10 Horror Movie Novelizations You Might Not Have Known Existed!

It isn’t uncommon to see a film based on a preexisting novel. Filmmakers have been tapping into the dark world of fiction since the early days of celluloid. But what many don’t realize is that these days we’re gifted novels that are actually based on movies. Novelizations have become increasingly more popular over the last 50 years.

There are some awesome transfers out there, and while many are well known (the Halloween novelizations for example, or more recently efforts like 30 Days of Night and Pacific Rim), there’s a hefty bunch of novelizations that you may not have known existed. Well, it’s time to highlight a few of those works, check out 10 novels that are based on successful films!

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The Fog by Dennis Etchison (1980): You likely all know the film, as it was one of John Carpenter’s early shining moments (despite poor initial box office sales) and one of his more frightening tales. There’s something evil out on the water and it’s moving toward land, masked by a thick fog bank, revenge and terror lurks inside. Awesome flick, and a novelization worth checking out!

Alien by Alan Dean Foster (1979): Alan Dean Foster has crafted more novelizations than you can shake a stick at. The man has turned out wicked renditions of Terminator: Salvation, Starman, The Last Starfighter and The Chronicles of Riddick, to name just a few, and his Alien transfers (he crafted books for the first three Alien films) are solid work indeed. The perfect killing machine stalking dark corridors and bleeding acid, on page? We’re there!

Friday the 13th   by Simon Hawke (1987): After working up a novel for the sixth Friday the 13th flick, Hawke got retro and handled Friday the 13th Part I, II and III in quick succession. Jason Voorhees has a place in just about any entertainment medium, and most fans would likely agree, whether they knew these low key novels existed or not. Get ready for another fine way to bring Camp Crystal Lake home!

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The Brides of Dracula by Owen Dean (1960): If you’re a fan of this legendary bloodsucker, or vintage horror fare in general, this is one to track down. Recently re-released by BearManor Media, this novel is surprisingly easy (and inexpensive) to get ahold of. And believe me, it’s worth it, toting all the charm of Terence Fisher’s Hammer classic.

Black Christmas by Lee Hays (1976): Good luck tracking this one down, it’s long been out of print and awfully pricey as a result. All the same, if you can find it for a reasonable figure, I’d suggest making the purchase. Black Christmas is one of the most horrifying films ever shot, and the book opens the door for a closer look at the psychology of the story and its players. Get it if you can!!

The Wicker Man by Anthony Shaffer (1979): I’ll be completely honest, I had absolutely no idea that this story had ever worked its way into the confines of a novel. The movie terrifically twisted, ultra-creepy and totally sex-charged. How could the novel possibly let down?

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Poltergeist by James Kahn (1982): This is easily one of the most terrifying haunted house stories ever told. Be it film or novel, it’s one paralyzing event after the other, and given Kahn’s pedigree (James put together a stellar adaptation of The Goonies) there’s no reason to anticipate anything less than another terrifying tale.

The Lost Boys by Craig Shaw Gardner (1987): Rebellious vamps on bikes, hot almost-gothic chicks; two laid back brothers, two vampire hunting brothers; a comic shop and a gorgeous dog make for unadulterated thrills. This is a classic vampire story that somehow made vampires seriously flashy but managed to keep them legitimately frightening. Tons of action anchor the film, and beautiful characters make for a solid structure. Terrific film, terrific novelization.

The Blob by David Bischoff (1988): Once again we’ve got another one that evaded my awareness. This one is interesting given the fact that The Blob was a remake of a classic film, but the novelization looks as though it leans focally on the second Blob picture. Does it really matter? Both of the pictures were downright awesome, and we’re not likely to lose one way or the other, as they’re not completely different movies anyway. I’m itching to get my hands on this one!

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Richie Tankersley Cusick (1992): Bet you didn’t see this one coming, did you? That’s right, before Buffy ruled the entertainment roost thanks to television offshoots and comic books, she jumped right into a novel. Few had any clue this one was floating around out there somewhere, but it is. If it’s anything like the original film, it’s likely to be a riotous affair that blends action, laughs and horror perfectly.

 

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About Matt Molgaard (977 Articles)
Writer for Dread Central, Best Horror Movies and Starburst Magazine. Owner, operator and contributor of Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies. Obviously, hooked on all things horror, for a great number of years now!

11 Comments on 10 Horror Movie Novelizations You Might Not Have Known Existed!

  1. An interesting collection here. Some of them I really did not realize had originally been movies first. It is always a good thing to learn something new….vitina

  2. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer novelization is really good. I haven’t read it in years, but your post makes me want to grab it off my bookshelf, dust it off, and read it all over again. I loved the movie because of Buffy’s wit and observations on all the supernatural crap that was going on around her. As far as the other novelizations go, I never knew most of them even existed. When I was younger I always read movie novelizations, but as I got older I read them less, because a lot of the movies I was watching didn’t get novelizations written about them. Other movies I enjoyed watching were already based on actual published novels, so there was no reason to have a separate novelization written. I read the novelization of X-Men 2, and the last half of the book was completely different from the movie; in some ways the novelization was better, because it went further with the characters than the movie did, but in other ways it was somewhat inferior due to all the changes the author made. Either way, the book is still worth reading if you’re an X-Men fan like myself.

