I’m back, continuing with my ✨ spooky ✨ blog posts for October! So far, I reviewed Addie LaRue — a book about making a deal with the devil — and gave you 13 Spooky Books to Read Before Halloween. Today, I’m going to give a few recommendations based on four of my favourite classic horror films — also one wildcard pick I watched recently.
1. If you like I Know What You Did Last Summer, read Ten by Gretchen McNeil.
It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie are looking forward to two days of boys, booze, and fun-filled luxury. But what starts out as fun turns twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine. And things only get worse from there.
With a storm raging outside, the teens are cut off from the outside world . . . so when a mysterious killer begins picking them off one by one, there’s no escape. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on one another, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
I’m vaguely aware I Know What You Did Last Summer was based on a book, but I’ve heard it’s nothing like the film, so I’m suggesting Ten. If you liked the ensemble cast and how the film played on some teenage stereotypes, try Ten!
2. If you like Scream, read The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones.
Life in a slasher film is easy. You just have to know when to die.
Aerial View: A suburban town in Texas. Everyone’s got an automatic garage door opener. All the kids jump off a perilous cliff into a shallow river as a rite of passage. The sheriff is a local celebrity. You know this town. You’re from this town.
Zoom In: Homecoming princess, Lindsay. She’s just barely escaped death at the hands of a brutal, sadistic murderer in a Michael Jackson mask. Up on the cliff, she was rescued by a horse and bravely defeated the killer, alone, bra-less. Her story is already a legend. She’s this town’s heroic final girl, their virgin angel.
Monster Vision: Halloween masks floating down that same river the kids jump into. But just as one slaughter is not enough for Billie Jean, our masked killer, one victory is not enough for Lindsay. Her high school is full of final girls, and she’s not the only one who knows the rules of the game.
When Lindsay chooses a host of virgins, misfits, and former final girls to replace the slaughtered members of her original homecoming court, it’s not just a fight for survival-it’s a fight to become The Last Final Girl.
Technically, I don’t think this is under YA. However, I’m putting it on the list anyway because I think it’s perfectly readable for young adults. This is for those people who liked the pop culture and slasher aspects of Scream. Also, who doesn’t love a good spin on the ‘final girl’ trope?
3. If you like Van Helsing, read Shutter by Courtney Alameda.
Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.
When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain.
As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.
Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.
This is a book for people who enjoy complex — but strong — world building and lots of thrill-infused action. I especially liked how this drew on the character of Van Helsing and put a spin on the family name, creating this powerful, female-driven novel
4. If you like The Blair Witch Project, read Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall.
Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her–and who won’t make it out of the woods?
It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her…or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca–before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends–and their cameras–following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.
This is perfect if you liked the eerie atmosphere and faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project. The style can take a little while to get used to, but it’s such an atmospheric read with a diverse cast.
5. If you like The Babysitter, read The Babysitters Coven by Kate M. Williams.
Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.
And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.
Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?
The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”
Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.
There’s a little role reversal in the sense the babysitters are the good guys, unlike in the film I compared it with, but it’s definitely a good option if you like The Babysitter’s elements of comedy mixed in with some scarier aspects. Although, it’s not that scary and any magic is anchored by the contemporary setting.
Let me know if you’ve been getting in the Halloween mood (and how!) in the comments. Shamefully, I have yet to watch any scary films, but I’m dying to watch Scream soon. On the flip side, I’m already Christmas shopping too!
read it and weep,