10 classic horror novels that are way scarier than the movies

Maybe you already know of Thomas Harris’ “The Silence of the Lambs.” But check out these others if you want to put a little extra scare into your Halloween.

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There’s more to “Psycho” than the famous shower scene. That’s where the book, by Robert Bloch, stands out in comparison to the Alfred Hitchcock movie adaptation. 

There’s more to “Psycho” than the famous shower scene. That’s where the book, by Robert Bloch, stands out in comparison to the Alfred Hitchcock movie adaptation.

Paramount Pictures

Instead of watching horror movies this Halloween, why not curl up with the real masters of terror? The original books.

Here are 10 books that overshadow their screen adaptations:

‘Psycho’

We all know the famous takeaways from the film: Think shower scene and finally meeting Norman Bates’ mother. But there’s more to Norman than meets the cinematic eye, and that’s where the book, by Robert Bloch, stands out.

‘Ring’

There have been several adaptations of the novel (and its series) to “The Ring” movies since its publication in 1991. The videotape, a staple in the 2002 movie, isn’t as omnipresent in the books by Koji Suzuki, whose novels offer curses in other frightening formats and more opportunities for your imagination to get the best of you.

‘Bird Box’

The book by Josh Malerman is far darker than the film. After all, sometimes the why is scarier than the how. The film does not address the internal terror as much as the external.

Sandra Bullock starred in the film “Bird Box,” based on the novel by Josh Malerman.

Sandra Bullock starred in the film “Bird Box,” based on the novel by Josh Malerman.

Netflix

‘The Haunting of Hill House’

Modern horror masters Stephen King and Guillermo del Toro are among the many fans of the novel by Shirley Jackson, which has been adapted into feature films twice (and later a Netflix series). But all of the adaptations pale in comparison with the original source material, thanks to Jackson’s exquisite storytelling.

‘Misery’

When discussing which book-to-film entry for Stephen King is far more frightening as a novel, this title popped up more than any other. Not only does the book win hands down for giving more insight into Paul Sheldon’s inner voice than the 1990 movie, but the iconic hobbling scene from the film also is played out far, far differently — and far more frighteningly — than in the book.

‘The Exorcist’

The screenplay for the movie was written by the author of the novel, William Peter Blatty. The book will leave readers with more psychological scars.

Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) tried to rid young Regan (Linda Blair) of a demon in the 1973 movie “The Exorcist.”

Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) tried to rid young Regan (Linda Blair) of a demon in the 1973 movie “The Exorcist.”

Warner Bros.

‘Rosemary’s Baby’

The 1967 book by Ira Levin was followed in 1968 by the film. The buildup to the gaslighting of Rosemary by her husband and neighbors is far more drawn-out in the novel, making her descent into madness all the more chilling.

‘The Silence of the Lambs’

The film won big at the Academy Awards in 1992, and the film’s villain, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, dominated. The book by Thomas Harris delves far deeper into Clarice’s psyche than Dr. Lecter does on film.

The novel “The Silence of the Lambs” delves deeper into the psyche of Clarice (Jodie Foster) than the movie does.

The novel “The Silence of the Lambs” delves deeper into the psyche of Clarice (Jodie Foster) than the movie does.

Ken Regan

‘Hell House’

The 1971 novel by Richard Matheson was made into the 1973 movie “The Legend of Hell House.” There are differences in what happens in the book, and the novel does a better job of getting into the heads of the characters and, as a result, the heads of readers.

‘Let the Right One In’

A vampire novel that stands up to the original “Dracula” in both book and films takes place in the late 1980s. This Swedish thriller was made into two film adaptations, first the Swedish version of the same name and later an English version called “Let Me In.” Yet this 2004 Nordic thriller by John Ajvide Lindqvist overshadows them both.

The movie “Let the Right One In” was based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist. 

The movie “Let the Right One In” was based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

Magnolia Pictures

Read more at USA Today.

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