10 Horror Retellings Of Your Favorite Classic Stories
If the heat of late spring already has you longing for the cool breezes of winter, now is the perfect time to find the right book that will send chills down your spine. I've picked out 10 horror retellings of your favorite classic stories here, so you'll have plenty of spooky reading material to stack on your nightstand when you're ready for it.
Obviously, if you don't like novels based on fairy tales or spooky true stories, this isn't the list of reading recommendations for you. Each of the 10 books on the list below draws from one or more classic sources, such as folktales or century-old novels, to weave a new and scary narrative. In most cases, the stories these novels derive from were already spooky in their own ways, but some of my picks — such as Daniel Mallory Ortberg's The Merry Spinster — ratchet up the horror that lurks between the covers of your favorite tales.
Because no list like this can be exhaustive, there's a good chance I missed your favorite horror retelling of a classic novel. Check out my recommendations below, and then drop me a line on Twitter to let me know if I left out your top pick.
'Little Darlings' by Melanie Golding
A modern-day retelling of the changeling story, Melanie Golding's Little Darlings centers on a distraught young mother who is convinced that her twins have been replaced by ... something else.
'The Madman's Daughter' by Megan Shepherd
The first installment of a trilogy based on The Island of Doctor Moreau and other classic novels, Megan Shepherd's The Madman's Daughter follows Juliet as she travels to a tropical island to find out if the rumors about her father, the infamous Moreau, are true.
'Deerskin' by Robin McKinley
In this work of dark fantasy, a young girl must flee her homeland when her father decides to marry her himself. Based on the "Donkeyskin" fairy tale, Robin McKinley's Deerskin might not be proper horror, but its contents are certainly horrific.
'The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror' by Daniel Mallory Ortberg
Texts from Jane Eyre author Daniel Mallory Ortberg has an eye for what makes our favorite stories tick, and nowhere is that more apparent than in this collection of horrific stories based on familiar fairy tales and children's narratives.
'The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein' by Kiersten White
In this retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein's fiancé, Elizabeth Lavenza, must travel to the ends of the earth to find her future husband after he mysteriously disappears, but she cannot conceive of what awaits her arrival.
'Maplecroft' by Cherie Priest
Combining the real-life story of Lizzie Borden with tales from H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, Maplecroft centers on Lizzie as she works to unravel the mystery behind her murder trial. Who — or what — replaced her parents, and when will it return?
'The Ghosts of Kerfol' by Deborah Noyes
Based on Edith Wharton's "Kerfol," Deborah Noyes' The Ghosts of Kerfol examines the death of one man, who appeared to have been torn apart by dogs — which were all dead at the time — through several stories of its aftermath.
'Speak Easy' by Catherynne M. Valente
In this novella based on the story of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," Zelda, a patron of the hotel Artemisia, must journey into the bowels of jaunty debauchery to face off against the technological power that controls everyone else's reverie.
'Strange Practice' by Vivian Shaw
Although it's not quite a retelling, Vivian Shaw's Strange Practice pulls heavily from Bram Stoker's Dracula and other 19th-century horror novels. A doctor to the undead, Greta Helsing — a descendent of the famous Abraham Van Helsing — must work to stop a murderous cult from killing all of London in this inventive book.
'Alice' by Christina Henry
The first book in The Chronicles of Alice, Christina Henry's Alice centers on an asylum inmate who escapes her imprisonment and returns to a place she barely remembers, in search of the Rabbit.