If you’re anything like me, you’re not much for romance whether it be books, movies, or shows. I do, however, like media that scares me, surprises me, or keeps me on the edge of my seat with a good mystery. Since Valentine's Day is just around the corner, to get in the spirit I compiled this list of romantic horror books and their movie/television counterparts for you to consider enjoying this month. Whether you’re a fan of shocking gore, haunted mansions, or thrilling scenarios, you’ll find interest in these books where characters would do anything for the ones they love.
Hellraiser (1987) / The Hellbound Heart (1986) – Clive Barker
Originally published in 1986 in an anthology titled “Nightvisions”, The Hellbound Heart is a novella centered around a woman willing to kill to bring back the man she loved who was taken to another dimension by other-worldly demons. This short story was the inspiration for the movie, Hellraiser, that brought the iconic villain Pinhead to life. Check out the novella as well as Clive Barker’s other works expanding on this popular short story.
The Shape of Water (2018) – Guillermo del Torro
In this award-winning movie, Guillermo del Torro crafts an intricate love story between a mute woman working in a secret government facility at the height of the Cold War and an otherworldly humanoid who is captive to her employers. Filled with romantic tension and the political commentary prevalent in Guillermo’s stories, this gothic work feels like an adult fairy tale, whimsical and hopeful. Whether you want to read or watch, you can enjoy del Torro’s works from our collection.
Crimson Peak (2015) / The Death of Jane Lawrence (2021) – Caitlin Starling
While not a pure adaptation, this is a rare case in which a book was inspired by a movie. Due to this, both stories share a theme of gothic hauntings in a mansion and a newlywed woman unsure of the man she’s married. Fans of thrillers and ghosts should check these out!
Gerald’s Game (2017) / Gerald’s Game (1992)– Stephen King
This Stephen King book-turned-movie revolves around an older married couple who try their hand at erotic ventures that have deadly consequences. To make matters worse, our heroine might not be alone after her husband passes. While the movie is on Netflix, you can read the book from our catalog here!
The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020) - Mike Flannigan/ The Turn of the Screw (1898) - Henry James
This original Netflix series directed by Mike Flannigan is a haunting romance about family, grief, and inheritance. Mostly adapted from Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, this series also takes bits and pieces from his other works, including The Romance of Certain Old Clothes, The Beast in the Jungle, and The Jolly Corner. All of which can be found in our catalog! So, if you like dramatic, emotional slow burns with a paranormal mystery, try out these books or series.
The Turn of the Screw and Other Ghost Stories
Warm Bodies (2013) / Warm Bodies (2011) – Isaac Marion
If you’re a fan of zombie movies, you may remember this forgotten feature from 2013, Warm Bodies. A story of a sentient zombified man who falls in love with a live woman. This horror/comedy was a fun, unique take on the undead when it premiered, but it might surprise you to learn that it was a book first! Crossing post-apocalypse with forbidden romance, this light-hearted story could be the perfect way to lift your spirits, and HCPL has you covered with both the book and movie adaptation.