100 books like Horror

By Phil Hardy (editor),

Here are 100 books that Horror fans have personally recommended if you like Horror. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Vampire Cinema

Leon Hunt Author Of Mario Bava: The Artisan as Italian Horror Auteur

From my list on European horror films.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Senior Lecturer in Film and Television with a particular passion for the horror genre – the first film books I ever read were about Horror. I'm also a confirmed Italophile. I became fascinated by Mario Bava – and later, Italian horror more broadly – before I saw his films from accounts and images of them in books and magazines. The films weren’t easy to see before video, DVD/blu-ray or streaming, and so I was on a mission over time to track them all down. This is how cult reputations often develop – from obscurity to re-evaluation – and that was one of the things I wanted to address in my book. 

Leon's book list on European horror films

Leon Hunt Why did Leon love this book?

This is one of the first books to introduce me to Horror films beyond Britain and the US – it might even have been where I first heard Mario Bava’s name alongside directors like Jess Franco and Jean Rollin.

It obviously looks at vampire films more broadly but introduced me to a body of films I wanted to know more about. It’s also a beautifully illustrated and intelligent book, essential reading for anyone interested in vampires. 

By David Pirie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Vampire Cinema as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema

Leon Hunt Author Of Mario Bava: The Artisan as Italian Horror Auteur

From my list on European horror films.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Senior Lecturer in Film and Television with a particular passion for the horror genre – the first film books I ever read were about Horror. I'm also a confirmed Italophile. I became fascinated by Mario Bava – and later, Italian horror more broadly – before I saw his films from accounts and images of them in books and magazines. The films weren’t easy to see before video, DVD/blu-ray or streaming, and so I was on a mission over time to track them all down. This is how cult reputations often develop – from obscurity to re-evaluation – and that was one of the things I wanted to address in my book. 

Leon's book list on European horror films

Leon Hunt Why did Leon love this book?

An engagingly written, erudite, and intelligent critical history of horror films made in Europe from silent cinema to the modern day.

Rigby is one of the best scholars of the horror genre and gives closer critical attention to some of the classics produced in Italy, France, Spain, and Germany. You may not agree with all of his critical opinions, but his expertise is never in doubt. 

By Jonathan Rigby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Euro Gothic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Euro Gothic is the most extensive survey of Continental horror cinema ever published. From the Expressionist reveries of the Weimar Republic to the transgressive nightmares smuggled past the Franco regime, via surrealist Gallic fever-dreams and psychedelic shockers from Cinecitta, Jonathan Rigby applies his incisive scrutiny to the most important European horror films, ranging from the early years of the 20th century to the video revolution of the 1980s.


Book cover of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark

Leon Hunt Author Of Mario Bava: The Artisan as Italian Horror Auteur

From my list on European horror films.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Senior Lecturer in Film and Television with a particular passion for the horror genre – the first film books I ever read were about Horror. I'm also a confirmed Italophile. I became fascinated by Mario Bava – and later, Italian horror more broadly – before I saw his films from accounts and images of them in books and magazines. The films weren’t easy to see before video, DVD/blu-ray or streaming, and so I was on a mission over time to track them all down. This is how cult reputations often develop – from obscurity to re-evaluation – and that was one of the things I wanted to address in my book. 

Leon's book list on European horror films

Leon Hunt Why did Leon love this book?

At 1128 pages, you are unlikely to find a more thorough or lavish account of Mario Bava’s career from his early days as a cameraman to his classic Horror films – the book is huge.

Lucas spent decades researching Bava and it shows in this monumental volume. How was I going to compete with this when I wrote my own book on Bava? I didn’t try – I took a different approach, but obviously this was an essential reference source for me.

