With Penny Dreadful sadly retired recently and still a few months to go before we get to see who Negan actually killed in The Walking Dead, there’s a gap in my television programming that I’m not all that happy with. Granted, The Strain returns soon and I’m beyond excited for that, but there’s no such thing as too much horror.
Horror television series are nothing new and it’s been great to see so many receive positive reviews and gain large audiences over the years. They don’t appear to be stopping anytime soon, either, as we’ve got Neil Gaiman’s fantasy/thriller American Gods coming soon to a flat-screen near you and AMC recently picked up Dan Simmons’ horror novel adaptation The Terror, which I’ve already got insanely high hopes for. Wayward Pines has done well on FOX and I was absolutely loving NBC’s Dracula – until it was cancelled after one season due to a number of behind-the-scenes issues.
I’ve always favored reading over television, however, so as of late, I’ve been pondering which of my favorite stories or novels would make excellent television series. By golly, wouldn’t you know I actually made a list?! Here are five horror novels that I believe would make for fantastic television.
The Sentinel, by Jeffrey Konvitz
As a huge fan of all things horror, I like to think of myself as fairly well-read in the genre. Considering the mountains of pages I’ve read over the years, there aren’t many novels that have truly stuck with me for quite some time upon finishing it. The Sentinel sticks in my mind like peanut butter on the roof of my mouth. Think Rosemary’s Baby meets Suspiria, in a way. The story of a young and beautiful model moving into a haunted brownstone in New York City is as unnerving as you’d imagine. A bit of a criminal mystery, horrifying apparitions and dizzying hallucinations all combine to prove too much for our lead character, Allison Parker. What would make this book a great television series is that a season can really dig deep into the souls that torment poor Allison and we can also see the criminal mystery fleshed out, which would make for some harrowing hour-long episodes. And the series finale has the potential to be mind-blowing for those who haven’t read the book!
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
The story of a boy raised in a graveyard by the supernatural residents amongst the tombstones after his parents are killed is one of Gaiman’s most celebrated works. The book follows the boy, usually referred to as Bod, through the years while he grows up in a cemetery he has learned to call home. There have been rumors of a film adaptation for years now, but to no avail. Thus, I think it’s high time we bring this story to the small screen. The special effects on the show would force a budget that would probably regulate it to a cable premium channel but the story would keep audiences coming back for more. Plenty of chills in this one for terror fans and I can only imagine how fantastic an ensemble cast would be assembled for this adaptation.
At the Mountains of Madness, by H.P. Lovecraft
It’s been recently announced that this story is going to get an animated web-series, which is extremely exciting for fans of Lovecraft and horror/sci-fi tales in general. While I’ll certainly be watching the upcoming series, I can’t help but feel that a live-action series would suit the story so much better. The CGI would be astronomical in this series, no doubt, but there’s a fantastic story here and I would love to see a channel like Showtime invest in this project. A show with this sort of price tag per episode may be the ultimate hang-up here, but let’s not pretend The Walking Dead, Penny Dreadful and Fear The Walking Dead are or were made on shoestring budgets. The story of a horrifying Antarctic expedition and what is found by a group of explorers has been a staple of the horror community for ages now. Ancient astronauts, ahoy!
Dracula The Undead, by Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt
The officially endorsed sequel to Dracula by the Stoker Estate, this novel takes place twenty-five years after the events of the classic Bram Stoker novel. We learn the fates of Jonathan Harker, Mina Harker, their son Quincey, as well as Quincey Morris, amongst others. Oh yeah, and Dracula, too. The novel puts a twist on several historical events, including the Jack The Ripper case and the RMS Titanic. As a sucker for alternative history horror, I’m a huge fan of this book. With Penny Dreadful still so fresh in the minds of audiences, this could be a good or bad thing for the potential adaptation of this novel. While a large fan base would probably flock to the television to see this series, at least at first, perhaps the big shots at certain channels are looking to distance themselves from the Gothic time period for a while.
The Vanishing, by Bentley Little
All right, folks. There may be several readers who have never checked this book out, as Bentley Little is one of the last remaining technological hermits. He doesn’t do social media and he does the absolute minimum amount of self-promoting of his books. That doesn’t take away from the fantastic career the man has had, though – in fact, it’s a testament to Little’s work. This book, in particular, chills to the bone and is everything an audience should want in a television series. In fact, of all the books on this list, I believe this one would translate best to the TV format. Children are being gruesomely murdered across the nation and the world is being turned upside down as the horrors get darker and bloodier. A reporter and social worker join forces to find out what exactly is going on and the twist in all of this just might shut Twitter down on the night a series finale premiered. The book is pure grit and horror. This would definitely be a show for mature audiences only and would fit in perfectly over on, say, FX which has collected quite the cluster of phenomenal adult series over the years.
So what do you think? Is there a book or short story you’re dying to see turned into a television series? Let’s chat in the comments below.