The 13th Floor

10 Young Adult Horror Novels that Should be Made into Movies Right Now!

This week’s release of the trailer for Tim Burton’s adaptation of MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN started plenty of discussions in the horror community about what other horror “young adult” books are ripe for good film adaptations. Below is my list of 10 young adult horror novels that I feel are sorely overdue for a movie re-imaginings. These all come from a variety of authors and time periods, but I would love to see each one of them make it to the silver screen!

 

 

 

WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE

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By Shirley Jackson

Originally published in 1962

Whenever someone asks me the one book I would most love to see as a movie, this is my go-to answer. The story focuses on two isolated teen girls who live a castle at the edge of town. They are subject of rumors as their entire family rather mysteriously died years ago. They girls, now becoming women, have not left their home in years, but are slowly starting to become more outspoken about their strange, shrouded past.

 

THE REPLACEMENT

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By Brenna Yovanoff

Originally published in 2010

Mackie is not human. Sure he may look human, but he is not. He was left in the crib of a human infant 16 years ago. And now he must face his true identity and the weird underworld that exists in his small town.

 

A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT

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By Laura Whitcomb

Originally published in 2005

Summit Entertainment/Lions Gates picked up the film rights to this book years ago, but have yet to get moving on it. The book follows Helen, a ghost who travels back through her own life and soon discovers that certain folks from her past can see her in her ghostly form.

 

SIDEWAYS STORIES FROM WAYSIDE SCHOOL

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By Louis Sachar

Originally published in 1978

Though not entirely horror, this strange book definitely has some highly creepy notes to it. Each chapter tells a story about a single student in Ms. Jewl’s class (after their original teacher was eaten by one of the students). The book is surreal, bizarre, and in many cases downright twisted. This would make a great anthology film!

 

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN

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By Holly Black

Originally published in 2013

This is a dark and captivating tale of a young girl, Tana, who lives in a world where vampires hunt by the cover of night, often infecting humans with their disease. And once infected, the newly changed humans are sent to live in Coldtown where they can never leave. Tana is racing against the clock to save her infected boyfriend and must travel to Coldtown for help, risking that she, still a human, may never be able to leave.

 

CHAIN LETTER

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By Christopher Pike

Originally published in 1986

Every pre-teen girl of the 80s read this book. It was rumored for a movie adaptation for quite a stretch and though many chain letter themed movies have come to pass, no one has touched this popular Pike tale. When Allison begins receiving chain letters in the mail, she thinks it is just a joke, but soon the letters take a sinister turn revealing some dark secrets about Allison’s past.

 

ABARAT

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By Clive Barker

Originally published in 2002

This book has had a long and tumultuous past filled with attempts to bring it to the screen. See Blumhouse.com’s article on the ABARAT movie history here. Bored in her life, a young girl named Candy encounters a strange lighthouse that summons an ocean allowing her to travel to distant lands.

 

ASYLUM

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By Madeline Roux

Originally published in 2013

While at a summer school for gifted teens held on the site of an old insane asylum, Dan and several other students uncover a dark and disturbing secret that still haunts the grounds today.

 

WAIT TILL HELEN COMES: A GHOST STORY

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By Mary Downing Hahn

Originally published in 1986

Many have owned the rights to the book, and several have been announced as about to make it. But so far, no attempts have come to fruition. After her family moves into a new house, young Heather makes friends with a mysterious ghost of a girl who died at the house years earlier. But the ghost seems to want something, growing ever more demanding and violent. I remember our teacher reading this book aloud to us in elementary school, and it had stayed with me to this day.

 

THE THIEF OF ALWAYS

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By Clive Barker

Originally published in 1992

The 2nd Barker novel to grace this list, THE THIEF OF ALWAYS is another that has long been rumored for a film version. Bored and discontent with his life, a creature appears and takes young Harvey on a journey to a magical land, but the creature may not be as friendly as he seems.

 

And a Runner-up:

I AM THE CHEESE

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By Robert Cormier

Originally published in 1977

A movie was made of this in 1983, but it is sorely in need of an update! Bouncing back and forth between past and present day, dreams and reality, the book weaves a disjointed story of a boy riding a bike from one town to another in an attempt to visit a friend who may or may not actually exist.

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