Film and TV

Five cult classic horror movies inspired by books -- and available now!

The entertainment industry, with its long-established allergy to new ideas, often mines the bestseller list for source material. Studios are more likely to greenlight a scary story after it has been officially vetted by the reading public. They're also less likely to interfere with a proven earner, which is why the most interesting and distinctive films are usually literary adaptations. In horror cinema, however, the filmmaker's vision of a story so often becomes definitive in the minds of viewers that it overshadows the books that inspired that vision in the first place (unless of course, those books were written by Stephen King).

With that in mind, the Westword Book Club has compiled a list of five cult classic horror movies that were inspired by novels and short stories, deliberately avoiding canonical works like Dracula and Frankenstein as well as blockbusters like The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby in favor of slightly obscure titles that deserve more eyeballs. Then we Lars von Trier'ed ourselves into a corner by only selecting movies that are available to stream instantly, so readers can easily check out these great films before their Halloween spirit is buried beneath the snows of November. Read on, and enjoy your nightmares.

See also: Five best sci-fi/horror films to help a non-horror geek survive October

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Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham