Halloween Reading 2017

Halloween Reading 2017

Every year for Halloween I have adopted a tradition of reading three scary stories to celebrate the holiday. I chose stories that have spawned movies to see how they differ from their cinematic cousins. This year I read three classics in the genre.

The first is a classic science fiction book that spawned several movies including a black and white feature in 1958 and one shot in color twenty years later in 1978. There are two others filmed later that are more loosely based on the book. Set in a small town, an invasion of alien spores lands on earth and creates duplicates of sleeping people, taking all of their memories and characteristics. The originals disappear, but the clones distinguish themselves in their inability to show emotion. The main character discovers the plot and works to stop them before they take over the earth.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James is a classic horror novel that was written around the turn of the 19th century. It’s based in an English country mansion where a governess is charged with overseeing the welfare of two young children. The estate houses two ghosts that knew the two children when they were still alive, however, they seem to want to do harm to them now. The governess does everything she can to keep the children safe, as she also has the ability to see the ghosts too, but she’s not completely successful at the end.

I love the movie I Am Legend with Will Smith out of all the movies the book by Richard Matheson spawned. The book is somewhat the same and somewhat different. For instance, the book takes place in a small town whereas the movie takes place in run down New York City. In the movie, the cursed are some kind of super human mutants whereas in the book they are intelligent vampires. In the movie the characters are different, both are scientists but one is a doctor still trying to develop an antidote to save the human race whereas the second one is only interested in killing as many of the infected as possible. At the end of the book both have their fortresses attacked by the zombies, but whereas one blows himself with a grenade, the other is put on trial by the vampires.

The book itself is known for popularizing the worldwide pandemic myth that spawns zombie like vampires. Shows like the Walking Dead, movies like 28 Days Later, etc. all took their inspiration from this work. Of the three, this was my favorite.