By Tim Lucas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mario Bava as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introduction by Martin Scorsese. Foreword by Italian Horror Pioneer Riccardo Freda. This is the Complete Story of Mario Bava's life and careers as director, cameraman and special effects artist. Interviews with more than 100 actors, co-workers, friends and family members. The Definitive Study of each of his films: production histories, cast biographies, critical analysis, and video information. Never-before Published Photos including the only color shots taken on the set of BLACK SUNDAY. Original Mario Bava Storyboards - including the boards for the unfilmed project BABY KONG. Original Mario Bava Artwork - Some in Full Color! Bava's Secret Filmography: His uncredited…


Book cover of Italian Giallo in Film and Television: A Critical History

Leon Hunt Author Of Mario Bava: The Artisan as Italian Horror Auteur

From my list on European horror films.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Senior Lecturer in Film and Television with a particular passion for the horror genre – the first film books I ever read were about Horror. I'm also a confirmed Italophile. I became fascinated by Mario Bava – and later, Italian horror more broadly – before I saw his films from accounts and images of them in books and magazines. The films weren’t easy to see before video, DVD/blu-ray or streaming, and so I was on a mission over time to track them all down. This is how cult reputations often develop – from obscurity to re-evaluation – and that was one of the things I wanted to address in my book. 

Leon's book list on European horror films

Leon Hunt Why did Leon love this book?

Curti is an Italian film critic who also writes in English and brings a singular expertise to Italian genre cinema.

The giallo, the Italian murder mystery, isn’t technically Horror but often incorporates it in gory murder scenes. A lot has been written about the genre, but there has never been a more thorough account than this one, as close to definitive as one might get, and it will certainly broaden your understanding of the giallo as well as introducing you to films and TV shows you might not have heard of before. 

By Roberto Curti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Italian Giallo in Film and Television as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since the release in 1929 of a popular book series with bright yellow covers, the Italian word giallo (yellow) has come to define a whole spectrum of mystery and detective fiction and films. Although most English speakers associate the term giallo with the violent and erotic thrillers popular in the 1960s and 1970s from directors like Mario Bava, Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci and others, the term encompasses a wide range of Italian media such as mysteries, thrillers and detective stories-even comedies and political pamphlets. As films like Blood and Black Lace (1964) and Deep Red (1975) have received international acclaim,…


Book cover of Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film

Natacha Guyot Author Of The Science is Out There: Scully's Feminism in The X-Files

From my list on women in American film.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been creating female-fronted Science Fiction stories since I was a child. My love for Star Wars motivated me to go to film school and then spend years working on the representation of women in Science Fiction movies, TV series, and video games. I’ve written about characters like Leia Organa and Hera Syndulla in Star Wars, Dana Scully in The X-Files, Sarah Connor in The Terminator, and Elisabeth Shaw in Prometheus. I have recently started sharing some of my research on Medium. Some of the books on this list have supported my research for over 15 years while I discovered others during my doctoral studies. 

Natacha's book list on women in American film

Natacha Guyot Why did Natacha love this book?

This book has been central to my research on women in Science Fiction although I am not a Horror fan.

Given how often women are thrown through gendered-based violence in different genres, Clover’s study brings many useful points for not only Horror itself, but also thrillers, action films, and Fantasy.

It investigates different facets of women’s representation and their fight against sexualized trials. My favorite chapters are those on the body in the slasher film, the discussion on women’s stories versus men’s stories, and the revenge narrative.

By Carol J. Clover,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Men, Women, and Chain Saws as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From its first publication in 1992, Men, Women, and Chain Saws has offered a groundbreaking perspective on the creativity and influence of horror cinema since the mid-1970s. Investigating the popularity of the low-budget tradition, Carol Clover looks in particular at slasher, occult, and rape-revenge films. Although such movies have been traditionally understood as offering only sadistic pleasures to their mostly male audiences, Clover demonstrates that they align spectators not with the male tormentor, but with the females tormented--notably the slasher movie's "final girls"--as they endure fear and degradation before rising to save themselves. The lesson was not lost on the…


Book cover of Sacred Terror: Religion and Horror on the Silver Screen

Steve A. Wiggins Author Of Holy Horror: The Bible and Fear in Movies

From my list on bringing horror and religion into conversation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up religious but loving scary things—horror movies, scary comic books, Dark Shadows, and The Twilight Zone. Even the music of Alice Cooper. While I’m no longer religious, I have a doctorate in religious studies and I still have a fascination with media that cause fear. I also write horror stories. Beyond Holy Horror I have written two more books on religion and horror and I read every book about this odd combination as soon as I can get my hands on it. I believe you should never judge people by their tastes in media—they can be decent folk even if they like horror.

