10 horror movies you didn't know were based on books

10 Horror Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based on Books

A few months ago an acquaintance of mine was reading The Exorcist, and I had to do a double-take, because I didn’t realize that it was a book. I asked her about it, and she said that the movie was based on the book. WHAT?! Mind blown (be quiet all of you who already knew this)! So naturally, I began to wonder about what other horror movies had been inspired by books. After all, the best movies stemmed from books, right?

Of course we all know the classic horror movies inspired by books: all one thousand of Stephen King’s novels (Carrie, It, Kujo, The Shining, Pet Sematary, etc.) and all varieties of Dracula and Frankenstein. I wanted to see if I could find books that had inspired other well-known horror movies while their bookish existence remained relatively unknown. Turns out researching this post resulted in me adding a gazillion new books to my to-read list (help, I’m drowning in books).

1. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Of course I had to include this one, since I didn’t realize it had bookish origins up until recently!


2. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson


3. The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson


4. Psycho by Robert Bloch


5. 30 Days of Night by Steve Niles 

This is a graphic novel illustrated by Ben Templesmith.


6. Jaws by Peter Benchley


7. The Ring by Kōji Suzuki

I’m sorry, WHAT? THIS SCARY AF MOVIE IS BASED ON A BOOK? OMG. I can’t decide if I want to read it or if I just want to buy all the copies so that I can burn them.


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


9. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

This is actually the second novel in the Hannibal Lecter series. The first novel is Red Dragon and the third and fourth are Hannibal and Hannibal Rising, respectively.


10. The Birds by Daphne Du Maurier

I freaking love this movie, and now I feel compelled to buy this book ASAP. I suspect The Birds is a short story, since it seems to only be sold in books with her other short stories. I’d love to see what inspired such a fantastic movie.


That’s all I’ve got for you! If you’d like to see a more comprehensive list, check out this awesome one from Goodreads.

chime inSo have you read any of these? Do you want to read any of these now? Do you know of other well-known horror movies that are based on books? Let’s chat!

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    1. Yeah, you’re welcome! I really want to read The Ring from this list. If it’s half as scary as the movie then I’ll be in for a fantastic read!

    1. Hahaha, the Ring seems like it would be a SUPER SCARY book! I feel like I have to read it ASAP! But I can understand why you might be hesitant, lol. That’s awesome that you’ve read Duncan!

  1. I knew about The Exorcist, I Am Legend (I have those) as well has 30 Days of Night. But I didn’t know about the others! JAWS? Really?! I Know What You Did Last Summer ?!!? Like WHAT. hahahah

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

  2. Great post!! There were some surprises I didn’t know about…
    Jaws… I definitely didn’t see that one coming!! I can’t imagine a book like that… I don’t know why!!haha
    I wouldn’t read The Ring either, no way, I would most likely burn the copies like you said!!
    And I am also greatly surprised by The Birds one, I didn’t know the Rebecca writer had done that too!!

    I love these movie/show/book related posts!! Keep them coming! 😉

    1. Right?! I didn’t know that about The Birds either. I really want to read it. The list of horror movies inspired by books is enormous – so many things I’d never heard of!

      1. There are actually 4 books in total. The 4th one being “Birthday” which was turned into a movie, Ring:Zero. It’s Sadako’s origin story. My favorite is the 2nd one, “Spiral”… such a mindfck! (I also read somewhere that book3, “Loop” is the basis for the newer Rings movie. Lol sorry for the infodump… I just love this series so much!)