    • i didn’t know they’d done novelizations of the X-Men flicks. I grew up on X-Men… I want to read those!

      • Hey Matt, I found the three X-Men novelizations just now. The first one was written by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith, and the other two were written by Chris Claremont. I don’t know if they’re available from Amazon or B&N, but I got the titles/authors from doing a quick Google search. After looking at the book covers, I’d like to read them again.

  3. I have ALWAYS loved the idea of novelizations. Back when I was younger I was a sucker for these sorts of books.

    Secret confession: I have ALWAYS wanted to write one of these. As a matter of fact I have a Dr. Phibes sequel half-scribbled in a binder somewhere in my backfiles. I wrote it when I was about sixteen or seventeen years old – which means it most likely sucked.

    Still, I also have a complete feature script for a FRIDAY THE XIIIth movie that DIRECTLY followed that JASON IN MANHATTAN fiasco. It was called JASON IN LOVE – and believe it or not, it actually lives up to the title!

    • hahaha – I’d LOVE to read Jason in Love!

      • Well, you never know – but it’ll probably be a while before I ever get around to trying to publish it in indie format. It might fly as fan fiction but I”m a little worried about the copyright laws.

        Worse yet – I’d have to type the whole thing up because the only copy I can access is a hard copy. The original file is in old-style disc format – saved about three or four computers ago.

  4. Reblogged this on YOURS IN STORYTELLING… and commented:

    I have ALWAYS loved the idea of novelizations. Back when I was younger I was a sucker for these sorts of books.

    Secret confession: I have ALWAYS wanted to write one of these. As a matter of fact I have a Dr. Phibes sequel half-scribbled in a binder somewhere in my back files. I wrote it when I was about sixteen or seventeen years old – which means it most likely sucked.

    Still, I also have a complete feature script for a FRIDAY THE XIIIth movie that DIRECTLY followed that JASON IN MANHATTAN fiasco. It was called JASON IN LOVE – and believe it or not, it actually lives up to the title!
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  5. Being a lifelong fan of horror films & genre fiction, as well as a voracious reader, it should come as no surprise that I’ve accumulated a fairly robust collection of horror film tie ins & novelizations. But, in doing so, I’d never really considered it it’s own separate thing.
    Those that I had acquired were simply added into the rest of my book collection & where applicable, stored beside the other books by the same author.
    It actually wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I was browsing through the shelves of a local second hand bookshop’s horror section that I realized just how much I loved the plethora of tie ins & novelizations. And how, even some of the most obscure low budget forgettable thrillers like THE BROTHERHOOD OF SATAN & DRACULA’S DOG (!) had novelizations. It was amazing.
    So, I grabbed every single one that I could find there that I didn’t already own & bought them. Then I went home & gathered up all the ones that I did from their previous spots & cleared a long shelf to be their new home. And that long shelf has since expanded to four & my tie ins & novelizations collection has become one of those that I’m most passionate about.
    Unfortunately, it’s now getting to the point where most of those that I don’t own are in the pricier range. Such as the BLACK CHRISTMAS novelization that you mention in this piece. It may just be my most coveted book of this sort because Bob Clark’s classic chiller is one of my all time favorite films. In fact, it in a tie with Clark’s other classic A CHRISTMAS STORY as my all time favorite holiday film.
    Back to the novelization though, it is, indeed, a VERY rare one which commands high collector’s prices the few times that a copy can be found for sale online.
    So, my budget dictates that I continue to work at purchasing the more reasonably priced titles that I need & put off acquiring my “grail” until somewhere down the line when I can better afford it.

    Well, thanks much for the article on some of my favorite kinds of books in the world & by all means, explore the subject more in the future.

    Peace – Jim

  6. The White Rabbit // October 6, 2013 at 8:30 am // Reply

    Thank you for a lists that lives up to “Novelizations” and not including “Tie-Ins” or book titles that happen to have the same title as a movie… Which might make a good future post. [ ie Robert Bloch's Psycho II had no ties to Universal's Psycho II (though both are sequels to Psycho) , Without Warning book has no ties the movie of the same title and so on.]

    Heck, even an entry where movies significantly differ from their source novel [Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, Logan's Run, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, etc.] might be fun.

    Note: The “Alien” novelization was around for YEARS (decades?), with multiple printings, being displayed side-by-side with ADF’s novelizations of “Aliens”, “Alien3″ and “The Thing” (which was based on a previous work from the 1930s… Which leads to another posting: Novelizations of Screenplays based on Novels (there’s more than you think! Again, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Westside Story (well, play), Planet of the Apes/Monkey Planet, etc.)

    Thanks for the post.

    • The White Rabbit // October 6, 2013 at 8:37 am // Reply

      I’M SORRY! I didn’t realize this site was dedicated specifically to horror! Ignore CCBB, Roger Rabbit, Westside Story… Though ballet-dancing street gangs are somewhat horrific and CCBB theme song will haunt your dreams for the next week. “Oh you, pretty Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, we love you…” Try getting THAT out of your head now!

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