Steve's book list on bringing horror and religion into conversation

Steve A. Wiggins Why did Steve love this book?

This book opened my eyes to how a scholar of religion could engage with horror films. I sat in my hotel room and started reading it the day I purchased it because I couldn’t wait until I got back home to start it.

Douglas Cowan deftly demonstrates how horror films engage in conversation with religion and he does this in non-technical language. In a culture where religion, or at least organized religion, is in decline, it still has incredible power in pop culture.

Many religious people avoid horror like they would a real monster. Sacred Terror, apart from suggesting a title for my book, shows horror and religion both benefit from the discussion. Cowan has written other good books on the subject as well.

By Douglas E. Cowan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sacred Terror as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sacred Terror examines the religious elements lurking in horror films. It answers a simple but profound question: When there are so many other scary things around, why is religion so often used to tell a scary story? In this lucid, provocative book, Douglas Cowan argues that horror films are opportune vehicles for externalizing the fears that lie inside our religious selves: of evil; of the flesh; of sacred places; of a change in the sacred order; of the supernatural gone out of control; of death, dying badly, or not remaining dead; of fanaticism; and of the power--and the powerlessness--of religion.


Book cover of Holy Horror: The Bible and Fear in Movies

Brandon R. Grafius Author Of Lurking Under the Surface: Horror, Religion, and the Questions that Haunt Us

From my list on horror and religion.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a fan of horror since I got sucked into Scooby-Doo as a three-year-old. When I started my academic career, I kind of kept that passion tucked inside as something to be embarrassed about – after all, I wanted to do serious work, and horror movies aren’t serious, right? Graduate school made me rethink that assumption, and pushed me towards seriously considering the engagement of horror and religion. I wrote my dissertation on a chapter of the Book of Numbers as a slasher narrative, and I haven’t looked back since.

Brandon's book list on horror and religion

Brandon R. Grafius Why did Brandon love this book?

Wiggins looks at how the Bible as a physical, tangible book plays an important role in horror movies – it doesn’t even need to be read to have power and be a crucial part of the plot. The book takes a deep dive into what the Bible means as a cultural symbol, even beyond our relationship to the words contained in its pages.

By Steve A. Wiggins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Holy Horror as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What makes you afraid? It may be more than what you think. Horror films have been exploiting our fears almost from the moment movies were invented. Lurking unseen in the corner of horror, however, is something unexpected: the Bible. Sit back while the curtain parts and watch as the Good Book appears in both supporting and starring roles in the most unlikely of cinema genres. Starting with Psycho and running up through the 2010s, horror films, monster movies and thrillers will flash across the screen with Scripture plainly in view. Holy Writ is not always what it seems. The Bible…


Book cover of Blue Light of the Screen: On Horror, Ghosts, and God

Tariq Goddard Author Of High John the Conqueror

From my list on combining the known with the unknown.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my entire working life tied to the virtuous cycle of reading, writing, and (I hope) thinking. Since my own first novel came out over twenty years ago, I have never lost my passion for reading, as I suspect that if I did, I would also lose my passion to write, and the fascination with other people and the world that fuels it. All these books have informed, gently or severely, my new novel, High John The Conqueror, encapsulating the incongruous mix between the given and the unbelievable that I find in life, and try to employ in my own work. 

Tariq's book list on combining the known with the unknown

Tariq Goddard Why did Tariq love this book?

This is a volume that defies genre, in part a supernatural memoir, encyclopedia of horror films, and a treatise on the existence of other dimensions. I love a book that doesn’t conform to the rules and tropes of a single genre, where you basically know that what you are getting will adhere to what is or is not allowed, on the basis of the categories assigned to it by the publisher. Cronin testifies to her personal experience of ghosts, and what the nature of reality must be to support such entities. I follow her in looking to mix horror and the uncanny into supposedly banal and quotidian reality, the supernatural just another facet of life, and not a sensationalist realm that requires a world of its own. 

