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The Most Terrifying Horror Movies That Are Based on Books

Updated November 11, 2020 3.5k votes 251 voters 4.5k views27 items

List RulesVote up your favorite horror movies based on or inspired by literature.

Some of the best horror movies based on books are those where the director that can take the words off the page from the author and turn them into some of the most memorable and visually horrifying scenes in film history. Scary movies based on horror fiction have been around since the days of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi and have been making moviegoers scream in terror and delight ever since! The reason for the success of horror movies adapted from books is due to the reader’s yearning to see if the film matches up or surpasses their own imagination while they were reading the book. New movies based on horror novels have been huge hits at the box office as of late and thus we are likely to see even more of them terrorizing us in theaters in the coming years.

Share this list with your friends and rank the best horror movies based on books any way you want! Cue the jump scare! Don't see a horror movie adaptation that you love? Feel free to add it to the list and check back to find out how others rank your selections.

 

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  • The Exorcist1
    169
    19

    The Exorcist

    Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn

    Released1973

    Directed byWilliam Friedkin

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  • The Silence of the Lambs2
    173
    25

    The Silence of the Lambs

    Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins

    Released1991

    Directed byJonathan Demme

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  • Carrie3
    149
    22

    Carrie

    John Travolta, Sissy Spacek

    Released1976

    Directed byBrian De Palma

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  • Jaws4
    135
    19

    Jaws

    Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss

    Released1975

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • Psycho5
    130
    21

    Psycho

    Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh

    Released1960

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

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  • It6
    146
    35

    It

    Bill Skarsgård, Finn Wolfhard

    ReleasedSeptember 8th, 2017

    Directed byAndy Muschietti

    It is a 2017 horror film directed by Andy Muschietti and based on the Stephen King novel. In 1989, a group known as the Losers Club take on a monster known to them as Pennywise that is terrorizing the town of Derry. 

  • Pet Sematary7
    136
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    Pet Sematary

    Stephen King, Fred Gwynne

    Released1989

    Directed byMary Lambert

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  • The Birds8
    110
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    The Birds

    Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren

    Released1963

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

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  • Bram Stoker's Dracula9
    105
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    Bram Stoker's Dracula

    Monica Bellucci, Keanu Reeves

    Released1992

    Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola

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  • Christine10
    104
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    Christine

    Kelly Preston, Alexandra Paul

    Released1983

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • The Shining11
    138
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    The Shining

    Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall

    Released1980

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

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  • Red Dragon12
    98
    23

    Red Dragon

    Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes

    Released2002

    Directed byBrett Ratner

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  • Cujo13
    105
    28

    Cujo

    Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro

    Released1983

    Directed byLewis Teague

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  • The Mist14
    106
    29

    The Mist

    Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden

    Released2007

    Directed byFrank Darabont

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  • Hellraiser15
    91
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    Hellraiser

    Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson

    Released1987

    Directed byClive Barker

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  • 140816
    89
    27

    1408

    Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack

    Released2007

    Directed byMikael Håfström

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  • The Amityville Horror17
    96
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    The Amityville Horror

    James Brolin, Margot Kidder

    Released1979

    Directed byStuart Rosenberg

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  • Children of the Corn18
    88
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    Children of the Corn

    Linda Hamilton, Peter Horton

    Released1984

    Directed byFritz Kiersch

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  • Dracula19
    83
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    Dracula

    Bela Lugosi, Tod Browning

    Released1931

    Directed byTod Browning, Karl Freund

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  • Manhunter20
    71
    19

    Manhunter

    Brian Cox, Garcelle Beauvais

    Released1986

    Directed byMichael Mann

  • Frankenstein21
    78
    26

    Frankenstein

    Boris Karloff, John Boles

    Released1931

    Directed byJames Whale

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  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark22
    62
    17

    Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

    Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza

    Released2019

    Directed byAndré Øvredal

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  • Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles23

    Released1994

    Directed byNeil Jordan

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  • Let the Right One In24
    64
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    Let the Right One In

    Lina Leandersson, Tom Ljungman

    Released2008

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  • Thinner25
    71
    26

    Thinner

    Stephen King, Kari Wührer

    Released1996

    Directed byTom Holland