With everything happening in the world at the moment, Women in Horror Month seems like a very long time ago. However, as is often said, now that February is in the rearview mirror, it becomes all too easy to lose sight of all the amazing horror out there written by women. So to make the most of your isolation reading time, here are five stories by female authors that would make fantastic films. Paperback today, perhaps Netflix tomorrow!
“Bride Before You”, Stephanie Malia Morris
The stories that tend to translate best to the screen are often ones that play out like a film even on the page, and with its unforgettable and devastating imagery, “Bride Before You” has got cinematic style to spare. This gorgeously written short story combines a historical setting—Washington D.C. in the Gilded Age—with a haunting story that’s part fairy tale, part body horror, and all enchanting mystery. With a vibrant voice and a terrifying series of events that culminate in a heartbreaking climax, this isn’t a tale you’ll soon forget. Plus, the giant spider at the center of it all would make for some truly spectacular and visceral horror on the screen.
The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, Sarah Read
Spiders are apparently a theme with this list, since Sarah Read’s debut novel also boasts its fair share of arachnids. A current nominee for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard has all the makings of a powerful Gothic horror film. The 1920s English boarding school would make for a beautifully ominous setting in a screen adaptation, and thanks to all the eight-legged beasties, this book most definitely has got a creep factor that could haunt film audiences for a long time to come.
Beneath, Kristi DeMeester
Now let’s move from spiders to snakes with this exquisitely unsettling book that deals with cults, cosmic horror, and an intrepid journalist who won’t stop digging for the truth, even as it leads her to increasingly disturbing places. In her much-celebrated debut novel, Kristi DeMeester plumbs the depths of the weird with this exploration of the unseemly underbelly of religion and the strange things that hide in the dark. The grand scope of the novel and the striking visuals—yes, including all that creepy snake handling—would make for one incredible creature feature.
Mary Shelley Makes a Monster, Octavia Cade
It’s not often that a poetry collection is adapted into film, but it’s not every poetry collection that features Frankenstein’s Monster in search of a new mother. This unique set of interconnected poems explores the monster’s search through time and across literary figures for a replacement for Mary Shelley after her death. It’s always a unique joy to see real-life authors depicted on the screen, and with a cast of characters that includes Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Angela Carter, and Octavia Butler, this collection would be a truly fearsome sight to behold on the screen.
Sleeping With The Monster, Anya Martin
When it comes to translating horror fiction to film, it only sweetens the deal if the story happens to be about the world of cinema already. In “The Un-Bride, or No Gods and Marxists,” which first appeared in the Eternal Frankenstein anthology, Elsa Lanchester recounts the fantastical backstory of her famous role in The Bride of Frankenstein. As though a story that features the amazing and underrated Elsa isn’t enough, Martin also incorporates everything from laboratory experimentation gone wrong to the brain of Karl Marx’s daughter. It’s a wild ride and one I’d go to see on opening night if it ever made the jump to the big screen.
Gwendolyn Kiste is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rust Maidens, from Trepidatio Publishing; And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, from JournalStone; the dark fantasy novella, Pretty Marys All in a Row, from Broken Eye Books; and the occult horror novelette, The Invention of Ghosts, from Nightscape Press. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Vastarien, Black Static, Daily Science Fiction, Unnerving, Interzone, and LampLight, as well as Flame Tree Publishing’s Gothic Fantasy series, among others.Originally from Ohio, she now resides on an abandoned horse farm outside of Pittsburgh with her husband, two cats, and not nearly enough ghosts. You can also find her online at Facebook and Twitter.