Seven Classic Horror Books for Penny Dreadful Fans

Looking for the perfect book to curl up with this Halloween? Fans of television’s Penny Dreadful, a Victorian gothic mashup, appreciate just how spooky a classic horror story can be. If you’ve already read the major gothic thrillers – from Dracula and Frankenstein on to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - no worries. We have lots of other unnerving suggestions for Halloween night. You might be surprised to see how many great horror films and shows were inspired by books. So wait for your neighborhood goblins and ghouls to retire, turn the lights down low and immerse yourself in a classic tale of horror and fright.

Shirley’ Jackson’s 1959 modern classic explores the subtle, yet terrifying powers unleashed when an unlikely team of investigators attempts to document the existence of paranormal forces in The Haunting of Hill House.

In Susan Hill’s Victorian-style thriller, a young solicitor is sent to settle a client’s affairs at an eerie and isolated manor, where he is haunted by the spectral apparition of The Woman in Black.

The inspiration for the hit podcast and book Welcome to Night Vale, H. P. Lovecraft upended the horror genre with his unsettling blend of sci fi and the supernatural.

Jay Anson’s 1977 nonfiction account of the ordeals the Lutz family experienced moving into a home in Long Island was the inspiration for the classic film the Amityville Horror.

When a young couple moves into an antiquated New York apartment building, the pregnant wife soon begins to wonder about their neighbors’ uncanny behavior in Ira Levin’s novel Rosemary’s Baby.

The reader must decide the truth of a tale of a governess's attempt to battle the evil forces threatening her charges in Henry James’ novella, The Turn of the Screw.

Leslie S. Klinger has gathered together short stories, including one of the very first vampire tales, by horror greats like Sheridan Le Fanu and M. R. James in the anthology In the shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: classic tales of horror, 1816-1914.
-Rebecca Wolff, Centreville Regional Library

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