Horror books outdo horror movies

Readers immerse themselves into terror between pages



Given the choice between watching a thriller or reading one, which do you prefer?


I am not going to tell you that no horror movies have made me close my eyes. The sound effects, cinematography, the gore and the scares are real. The jump scares are the worst. 

I might scream and yell, but the fear leaves as I leave the theater.

Julia Esakoff, senior earth science major, said she feels otherwise.

“I prefer watching horror movies; something about the eerie feeling and the visual and sound effects, they get to me,” she said.

If you think the movie adaptations are scary, just imagine the intensity of your fears when your imagination is able to run wild after being led in a dark direction. 

I believe it is not as simple as the characters that are presented to you on screen. I have to use my imagination to summon the horror from the written page. 

With books, I relate to my life — use real-life characters and environments — to visualize the path the author leads me on. 

I am a traveler in an unknown territory guided by the author. 

I go where he or she takes me but also, I am not in complete control of the characters or the plot. For me, that is much scarier than any horror movie.

Taylor Ono, senior creative writing major, said, “The visual and audible elements of the movies tie some emotional connections for me,” said senior creative writing major, Taylor Ono. “I am more invested as I am able to empathize more with their fears on screen.”

Although I agree with Ono and Esakoff, I feel like the impacts of creating and relating the characters in my head has a longer impact than what can be presented to me in movies. 

It is almost a forever feeling of gore, especially with the right kind of authors like Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. 

“I just feel really unsettled because of what I just watched, and I struggle to fall asleep for days after watching a scary movie,” Ono said.

There are several horror books that I could really not finish just because of the wildest, darkest fears I created for myself from those words. I still have not turned all the pages of ‘The Shining” — one of the most upsetting-to-your-mind kinds of books.

Books are more cerebral than films. You are more involved because your imagination takes you into overdrive. 

However, not everyone’s adrenaline rush is turned on that way. Some people find it more disturbing when it’s presented to them visually. 

“I don’t know why that one really got to me, but I couldn’t finish the show [“The Haunting of the Hill House”] even with my mom and my sister,” Esakoff said. “The entire time, I kept thinking this is really creepy like I can’t watch this.”

It all comes down to what gets your heart racing — the images or the words?

I have reached out to books for every circumstance in my life, good or bad. With books, I create my own reality. There is something scarier about the partial control of the whirlwind the authors make me go through while reading.

Scary movies, on the other hand, are not for me. They are too intense, and they do not speak to my mind. They are not good for the person sitting next to me and watching it either.

Scary movies or scary books, whatever is your cup of tea — go get some this spooky season!