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35+ of Your Favorite Unconventional Horror Novels

S. Zainab Williams

Executive Director, Content

S. Zainab would like to think she bleeds ink but the very idea makes her feel faint. She writes fantasy and horror, and is currently clutching a manuscript while groping in the dark. Find her on Twitter: @szainabwilliams.

This Riot Recommendation is sponsored by My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix, from Quirk Books.

The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act…different. She’s moody. She’s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she’s nearby. Abby’s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries—and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil? Like an unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist, My Best Friend’s Exorcism blends teen angst, adolescent drama, and unspeakable horrors into a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller.

From books to B-movies, horror has proven itself a particularly fun genre to mess with, and when you want more than just a fright it might be time to seek out the truly strange and unusual. Nothing keeps a genre fresh like the occasional oddity and everything is better in bizarro-vision.

We asked you to tell us your favorite unconventional horror novels and you responded. Here are more than 35 of your favorites!

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Demon Theory by Stephen Graham Jones

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

The Cold One by Christopher Pike

The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

The Treatment by Mo Hayder

Pontypool Changes Everything by Tony Burgess

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Hater by David Moody

Child of Fire by Harry Connolly

The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

Still Life by Joe Donnelly

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Exorcist by Peter Blatty

Walk the Night by William Sloane

The Killing Kind by John Connolly

Weaveworld by Clive Barker

The Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbert

The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons

Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon

Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Horns by Joe Hill

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

The Fall of the House Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

The Sandman by E. T. A. Hoffman

Slade House by David Mitchell

The Taste of a Man by Slaveka Drakulić