By Claire Cronin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blue Light of the Screen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Blue Light of the Screen is about what it means to be afraid - about immersion, superstition, delusion, and the things that keep us up at night. A creative-critical memoir of the author's obsession with the horror genre, Blue Light of the Screen embeds its criticism of horror within a larger personal story of growing up in a devoutly Catholic family, overcoming suicidal depression, uncovering intergenerational trauma, and encountering real and imagined ghosts.As Cronin writes, she positions herself as a protagonist who is haunted by what she watches and reads, like an antiquarian in an M.R. James ghost story whose…


Book cover of The Horror Movie Night Cookbook: 60 Deliciously Deadly Recipes Inspired by Iconic Slashers, Zombie Films, Psychological Thrillers, Sci-Fi Spooks, and More

Bridget Thoreson Author Of The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook For Kids: 50 Fun and Easy Recipes for Tricks, Treats, and Spooky Eats Inspired by the Halloween Classic

From my list on pop culture cookbooks for fans of just about anything.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. My books include The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook, XOXO: A Cocktail Book, and consulting for Are You My Wine? Clearly, I am very interested in drinking, eating, and pop culture. When we started talking about a follow-up project for The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook, my mind first went to my daughter Beatrice. I was excited for the day when she could watch the movie with me and share a part of my own life as a kid. I knew that many other millennial parents probably felt the same way, and so I knew I wanted to do a book that would enhance that experience. 

Bridget's book list on pop culture cookbooks for fans of just about anything

Bridget Thoreson Why did Bridget love this book?

If you like the horror movie genre, you’re going to love this book!

The author covers a ton of classic horror movies like Psycho, Jaws, Scream, and more and writes recipe intros that are super clever and full of excellent movie references.

One thing that I really like about this cookbook is that the author includes a dish and a drink for every movie and also puts in some fun suggestions for games to play while you watch!

By Richard S. Sargent, Nevyana Dimitrova (photographer),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Horror Movie Night Cookbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Slay movie night with frighteningly delicious food and cocktail creations inspired by your favorite scary movies, perfect for fans of spooky season and movie buffs alike!

If you're looking for kitschy Pinterest recipes like coffin-shaped cookies or zombie finger sandwiches, look elsewhere. With The Horror Movie Night Cookbook, you’ll enjoy thoughtful and tasty food and cocktail pairings inspired by the actual content of chilling classics like Jaws, Psycho, Scream, The Conjuring, The Evil Dead, Halloween, and more of horror’s most frightening favorites! Inside you’ll find recipes like:
Crawling Steak (Poltergeist) Campfire Sour (The Blair Witch Project) Zombie Baby Kale Salad…


Book cover of Lurking Under the Surface: Horror, Religion, and the Questions that Haunt Us

Steve A. Wiggins Author Of Holy Horror: The Bible and Fear in Movies

From my list on bringing horror and religion into conversation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up religious but loving scary things—horror movies, scary comic books, Dark Shadows, and The Twilight Zone. Even the music of Alice Cooper. While I’m no longer religious, I have a doctorate in religious studies and I still have a fascination with media that cause fear. I also write horror stories. Beyond Holy Horror I have written two more books on religion and horror and I read every book about this odd combination as soon as I can get my hands on it. I believe you should never judge people by their tastes in media—they can be decent folk even if they like horror.

Steve's book list on bringing horror and religion into conversation

Steve A. Wiggins Why did Steve love this book?

Brandon Grafius is a prolific author in this area and I found this book to be a very good interaction between someone who is a Christian minister and a horror movie fan.

While this isn’t Grafius’ first book on the subject, it is his first to attempt to explain “why”—why would a normal, upstanding citizen watch horror? It helps debunk the idea that only social outcasts or disgruntled individuals watch horror. (Surveys indicate well over half of people in the United States admit to liking horror films.)

This coming out of the horror closet is a personal and very readable account.

By Brandon R. Grafius,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lurking Under the Surface as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Horror can be a valuable conversation partner for the spiritual questions that animate so many of us.

Whether through a movie, television show, novel, or even myth, horror as a genre has always spoken to our deepest human fears and anxieties: fear of death, of the unknown, of knowing too much. Whether you're looking at classic narratives like Frankenstein, which shows us the consequences of stretching knowledge farther than it's safe to go, or contemporary films like Get Out, which explores racism and white guilt, horror provides a window into our culture and what makes us human. The same can…


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