Here at reelhorrorshow, we were fortunate to be contacted by author Brian Fatah Steel in regards to him writing an article for the site based on horror book recommendations for horror movie fans. It's a truly fantastic article that he's even broke down into various sub-genres with multiple reviews, but he explains it all below, so I'll leave it for his words.
Just before I let Brian get into his article though, I'd like to let you know a little bit about him:
Brian Fatah Steele has been writing various types of dark fiction for over fifteen years, from horror to urban fantasy and science fiction. Steele originally went to school for fine arts but finds himself far more fulfilled now by storytelling. His work has appeared in such anthologies as 4POCALYPSE, BLOOD TYPE, CTHULHU LIES DREAMING, DEATH’S REALM, THE IDOLATERS OF CTHULHU, and the Bram Stoker Award-nominated DARK VISIONS, VOL.1. His own titles include CELESTIAL SEEPAGE (Alien Agenda Publishing), BLEED AWAY THE SKY (Bloodshot Books) and THERE IS DARKNESS IN EVERY ROOM (Sinister Grin Press), along with the self-published YOUR ARMS AROUND ENTROPY, BRUTAL STARLIGHT, FURTHER THAN FATE, and IN BLEED COUNTRY.
You can find his UK amazon page here:
and his US page here:
You can also find him on twitter at:
There are further links at the end of the article too.
Without any further delay, here's Brian's list.
BOOKS FOR HORROR MOVIE FANS
By Brian Fatah Steele
I’ve noticed that too many horror movie fans don’t read horror fiction. It’s disappointing, and I’ve always wondered why. Horror is one of those genres that can easily translate to either page or screen. I’ve often thought if it was perhaps because movie fans weren’t sure what titles they should start with. Sure, they know Stephen King, but who else is there?
Below are seventeen different horror subgenres with some movies to help you better identify them. Under each subgenre, I’ve suggested two novels for you to try out, along with a brief review. Hopefully, if it’s a type of horror you dig, you might consider checking out those titles. With the exception of a handful of selections, most of these novels have come out in the last decade. I’ve personally read, and will vouch, for all of them.
So, in alphabetical order, let’s see the list!
ACTION (Hellboy, Underworld, Blade)
Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth – Since the end of the U.S. Civil War, there has been one secret agent sworn to protect the Presidential Office and America. Now over 200 years old, this vampire has battled all number of things out of mythology and pop culture, making the series incredibly entertaining. Trying to pick up all the hidden little reference is fun in itself. Smart and action-packed, a great supernatural thriller.
Red Sky Blues by Matthew Davis – A loser mage and his archangel buddy battle entropic gods, zombie pigs, sewer-dwelling entities, and enraged housekeepers. It’s adventurous cosmic horror full of its own lore and unique characters, a tale both brutal and hysterical. Matthew Davis has created a wonderfully insane Mythos all his own. It’s honestly one of my favorite books from the past five years.
ADVENTURE (Bone Tomahawk, Cloverfield, Troll Hunter)
Ararat by Christopher Golden – When the fabled Ark is found in a mountain, it contains not only the remains of animals and humans, but something unbelievably evil as well. The team must face this horrifying discovery, as well as themselves and the weather if they wish to survive. A gripping novel filled with action and terror weaved with a tight, believable narrative of supernatural horror, albeit one with strong biblical ties.
Ghostland by Duncan Ralston – Two teenage friends attend the grand opening of a controversial new theme park claiming to host real hauntings. They’re there to deal with their own personal issues, but all that becomes a moot point when the technology controlling the ghosts fail and the dead go on a rampage. Brilliant in both concept and execution, the story merges horror with a type of modern sci-fi to make it unique.
