Happy birthday weekend to raconteur and saucy Victorian bon vivant Oscar Wilde. The author of The Picture of Dorian Gray knows a thing or two about crafting a deliciously dreadful tale — his own film having been adapted for horror cinema multiple times. With Halloween approaching, and Wilde’s “immoral” tale in mind, we decided to play matchmaker and pair literary icons with their horror cinema doppelgängers. Happy watching!
Oscar Wilde and Ken Russell’s Gothic
“The Shelleys visit Lord Byron and compete to write a horror story.”
Raunchy, eloquent, Byronic, subversive.
Sylvia Plath and Alejandro Amenábar’s The Others
“A woman who lives in a darkened old house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that her family home is haunted.”
Domestic unease, quiet horror, motherhood, the surreal mundane.
Joan Didion and Lars von Trier’s Antichrist
“A grieving couple retreat to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.”
Decay, pathological grief, selfhood, memory, natural disorder.
Toni Morrison and Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs
“Two adults and a juvenile burglar break into a house occupied by a brother and sister and their stolen children and become trapped.”
Violence, oppression, sacrifice, everyday monsters.
George Orwell and Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers
“In San Francisco, a group of people discover the human race is being replaced one by one, with clones devoid of emotion.”
Dystopian dread, invasive, paranoid terror, sinister.
William Shakespeare and Douglas Hickox’s Theatre of Blood
“A Shakespearean actor takes poetic revenge on the critics who denied him recognition.”
Barbed wit, revenge, gore.
Edgar Allan Poe and Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak
“In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds — and remembers.”
Gothic, haunting, dark secrets, sombre.
Shirley Jackson and Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man
“A police sergeant is sent to a Scottish island village in search of a missing girl whom the townsfolk claim never existed. Stranger still are the rites that take place there.”
The dark underbelly, isolation, hysteria, superstition.
J. K. Rowling and Herschell Gordon Lewis’ The Wizard of Gore
“A TV talk-show hostess and her boyfriend investigate a shady magician whom has the ability to hypnotize and control the thoughts of people in order to stage gory on-stage illusions using his powers of mind bending.”
Wizardry, wizardry, wizardry.
George R. R. Martin and Christopher Smith’s Black Death
“Set during the time of the first outbreak of bubonic plague in England, a young monk is given the task of learning the truth about reports of people being brought back to life in a small village.”
Slow-paced, period horror, betrayal, bucolic dread.