Two Horror Novels That Would Make Great Movies

I’m spending more time watching television and movies, as I’m sure others have because of the pandemic. I’m about to watch “The Little Stranger,” the 2018 movie based on Sarah Waters’s 2009 gothic novel about a haunted mansion set in 1940s post-war Britain.

I liked the novel when I read it some years ago. If my memory serves me right, it’s slow, measured and atmospheric, not exactly something that’s easy to translate into film. The book was as much about Britain’s class system as it was a ghost story.

My to-watch list also includes “The Ghost Bride,” a Netflix series based on Yangsze Choo’s 2013 book of the same name. I loved the book, even more so because it’s set in Malaya, the country in which my parents and grandparents were born.

Photo: Netflix's "The Ghost Bride" webpage

Given that many of my favorite horror novels have been made into movies, I’d like to suggest two more: “Soon,” by Lois Murphy, and “The Fifth House of the Heart,” by Ben Tripp. Both books made a big impression. They were so crisp and vivid in their descriptions that it was like watching a movie. 

“Soon,” published in 2019, takes place in a small, isolated town in Australia during the late 1990s. An eerie mist descends during the winter solstice, and reappears nightly after that. Any person or animal caught out after dark when the mist comes either disappears, or is found dead and horribly mutilated. Even worse, the dead seem to return in the mist.

Photo: stokpic at
The novel centers around the few residents—and their loyal dogs—who are stuck there because they can’t or won’t leave, or have nowhere else to go. I won’t venture any further for fear of spoilers. Suffice it to say there is a heart-pounding climax.

“The Fifth House of the Heart,” published in 2015, is a stylish vampire story that visits so many exotic locations it could be a James Bond movie. The protagonist is an antiques dealer with the outlandish name of Asmodeus Saxon-Tang. “Sax,” as his friends call him, has a unique inventory because he kills vampires and takes over their property. Unfortunately, he encounters the wrong vampire …

The book has colorful and memorable characters, especially Sax. He is a contradiction in terms: sly, yet sweet; a self-confessed coward yet unbelievably brave. There also is fast-paced action, and a white-knuckle standoff in a French farmhouse.

Read the novels if you can. 


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