On a side note, you can find our review of Ghostland here - https://www.reelhorrorshow.co.uk/post/ghostland-by-duncan-ralston-book-review
Along with an interview with author Duncan Ralston here - https://www.reelhorrorshow.co.uk/post/reelhorrorshow-interview-with-duncan-ralston
BIZARRO (Rubber, The Human Centipede, Tokyo Gore Police)
Gargoyle Girls of Spider Island by Cameron Pierce – Four college kids think they’re going to live out a sex fantasy on a tropical island, only for it all to turn violent, depraved, and utterly absurd. Not as completely nonsensical of some of Pierce’s other books, this still reads like someone made a Roger Corman flick after eating way too many Mushrooms. That’s also why it’s amazing.
Family Tradition by Edward Lee & John Pelan – You take some inbred rednecks, add some gourmet cooking, throw in a pinch of cosmic horror, and you have a one of the most comically grotesque books written. This book is not for those with delicate sensibilities, nor may it really be for anyone. Even in all it’s splatterpunk glory, it’s really an homage to the great celebrity chefs of the world.
COSMIC (In the Mouth of Madness, Event Horizon, The Void)
The Croning by Laird Barron – The overarching story concerns Don Miller and his family, chapters bouncing around throughout his life to show how he’s been a pawn of Old Leech his entire existence. Readers of Barron with recognize the Old Leech Mythos from his numerous short stories, and that’s exactly how this novel is presented – as a series of connected short stories. Iconoclastic and nihilistic, there’s no one else like him.
Behind the Door by Mary SanGiovonni – Occult consultant Kathy Ryan has worked with the authorities many times before, but now she’s deep in the New Jersey woods to seal a door before things leak through into our universe. Cosmic Horror is rarely as intimate as we see here, wonderfully told in a gripping and heart-wrenching fashion. If you’re looking for a police procedural with a terrifying edge, you won’t be disappointed.
DISASTER (The Mist, 28 Days Later, I Am Legend)
Cthulhu Armageddon by C.T. Phipps – In the future, after the Old Ones have risen and the world as we know it now has ended, scattered groups of humans attempt to survive. A stunning Lovecraft homage set in an apocalyptic future. Phipps hits all the right notes in this action-packed adventure filled with references to the Cthulhu Mythos. Wonderfully familiar yet definitely told in his own voice, its an apocalyptic nightmare worth visiting.
Cockblock by C.V. Hunt – Two women discover men are losing their minds when they hear a radio broadcast, going violent and belligerent. Then it gets worse. Utterly vile and incredibly important, one of the most shocking, essential books I’ve ever read. Misogyny, homophobia, and zealotry, defeated with compassion, perseverance, and intelligence. This book is a sociopolitical horror masterpiece for these insane times.
EXTREME (Hostel, Saw, Martyrs)
Off Season by Jack Ketchum – Originally released in 1980, this is one of the Splatterpunk classics. A group of friends off in a cabin in Maine run afoul a family of cannibals, who proceed to terrorize, torture, murder, and devour. The novel remains one of the most graphic in the genre today. The violence is detailed and realistic, with a disturbing backstory, one further fleshed out the sequel Offspring.
Those Who Follow by Michelle Garza & Melissa Lason – An aging serial killer with inhuman powers, the ability to open a hole into his own pocket dimension. There he is god, there he can torment and butcher to his heart’s content. But others have this ability, and someone is dreaming about his victims. “The Sisters of Slaughter” never fail to deliver, and this absolutely horrific tale is wonderfully original.
FOLK (The Wicker Man, Midsommar, The Ritual)
The Fisherman by John Langan – Two widowers begin to hear legends in their time fishing together, stories of a creek and what used to be in the area. Who used to be at the reservoir. Stories are told within stories, layers opening up as more characters add to the tale. There is lore from the “Old Country,” as well as elements of cosmic horror peppered in. In the end, you have a bleak, melancholy exploration of grief.
Dark Hollow by Brian Keene – There’s some kind of creepy music coming out of the trees at night, and some of the women in town have started to disappear. A few people have started to whisper that the woods are haunted, but it’s not ghosts. No, it’s something far more real, more ancient. Keene has recreated a character from mythology, now more vicious and lewd, one who makes this novel quite innovative.
