Horror Books Around the World

We’ve recently made a list of “Horror Novels Through the Ages,” which was a real hoot—it’s always fun to read up on classical monsters such as vampires and Frankenstein—but today we have put together some foreign novels that we think fans of horror would particularly enjoy.

From lovelorn psychopaths, to haunted houses, and disappearing babies, if these books don’t raise the hairs on the back of your neck, then we don’t know what will.

Japan

Ring – Koji Suzuki

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If you’ve seen the American remake of this novel (The Ring), then you know that Japanese horror doesn’t mess around. After four teenagers mysteriously die simultaneously, a reporter sets out to discover how. In the process, he finds an unmarked videotape, where an injured man warns that the viewer has seven days to live. More horror, plot twists, and violence ensue.

Iceland

I Remember You – Yrsa Sigurdardottir

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Just to give you an idea of how terrifying this novel is, Icelandic fans of author Yrsa Sigurdardottir were reportedly so scared of just the cover of I Remember You, that it had to be changed for U.K. and American editions.
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An eerie ghost story about missing children, an isolated house and love, the story is told in two sections. The first features three young adults who buy an abandoned house in the hopes of renovating it, and the second on a psychologist who investigates a suicide of an elderly woman (who just happens to be obsessed with his missing son). I Remember You was the recipient of the Icelandic Crime Fiction Award.

England

The Collector – John Fowles

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The debut novel by English author John Fowles, The Collector is so creepy that various songs, television episodes, books, and films have been based off of the premise of the book.

The tale is about a lonely young man, Frederick Clegg, who collects petrified butterflies in his spare time (see, this is already terrifying). Clegg is hopelessly obsessed with Miranda Grey, a beautiful art student, but due to his lack of social skills, feels like he can’t approach her. So then logically (in Clegg’s psychotic mind), the only way to relieve his desperate longing is to “collect” her.

Sweden

Let the Right One InJohn Ajvide Lindqvist

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The story centers around a 12 year-old boy, Oskar—a lonely and tormented soul who collects newspaper clippings of murder—and how he meets Eli, his next door neighbor (who just happens to be a centuries-old vampire). The book casts a light on anxiety, bullying, pedophilia, murder, and alcoholism—all heavy subjects dealing with the darker side of humanity.

Made into a Swedish-language film as well as an English-language adaptation, the book remains one of Sweden’s bestsellers.

Germany

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer – Patrick Suskind

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Who knew that the ability to smell could be so terrifying? A story about a perfume apprentice in the 18th century, who was born with no body scent, he begins to stalk and murder virgins in order to find the “perfect scent.”

Belgium

Malpertuis – Jean Ray

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Malpertuis is about an ancient house where the gods of Olympus are trapped by a dying warlock. Aged and stuck inside the bodies of ordinary Flemish citizens, the novel is complex, bizarre, and one of the great novels of supernatural horror.

Mexico

The Strain – Guillermo del Toro

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Del Toro is no stranger to fairy tales and horror, so The Strain is nothing short of horrifically spine-tingling. When a massive vampiric virus infects the citizens of New York City, Dr. “Eph” Goodweather and a band of fighters must stop the contagion to save the city.

Have you read any of these scary books? If so, what did you think of them? As always, we are open to new reading suggestions, so if you have any recommendations for scary books, please leave a comment!

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