Classic Horror Films and the Literature That Inspired Them

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About the Book

Classic horror films such as Dracula, Frankenstein and The Picture of Dorian Gray are based on famous novels. Less well known—even to avid horror fans—are the many other memorable films based on literary works. Beginning in the silent era and continuing to the present, numerous horror films found their inspiration in novels, novellas, short stories and poems, though many of these written works are long forgotten.
This book examines 43 works of literature—from the famous to the obscure—that provided the basis for 62 horror films. Both the written works and the films are analyzed critically, with an emphasis on the symbiosis between the two. Background on the authors and their writings is provided.

About the Author(s)

Ron Backer is an attorney who has previously written for law reviews and other legal publications. An avid fan of mystery and classic horror films, he lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Ron Backer
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 372
Bibliographic Info: 55 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9896-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2021-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Introduction 1

1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 3

2. “The ­Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe 27

3. “The Queen of Spades” by Alexander Pushkin 36

4. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson 43

5. Dracula and “Dracula’s Guest” by Bram Stoker 62

6. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux 89

7. The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham 103

8. “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe 109

9. “Spurs” by Tod Robbins 120

10. The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells 126

11. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells 137

12. “The Black Cat,” “Morella” and “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” by Edgar Allan Poe 145

13. Black Moon by Clements Ripley 156

14. “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe 162

15. The Hands of Orlac by Maurice Renard 169

16. Burn Witch Burn! by Abraham Merritt 176

17. “The Devil and Daniel Webster” by Stephen Vincent Benét 186

18. The Edge of Running Water by William Sloane 192

19. The Undying Monster by Jessie Douglas Kerruish 200

20. Uneasy Freehold by Dorothy Macardle 207

21. “The Body Snatcher” by Robert Louis Stevenson 214

22. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 221

23. “Casting the Runes” by M.R. James 228

24. Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu 234

25. The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore 244

26. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James 251

27. Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber 257

28. “The Birds” by Daphne du Maurier 263

29. “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” by H.P. Lovecraft 271

30. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson 278

31. “The Family of the Vourdalak” by Aleksei Tolstoy 287

32. “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe 296

33. “The Viy” by Nikolai Gogol 302

34. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin 308

35. The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley 314

36. “Don’t Look Now” by Daphne du Maurier 321

37. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty 326

38. Ritual by David Pinner 333

39. Carrie by Stephen King 340

40. The Shining by Stephen King 348

Bibliography 355

Index 357


Book Reviews & Awards

Book of the Year—Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award
“The author merits praise for producing a work that enhances knowledge of and pleasure for fans of the horror genres”—Standard Examiner.