HAUNTINGS (The Conjuring, The Amityville Horror, Paranormal Activity)
A Fresh Start by Somer Canon – A young mother moves with her two children out to a rural home, only to find strange things begin to immediately occur. The old lady down the street doesn’t want to talk about the property, the murders all those years ago, but the past is restless. It’s a fantastic, character-driven haunted house tale. Terribly creepy yet definitely relatable, a quick read with ghosts, paranormal investigators, and witches.
The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen – An audiobook narrator and wife move back to his hometown after a tragedy and into an old farmhouse, but problems start as soon as he sets up his recording room. A classic style horror novel in all the best ways, with nods to familiar tropes without being cliché. Disturbing on both a mundane and supernatural level, everything about the story feels real.
HISTORICAL (The Witch, The Woman in Black, From Hell)
The Resurrectionists by Michael Patrick Hicks – Graves are being robbed from the black quarters in New York City after the American Revolution. Salem Hawley won his freedom in the war and doesn’t want to get involved, but knows something must be done, but this is far worse that rogue scientists. Compelling in its conception, and wonderfully grotesque in its execution, this is a cosmic horror novella both abstract and disgusting.
Abigale Hall by Lauren A. Forry – Two sisters are forced to flee London during WWII and find refuge at the mysterious Abigale Hall. Here their misery and terror intensifies, brought on by vicious staff and ghostly secrets, their doom imminent. A wonderfully gothic tale, with atmosphere filling every page, the characters are enveloped by dread from the start. Nothing too bloody, but you don’t need that with this type of story.
INVASION (The Strangers, You’re Next, The Purge)
Paradise, Maine by Jackson R. Thomas – A couple head out to a scenic cabin to rekindle their relationship, hoping to get away from it all for a few days. They have no idea there’s someone in the trees, someone the locals call The Watcher. This is sadistic, extreme horror, full of graphic torture and worse. Very reminiscent of Off Season above, this short novel has its own vibe and twists.
Three Incidents at Foster Manor by P.T. Phronk – A security expert is called out to a mansion in the middle of the night because of an emergency with a panic room. But with the storm comes a murder, a home invasion, a possibly a haunting. A tense novella from the beginning that’s full of twists and turns, there’s a little here for everyone. It all works together, leaving you still guessing.
MONSTERS (Feast, The Descent, Slither)
The Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea – A music festival has attracted crowds of people far too close to the Pine Barrens, the rumors home of the mysterious Jersey Devil. It’s been years since he was last spotted, but when he returns this time, he won’t be alone. A monster hunt filled with blood-soaked action and adventure, bodies literally dropping out of the air. Guns and gore, creatures and chaos, this story is an absolute blast.
They Feed by Jason Parent – Two people enter a park at sundown, one there for redemption, the other for revenge. Yet neither see things go as they plan, as the park begins to fill with insatiable, ravenous creatures. Darkly fun, unbelievably disgusting, with a dash of social commentary, it builds towards an ending you won’t see coming. Savage and gross, this book won’t fail to entertain.
NOIR (The Collector, Fallen, Identity)
Red Sky by Nate Southard – When a bank heist goes wrong, the robbers flee into the desert to escape. They hide in what they think is an abandoned factory, but the gang isn’t as alone as they believe. A gritty crime thriller that turns into survival horror filled with monsters, the adrenaline-fueled tale will keep you reading. The gore is top notch, and the dialogue as well-executed as the location.
Demon at the Window by John Quick – A private investigator gets hired by a group of teenagers to track down their stalker, someone who’s been watching all of them. Unfortunately it soon becomes apparent that something supernatural is hunting the kids. A truly entertaining work of horror noir, with grumpy cops, sassy assistants, and demonic serial killers. Quick gives the modern mystery novel a supernatural stabbing, filling it with esoteric lore along with great characters and a frantic pace.
