People always say you should read the book before seeing the movie. That's because books tend to not only be the original, "authentic" source material, but also because they usually provide much more insight into a story's characters and situations. Limitless pages allow for extensive development you just don't get with 90 minutes of screen time.
Plus, some aspects of books just don't translate well to the visual medium. For instance, you aren't privy to character's thoughts and motivations while watching. And because much of the storytelling and detail rely on the reader's mind, conjured expectations can be tarnished when their visual representations are shown.
However, it's still good to see when a book has made its way to movie format. It's proof that someone at least has enough appreciation for a story that they find it worth sharing with others via cinema display. In fact, some books are brought out of obscurity by their silver screen counterparts—essentially reversing roles to the point where people become interested in the book because they saw the movie first.
While not all movie renditions are winners, here are a few examples from horror literature that best exemplify this reversal and may have increased book sales in the process.
Everyone knows the name Alfred Hitchcock. But not everyone knows the name Robert Bloch, the author responsible for the book behind Hitchcock's acclaimed and successful Psycho.
In his book, Bloch does a great job creating suspense and a general sense of unease with his perspective changes and build-up pacing. The 1960 movie capitalized on this, and upped the ante even further with iconic scenes that will forever be embedded in the minds of its audience.
If you've only seen the movie, read the book for even more shocks and deviations that are sure to surprise you.
Rosemary's Baby is considered one of the horror movie greats, having garnered both critical acclaim and financial success—two things that rarely go hand and hand with the genre. But many forget that this movie actually came out just a year after Ira Leven published his best-selling horror novel of the same name in 1967.
If the movie can still hold up to your horror standards today, just imagine what nightmares will come from reading the book.
Though the terrifying sea creature doesn't have a timeless name like Moby Dick, the shark from the novel Jaws is arguably just as famous because of his unforgettable on-screen presence.
Interestingly, the film's producers were so enthralled by Peter Benchley's 1974 novel, they bought the rights to the film before the book was even published. This publicity helped keep it on the bestseller list for 44 weeks.
No, you won't read the infamous "You're gonna need a bigger boat" line in the book—as that was ad-libbed by the actor Roy Scheider—but, you'll still get just as many scares.
A page turner of page turners, William Peter Blatty does a remarkable job at being brilliantly descriptive while also allowing the reader to conjure up his or her own satanic horrors of Christian mythos. Few horror authors even venture to give you the kind of granular character depth that Blatty does—with layer upon layer revealed as the story progresses. This creates pure intrigue, which forces the reader to keep going.
The movie is a little more overt, but the added elements of atmospheric music, pea-soup projectile vomit, and superb actor portrayals make the movie a stand out all its own. Either way, you'll want to leave the nightlight on.
Let Me In
A different approach to the traditional vampire tale, Let the Right One In is a more recent foreign horror novel, written in 2004 by Swedish author John Ajvide Linkqvist. The story features pretty heavy themes of alcoholism, murder, bullying, and absent parents, to name a few. Oh, did we mention vampires?
There's been a lot of hype since the 2008 movie rendition, and its American adaptation in 2010. But the book covers more ground and plunges further into the events and consequences that the main characters must face as their relationship blossoms.
What do you think? Did you know these were even books before you saw them? Which did you like better?
BIO: Adrian Rawlings is a TV and horror blogger. Look to him for the scoop on hit movies and TV shows, horror films, tech reviews, how-to guides, and more.