13 Movie and TV Adaptations of Horror Books and Where to Stream Them

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Melissa Baron

Staff Writer

Melissa is the author of TWICE IN A LIFETIME from Alcove Press and represented by Laura Cameron at Transatlantic Agency. She lives in Chicago and works as a technical writer to pay the bills. She is a former English major, and has never met a semicolon she didn’t accidentally abuse in some fashion. In her spare time, she explores Chicago, writes a lot, and hangs out with her fiancé and two cats. You can find her on Instagram and TikTok @melissabaronwrites.

Got plans tonight? You do now. Grab your favorite snacks and drinks and turn down the lights, because we have a list of 13 horror movies and TV shows based on truly excellent horror novels for you to binge on. We have everything your scare-craving heart could desire: Victorian gothic horror, sci-fi horror, Lovecraftian monsters, haunted houses, and bloody thrillers.

Pick your poison from the list below based on what streaming services you have, and come get scared with us!

All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage

The Clares move into an old farmhouse in upstate New York with their daughter. Catherine Clare finds a Bible in the house with a list of people who died in the house. Some of those names are scratched off, with “damned” scribbled next to them. As she discovers they live in a home where horrible things occurred, she feels haunted by an unknown presence, and a deeper disconnect between her and her husband. Brundage’s eerie novel has been adapted into the film Things Heard and Seen.

Streaming on Netflix

Ju-On by Kei Ohishi

You may have heard of and already seen the Japanese original film, Ju-On, and the American remake, The Grudge, based on Ohishi’s novel about a house cursed by the unspeakable things that happened there. You may not know about the Ju-On Origins series that premiered last year. Ju-On Origins focuses on the decades leading up to the events of Ju-On, and shows us previous curse victims, as well as how the curse came to be.

Streaming on Netflix

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Li Lan and her family moved from China to colonial Malaysia in the late 1890s, where her father lost all of his fortune. The wealthy Lim family has a proposition for Li Lan: become a ghost bride to their recently deceased son. It would solve her family’s financial problems, but at what cost? She finds out when, every night, she’s pulled into the afterlife and learns the dark secrets of the Lim family — and her own.

Streaming on Netflix

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Mike Flanagan turned Shirley Jackson’s iconic horror novel into an absolutely stunning, heartbreaking series that works both on a horror level and a family drama level. In the series adaptation, a family moves into Hill House in the hopes of flipping and selling it, only to find a haunting that tears the family apart and follows the children well into adulthood, because the house is not through with them.

Streaming on Netflix

Honorable mention: Season 2, The Haunting of Bly Manor, is adapted from a multitude of works from Henry James, including the famous Turn of the Screw.

Horns by Joe Hill

The love of Ignatius Parrish’s life was murdered, and everyone thinks he did it. He gets roaring drunk one night to cope, but when he wakes up, he finds horns sprouting from his head. Suddenly, everyone around him is confessing their deepest, darkest secrets. It disturbs Ig, but also makes him realize that he might be able to find his girlfriend’s real killer through his newfound devilish powers. Horns strikes just the right balance between horror, humor, and romance.

Streaming on Netflix

Annihilation by James VanderMeer

Lena, a biologist, becomes aware of Area X when her husband, who disappeared a year ago, inexplicably returns to her but falls deathly ill. He went inside with a team and he was the only one to come out alive. Driven to know what happened to him, Lena joins a group of explorers to go into Area X to see for themselves what is mutating the plants and animals inside the zone. What they find is more than they bargained for. This film is an excellent example of horror science fiction, and is this Rioter’s favorite film.

Streaming on Hulu

cover of The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Arthur Kipps, recently widowed and still grieving the loss of his wife, is a lawyer in the early 20th century, and his job takes him to a remote, eerie village. A wealthy recluse has died, and he has to put his client’s affairs in order. This means staying in his home, where the ghost of a woman is determined to punish him for stepping foot in her house. Now all Kipps has to do is survive.

Streaming on Hulu

Evil Eye by Madhuri Shekar

Pallavi lives in California, but that doesn’t stop her mother, Usha, from trying to find her a husband all the way from Delhi. Pallavi does find someone she’s crazy about, but Usha has a bad feeling about him. He’s…familiar. Can Usha reach her daughter before something terrible happens? Shekar’s work is an audiobook told entirely in phone calls and through social media, and the film is a chilling, intense adaptation with an unexpected twist.

Streaming on Amazon Prime

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

Phillip’s beloved cousin has died, and he is positive his cousin’s wife, Rachel, is to blame. She travels to his estate in Cornwall, where he hopes to uncover the truth, only to be drawn in by the enigmatic Rachel. His cousin died of a brain tumor, after all, and it doesn’t matter that he didn’t leave his estate to his wife, does it? Phillip is prepared to do that himself and give over everything to Rachel…except his own health starts declining. How interesting. If you’re a fan of gothic horror romances, this one’s for you.

Streaming on Amazon Prime

Ring by Koji Suzuki

Suzuki’s well-known tale starts with a journalist trying to uncover the mysterious deaths of four teenagers, only to discover that a cursed videotape with disturbing images is involved. Watching the tape marks you for death within seven days. There are some key differences between the Japanese original film and the American remake, but both are solid classic horror films that will keep you up into the wee hours of the morning.

American remake: Streaming free on YouTube

Japanese original: Streaming on Amazon Prime

Midnight Meat Train by Clive Barker

Leon is a photographer trying to expand his skills and take greater risks by capturing gritty city shots. He snaps photos of a woman on the verge of being assaulted before saving her, only to find out later that she’s gone missing. He starts investigating linked disappearances, which takes him on the subway in the middle of the night. He finds who’s kidnapping people all right, and the butcher has set his sights on Leon now.

Streaming on Amazon Prime

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Atticus Freeman, a Korean war vet, returns home to Chicago to find his father missing. He embarks on a road trip through 1950s Jim Crow America with his friend Letitia and his Uncle George to Ardham, Massachusetts, which ramps up the terror even before the Lovecraftian monsters show up. What he learns about his family lineage follows him all the way back to Chicago, where he must deal with both the racist bigotry of the 1950s and the supernatural monsters and mythology plaguing them all.

Streaming on HBO Max

The Girl With All the Gifts cover

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

Welcome to the future, where humanity has been savaged by a fungal infection that turns them into hungry, terrifyingly fast zombies. Hope is nearly futile, with one exception: A generation of children who are zombie hybrids. They hunger, but they retained their ability to think and learn. One such child stands out from the rest, and she just may be the hope they’re looking for to turn the tide for life on Earth.

Streaming on HBO Max

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