For most horror fans, the official start of Halloween season begins in September. While this year’s festivities might be slightly different than usual, there’s no reason to postpone the spookiness. Since the pandemic restricts our ability to gather in groups, many will look for new ways to celebrate the season. One socially-distant activity that remains a staple is viewing movies at home. As the weather changes and we break out the spooky décor, it’s likely many of us will re-watch our favorite slasher films. While it’s always fun to revisit our favorites, it can be equally exciting to discover something new.
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Running out of films to scratch that slasher itch? Reading is another activity that doesn’t require a crowd, so if you’re looking for a thrilling story reminiscent of your favorite film, check out this list of books that read like one.
If you’re a fan of films such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre or House of 1,000 Corpses…
Take a look at Kin by Kealan Patrick Burke. There are some scenes in this story that you’ll never forget. This is one of the author’s most popular novels for a reason. It reads like a movie with a solid plot and excellent character development. If you like stories featuring messed up families wreaking havoc on a group of friends, just wait until you meet the Merrill clan.
Another of my favorites is House of Blood by Bryan Smith. A group of college-aged friends turn off the highway and that is their first mistake. You might think you’ve seen or heard this tale before, but think again. Smith has created a unique, extreme horror story with substance, yet enough sex and gore to satisfy a seasoned slasher fan.
Do you like teens in peril? Slasher horrors, such as Friday the 13th, Scream, or I Know What You Did Last Summer?
A group of teens on the run from a killer sounds familiar, as it’s a very common feature of slasher horror films. These are the books to check out if you’re a fan of 80’s/90’s horror like the titles listed above:
Consequences by John Quick is one of my favorites featuring a group of friends hunted down by a killer. It all starts when they gather to celebrate their graduation in a poorly selected location. This leads to an accident that is only the beginning of their story. In my review of this book, I noted it reads like a slasher film with depth. Excellent pacing, dialogue, and another important aspect I’ll state again—character development. I couldn’t put it down, and was especially frightened by the fact that the villain is human, yet just as sinister as many of the supernatural antagonists I’ve encountered in both books and film.
Kill Hill Carnage by Tim Meyer is my most recent read within the slasher sub-genre, and it did not disappoint. This story follows a group of friends who have the clever idea to spend the weekend at an abandoned camp where a massacre occurred thirty years prior. You might be thinking you’ve heard this story before too, but Meyer has created a unique tale with witty dialogue and shorter chapters that’ll keep you turning the pages. This one is more of a “creature feature” slasher, with a flowing story that flips back and forth between modern day and the early 90s.
Another recent read that drips with nostalgia is Cirque Berserk by Jessica Guess. This is a novella featuring a group of high school seniors on a night out to celebrate their graduation. Things take a turn for the worse when they venture to an abandoned amusement park in an effort to extend their celebrations late into the night. Memorable kills, references to pop culture, and solid character development make for an entertaining read that I struggled to put down once I started.
If you’re a fan of A Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween, you might enjoy:
Where Stars Won’t Shine by Patrick Lacey. This author is a fan of Freddy Krueger, and I think that it shows within this story. You’ll likely pick up Elm Street vibes from this one, but it’s by no means a replica. It’s a unique slasher horror story that features both supernatural and human evils. This story follows an escaped murderer who returns to his hometown. The girlfriend of one of his victims is drawn there by supernatural forces, and an adventure in horrific mayhem ensues. It’s a great selection for fans of both horror and crime stories. Everything I’ve read from Lacey so far has a cinematic quality and his love of horror films shines through in his writing.