5 Popular Horror Movies Based on Classic Literature

There is no secret that a majority of movies are based on classic literature, and it almost seems like Hollywood is running out of source material to get ideas from. Either way, this type of feature can come out really good or really bad. Luckily, Hollywood has been able to come up with a handful of notable horror films that have become classics just like their literary counterparts.

The films discussed in this article are notable horror movies that are based on classic literature. Do know that not all source materials are from dark tales, sometimes they can be a retelling of a tragedy or romantic fairy tale. After all, there are no boundaries when it comes filmmaking, and as long as it is done right, there’s no doubt that it will be received warmly by audiences.

So whether the movie ended up being a cult favorite or a box-office success, enjoy this horror movie list brought to you by ExploreTalent.

1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker


What better way to start this list than featuring the most iconic horror movie character of all time? Bram Stoker‘s Dracula or simply called Dracula was directed by legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola.

The film stars Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, and Gary Oldman in the titular role. It is often considered as a modern-day classic and has built a legacy since its release more than 20 years ago. The plot centers around Vlad the Impaler as he diminishes any trace of humanity left in him to become the dreaded Dracula.

2. The Outing (1987)

Based on the novel 1001 Arabian Nights


The movie 1001 Arabian Nights might have gained its popularity through the Disney film Aladdin. But it did inspire one of the most iconic ’80s cult classics we know today.

The Outing (also released in an alternative title, The Lamp) has all the elements of a B-rated movie. In other words, the film is so bad, its actually good.

The Outing is not a family-friendly film at all. It comes complete with sadistic genies, female nudity, and violent scenes. The movie may not exactly follow the original text, but it does pay homage to Aladdin, Scheherazade, and ancient curses that haunt a hormone-filled group of teenagers.

3.  Phantom of the Opera (1989)

Based on the novel Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

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If Freddy Krueger had his very own musical, then this would be it. Robert Eglund, who played Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street, once again donned a ton of FX makeup to play the Phantom of the Opera. The movie was based on Gaston LeRoux‘s classic novel of the same name. Amazingly, despite the gore and violence, the film did stick to the original script as it followed the Phantom as he obsesses over a beautiful theater starlet.

On the surface, 1989 movie rendition of the revered classic seems like yet another B-rated horror film, but if one is to look past the bloody revenge sequences courtesy of Mr. Eglund himself, it is actually the most accurate ode to the original novel.

4. The Wicker Man (1973)

Based on the novel Ritual by David Pinner


It is sad that the original Wicker Man was overshadowed by the critically panned remake starring Nicholas Cage. Regardless of that mishap, this movie was named as the sixth-best British movie of all time. For one thing, it sticks true to the novel that inspired it and relies on scares rather than misogyny to create an impact.

The Wicker Man talks about a detective who travels to a remote island in an attempt to recover a missing girl. He discovers the island’s inhabitants are hostile pagans, who take him as prisoner. Aside from the terrifying cultist themes, the movie is made even better with the presence of the late Christopher Lee.

5. Hunchback of Notredame (1923)

Based on the novel Hunchback of Notredame by Victor Hugo


This 1923 silent film was Universal’s most successful movie that year. It also set the tone for many modern horror films today.

Quasimodo the hunchback is played excellently by character actor Lon Chaney, who happened to be cast in 1925’s Phantom of the Opera as well.

Perhaps the only problem of the film was Esmeralda, who proved to be the catalyst of every violent scene in the movie. Other than that, Chaney’s performance and the elaborate set made this classic horror movie worth watching.