OCCULT (Suspiria, Rosemary’s Baby, The Ninth Gate)
Corpsepaint by David Peak – The aging lead singer of a once famous black metal band agrees to record a new album with his new drummer. They set off to a reclusive commune, home of the cult band they’ll be working with. Once there, events are set in motion that will change the fabric of reality. A stunning, character-driven tale that keeps you turning pages. A slow burn of heavy metal and cosmic horror, wonderfully told. An untold tale of behind-the-scenes music industry and ancient, galactic monstrosities.
Octopus by Matt Shaw – A young woman takes an odd modeling gig an a mansion during a party, hoping to make some easy money. With the promise of more quick cash, she stays for an after party, only to find herself involved in some sort of Cthulhu Cult ritual. A unique spin on The Mythos, this is dark, insane, and sexy. Definitely not for the squeamish, it leans heavily into extreme horror.
SCIFI (The Thing, Alien, Pandorum)
The Hematophages by Stephen Kozeniewski – A corporation goes out on a salvage mission, looking to gain profits and promotions. Instead they find diseased pirates, a planet made of flesh, and alien parasites populating its blood oceans. A contemporary pulp masterpiece with a satirical spin, the gore is relentless and the commentary on our bureaucracy hitting perfect.
Video Night by Adam Cesare – It’s the 1980’s and two teenage boys are looking to snag some pizza, watch some horror movies, and maybe invite a couple girls over. Of course, this plan is going to go south real quick with that whole alien invasion. A love letter to the best horror movies of that era, you get the creature feature, body horror, alien menace, and zombie terror all wrapped up in one fantastic package.
SLASHERS (Halloween, Friday the 13th, Hatchet)
Succulent Prey by Wrath James White – 15 years ago, Joseph was the only survivor of a serial killer, but he didn’t escape unscathed. Now, he’s started to feel similar urges that his attacker did – to kill, to cannibalize. Can such madness be communicable? Unbelievably graphic and gut-wrenching, this tale remains one of the most infamous splatterpunk novels in the genre.
Siphon by A.A. Medina – A meek doctor’s descent into madness has strange origins and worse consequences. A taste of spilled blood in the lab forces visions and memories, propelling him on a violent journey of self-discovery. Psychological thrills mixed with subtle supernatural terror make this a remarkable novella, with its rich, descriptive prose, full of character development.
SLOW-BURN (Hereditary, Session 9, The Blair Witch Project)
Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste – In a suburb of 1980’s Cleveland, a group of teenage girls began to transform. No one was sure what was happening to them, not the doctors or the government, not even their friends who stood by, unaffected. Absolutely stunning “Rust-Belt Gothic,” with the era expertly set, the novel also has an unnerving quality thread throughout that builds to the end.
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay – Told from alternating timeline and POV’s, we learn about a 14 year old girl suffering from mental illness, her struggling parents who take her to a priest, and the reality TV show that film her exorcism. A story about the breakdown of an American family and those who exploited it. Satan is touted as the villain by the priest, but apathy, greed, and zealotry are all just as malignant a force.
SUPERNATURAL (Insidious, Hellraiser, Pan’s Labyrinth)
The Sorrow King by Andersen Prunty – Teenagers in a small Ohio town are killing themselves, some think from a type of suicide virus. While one young man is dealing with his own grief, a young woman is struggling to keep a greater darkness at bay. We are drawn into an arcane series of event that aren’t overly esoteric, with whispers of humanity’s modern existential crisis. Audacious yet hauntingly realistic.
Becoming by Glenn Rolfe – A small town in Maine is having problems. People are disappearing, some are dying. Or worse, they’re changing. An ancient evil has awoken in the lake, and those that are left have little hope. Reminiscent of classic horror stories from the 1980’s with a modern vibe, this tale employs a unique mythology. Multiple POV’s keep it engaging with characters of all dispositions.
I hope some of these might have sparked an interest, perhaps some you’ve never heard of. Horror Fiction is full of fascinating tales, concepts and characters that will pull you in and keep you entertained. There are a lot of authors and titles out there once you start looking, little corners of the genre that anyone can find a home in.
Come find your corner and grab a book.