. We mention you in the Friday Night Festivities ( All good) and hope to see you at a quiz sometime soon.
kkvegas Lantern 19 months ago
I remember both the story and the film of The Lottery from school. So creepy!
Pacificsun Moody 19 months ago


LOCATION; Answers to Quiz (STOP if you're planning to play)

Pacificsun Michael 19 months ago
Very interesting! Thank you for visiting! Good to hear from you. Hope your Halloween is spooky but fun!
Dajj 19 months ago
One book that had some scary and gross parts in it was, beleive it or not, was “All quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque. The parts with the rats eating on the dead soldiers and biting the live soldiers was kind of sickening. Great WW1 novel, based on true experiences.
harlow1313 19 months ago
Well, I am partial to novels, "The Other" and "Harvest Home," both written by Thomas Tryon and have quite good film versions.

I am also partial to King's novel, "Salem's Lot," as well as the seventies miniseries. I love the character of Straker, as portrayed by James Mason. I am also fond of Mr. Barlow. What a kisser!
Michael 19 months ago
Finally some literary content comes to MeTV.

Don''t forget Jaws. But, like Frankensten, not that scary in book form
kkvegas Michael 19 months ago
I was 12 when the movie Jaws came out. My parents wouldn't let me see it, but they did let me read the book.
Barry22 19 months ago
Read Exorcist, Dracula, and Frankenstein.
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