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Top 20 Horror Books Made into Movies: Best Horror Screen Adaptations

While it's easy to find horror book that didn't succeed on the Big Screen, it's not so easy to find good movies that met the expectations of the book's readers. There are exceptions, and we've found some good movies based on book, some that even surpassed their novels.

Here are the Top 20 Books to Film Adaptations: 

1 - Psycho by Robert Bloch, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. This tops our list of best book to film transformations. The genius Hitchcock did not stick close to the book and did a brilliant job making it pop on the screen. 

1/tie The Thing, directed by John Carpenter and based on John W. Campbell's novella "Who Goes There?". This also appears on our Sci-Fi movie list (see link below) as it's a true SF/Horror masterpiece.

2 - The Omen by David Seltzer. This spawned a great movie with 2 sequels. Unforgettable.

3 - Misery by Stephen King
. Thanks to Kathy Bates, the film version is just as good as the book.

4 - The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. The '73 film starred Linda Blair

5 - Jaws by Peter Benchley. The Spielberg movie far outshone the novel. This is a rare case of a B novel becoming an A+ movie in the hands of a good team of actors and directors.

6 - Last Man on Earth (1964) based on Richard Matheson's book, "I am Legend" about zombie/vampire creatures at the end of the world.  The Will Smith version decades later was also acceptably good. Omega Man (1971) was another version of this that did not disappoint. 

7 - Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. The 1931 Universal Film was spellbinding.

8 - Christine directed by John Carpenter, based on the novel by Stephen King. King's movies are famous for being subpar and not close to the book. However, a few do succeed. Christine, in the hands of Carpenter, did us all proud. 

9Hellraiser was based on Clive Barker's novella, "The Hellbound Heart," and Barker himself directed it on the big screen.

10 - Silence of the Lambs. The movie was miles above the Thomas Harris novel. They took a rough gem and polished it into a diamond.

11 - Ring by Kozi Suzuki was the basis for several movies called "The Ring." The American version hit theaters in 2002. 

12 - American Psycho was based on the book by Bret Easton Ellis.

13 - Rosemary's Baby directed by Roman Polanski was based on a book by Ira Levin about a devilish child born in Manhattan.

14 - Invasion of the Body Snatchers (196 and 197) both versions of the movie were good, based on a book by Jack Finney called "The Body Snatchers."

15 - The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson 

Also Check out the Top 20:

16 - World War Z by Max Brooks

17 - The Birds by Daphne DuMaurier. Another Hitchcock work of art.

18 - Dracula by Bram Stoker. The 1979 John Badham version starring Frank Langella was a good adaptation of the book.

19 -  I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan was published in 1973. Many years later, in the late 90s, it became a hit movie.

20 - Ghost Story by Peter Straub. The 1981 movie starred John Houseman and Melvyn Douglas. It actually did a little better job than the book, which was a bit too long.

Honorable Mention: The Haunting of Hill House. While the 1963 and 1999 movies called "The Haunting" weren't executed quite as well as Shirley Jackson's famous book, both did provide some chills. A good job overall.

There you have it, the best horror movies that lived up to the books they were based on. Thrillers from page to screen.

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