The best horror books with mixed media format

The Books I Picked & Why

Night Film

By Marisha Pessl

Book cover of Night Film

Why this book?

Night Film is a great example of impactful mixed media storytelling. It is a cult horror novel about a journalist’s obsession with a cult horror director. By combining mixed media ‘found objects’ like film posters, interviews, and newspaper articles with the main character’s narration, the novel achieves a high level of suspense as the reader is fully immersed into this dark ghostly world. I admire this book because it speaks to my own love for dark, cult movies; and I believe it is also a great learning text for all writers who want to develop their own mixed media storytelling craft.

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White Fox

By Sara Faring

Book cover of White Fox

Why this book?

White Fox is another excellent example of a fictional mixed media narrative formed around a cult object of art – in this case, a film script. The author’s technique of alternating the dual narration of two sisters with excerpts from the eponymous script, White Fox, written by (and about) their missing mother, does an excellent job of mixing the real with the surreal. While the mystery at the heart of this sophomore novel is a very human one, the addition of the mysterious film script and the mythology around it bolsters a terrific atmosphere and makes for a compelling reading experience.  

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To Break a Covenant

By Alison Ames

Book cover of To Break a Covenant

Why this book?

A recent addition to the horror genre, this excellent debut novel excels in creating a surreal narrative drenched in dark atmosphere. To Break a Covenant centers around a terrifying, fractured faux-documentary about a town under control of a sinister presence. I dare you to read creepy descriptions of ‘found’ footage and not feel a chill as this mystery unfolds. 

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Rules for Vanishing

By Kate Alice Marshall

Book cover of Rules for Vanishing

Why this book?

Another faux-documentary horror novel Rules for Vanishing expertly combines such elements as ‘found’ footage and interview transcripts as it stitches together a fractured narrative of a terrifying urban legend coming to life. If you were ever a fan of The Blair Witch Project, chances are you will appreciate the twisted scares of Rules for Vanishing. 

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House of Leaves

By Mark Z. Danielewski

Book cover of House of Leaves

Why this book?

No mixed media horror novel list can ever be complete without this mind-bending gem of a book. The plot revolves around a fictional (?) documentary about a family who moves into a house with strange dimensions – the house appears larger on the inside than the outside. House of Leaves creates a realistic illusion of authenticity by presenting a text rich with footnotes, citations from fictional sources, and ‘found’ footage. I do not normally find horror books scary (perhaps because I write horror myself and have seen way too many horror movies to be easily surprised or terrified by anything), but House of Leaves genuinely unsettled me, in the best possible way.

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