Pairing TV and Movies with YA Literature:  “The Monster Mash” edition

As I was thinking about a topic for my post this month, the horror genre immediately came to mind (hmmm… I wonder why?).  Ghostly tales, monsters, suspense.  Stay-up-through-the-night novels.  A great genre to read as the nights get longer, colder.  Winds that howl, rains that mist, and fog every morning. As I was considering possible music pairings for some of my favorite horror novels, I couldn’t help thinking about movies or tv series that I could pair them with instead.  So here you’ll find a horror you can watch, paired with horror you can read.

Harper’s Island (2009)

Harper’s Island follows Abby Mills, whose mother died tragically at the hands of the island’s notorious serial killer.  She hasn’t returned to the island since, but seven years later her best friend invites her to his wedding–the destination: Harper’s Island.  Abby must face her fears and confront her mother’s killer as family and friends start disappearing in tragic endings.  There was only one season of Harper’s Island; 13 episodes in which at least one gruesome murder happened in each, ending with a twist no one saw coming. Really? He did it?

Book Pairings:

ten_gretchen_mcneilTen by Gretchen McNeil (2012)

Also set on an island in the Pacific Northwest, Ten features a weekend house party turned murderous. The fun stops as people start dying and a DVD is found with the message: Vengeance is Mine. Another pairing for Ten; one that features a house party gone wrong?  Scream (1996)–and its many sequels.  But for the ghostly alternative: The House on Haunted Hill (1999)–or the 1959 version starring the master of creepy, Vincent Price.


The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd (2013)madman's daughter

Juliet had presumed her father dead.  But after seeing his work, literally, splayed before her, she realizes the truth.  He is alive, living on an island… and he is again conducting inhumane experiments.  But those having undergone the experiments don’t seem as at peace as the doctor believes.  And, like Harper’s Island, a series of murders begin a terrifying investigation.  As this title is inspired by H.G. Well’s  The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996, 1977), the movie version is a great pairing.  

Supernatural (2005-present)

Currently in it’s 11th season, Supernatural is filled with suspense, monsters and ghosts, drama, a touch of humor, and plenty of bro-mos (bro moments).  It also features the best classic rock soundtrack. Seriously–the best. I cannot listen to “Carry on My Wayward Son” by Kansas or “Renegade” by Styx without thinking of this show. The series started with brothers Sam and Dean Winchester as they hunted monsters and ghosts–a different baddie each episode–while tracking the yellow eyed demon that killed their mother.  It has since morphed into a complex drama involving the tension between the brothers, with angel Castiel and demon Crowley sharing the Supernatural spotlight.

Book Pairings:

MonstrumologistcoverThe Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy (2009)

The Monstrumologist is the tale of Will Henry, assistant to Dr. Warthrop, a Monstrumologist.  Like Sam and Dean, Warthrop is a monster hunter, studying monsters to figure out what makes them tick–and how to destroy them. Like the Winchesters, Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop work late into the night and have to battle some fierce opponents.  But, set in 1888, the monstrumologists can’t rely on “Search the Web” to help them in their searches.  They are more like the creators of the information Sam and Dean often find.


project 17Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz (2007)

Early in the Supernatural series, Sam and Dean often did battle with ghosts, using salt and iron.  But to end the ghost baddies, Sam and Dean had to learn about about what tethered them to the mortal world.  In Project 17, there is a similar ghost-encountering-vibe. Project 17 shares the perspectives of six teens as they film their encounters in haunted Danvers State Hospital (birthplace of the lobotomy) the night before it is to be torn down.  Another pairing for Project 17:   Blair Witch Project (1999).


—Stacy Holbrook, currently reading Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler