Enjoy these novels, graphic novels, and films of different sub-categories of the horror genre.
APOCALYPTIC/POST-APOCALYPTIC HORROR deals with the collapse of civilization and the end of the world as we know it. Think zombies, killer plagues and World War III. Try Josh Malerman’s Bird Box (also a movie), Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead graphic novel series (made into a TV and spin-off series) and the movie Train to Busan.
BODY HORROR showcases perversions and mutilations of the human body. Examples include Michael Faber’s Under the Skin (also a movie), Junji Ito’s graphic novels, especially Smashed, and the early filmography of Dave Cronenberg (The Brood). Gwendolyn Kiste’s The Rust Maidens, winner of a 2018 Stoker Award for Best New Novel, is a great read.
COSMIC HORROR highlights the horrors of the cosmos and the insignificance of humankind. Examples include Victor LaValle’s short novel The Ballad of Black Tom, a retelling of a Lovecraft short story, John Langan’s novel The Fisherman, and the John Carpenter movie The Thing. The first season of the TV series Lovecraft Country is also well-worth a watch.
EROTIC HORROR deals with sexuality and horror. Not to be confused with MONSTER PORN, which is about having sex with Bigfoot. The novels of Anne Rice (try Interview with the Vampire and Lasher) are a good starting point, as well as the True Blood TV series, based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels of Charlaine Harris.
EXTREME HORROR, also known as splatterpunk and hardcore horror, is graphic, visceral and disturbing. Examples of extreme horror include Brett Easton Ellis’ novel American Psycho and Ania Ahlborn’s novel Brother. Movies include the Human Centipede (which also counts as body horror) and Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchises.
FOLK HORROR is horror set in the country/rural areas. Examples include Mike Mignola’s graphic novel Hellboy: The Crooked Man and Others, Gemma Files’ novel Experimental Film and Adam Nevill’s novel The Ritual (also a movie). There are a number of great folk horror movies out there, the latest being Midsommar.
LITERARY HORROR contains elements of both horror and literary fiction. Try Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House (made into a Netflix series that has nothing to do with the book), Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, and Kea Wilson’s We Eat Our Own, the best alternate-history novel about the making of Italian cannibal-sleaze 80’s movie Cannibal Holocaust (note: I do not recommend this movie) you will ever read.
OCCULT HORROR, also known as supernatural horror, deals with ghosts, monstrous beings, and Satan. Try Grady Hendrix’s novel My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Alma Katsu’s novel The Hunger, and Stephen Graham Jones’ novel The Only Good Indian. For movies try any movie in the Conjuring franchise (The Conjuring 2).
PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR relies on atmosphere, emotional/psychological states and unreliable narrators to disturb and unsettle the reader. Try Kathe Koja’s novel The Cipher, Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts, Carmen Maria Machado’s short story collection Her Body and Other Parties, and the movie Get Out.
BCCLS Adult Services Committee 2020-2021
George Galuschak, Montvale Public Library