There are quite a few movie lists with books that are better than the movies. But isn’t that a given, really? Most times the book is better. However, there are a few magical movies out there that are actually better than the books they’re based on. Unfortunately there probably aren’t enough movies to fill a list of ten so enjoy the Flyby Five list of movies that are actually better than the book.
Jaws is certainly a horror classic for a reason. The same can’t really be said of the book, though. It has none of the dread, excitement or interest of the movie. The characters are so much better in the movie, as well. Almost everyone likable in the movie are complete buttheads in the book. In fact, in an interview once, Peter Benchley admitted that if he had known more about Great Whites he never would have written the book. Not because the book was bad but because of the fear it instilled in people of Great Whites.
Vampire$ by John Steakley is as far from the movie created from it as the moon. And it’s a good thing. For one thing, Vampires, the movie by John Carpenter, has James Woods at his weirdest finest and a great backstory and plot. Vampire$, the novel, is ok but much, much different. The plot lacks a tight cohesion and the Head Vampire is pretty lame. A good wedgie would probably take care of him.
The Ring (Book) – Ringu – The Ring (American Remake)
Now, it might not be fair to slam the book too hard because it may just be translation issues. It has the cadence of something literally translated and not smoothed out for an English-speaking audience. However, even in terms of plot and structure the movies have it all over the book. Ringu is an excellent adaptation of the book and smooths out some of the awkward exposition. The Ring is one of the best American adaptations.
The Time Machine
I myself have never read The Time Machine but Lilyn has and if she says the movie is better then that’s good enough for me. For my part I love the movie. Guy Pearce puts a great deal of tragedy into the character of Andrew Hartdegen and Jeremy Irons is Uber-Creepy as the Uber-Morlock.
How could a book about creating dinosaurs be boring? I don’t know, I never made it past chapter three. I just could not get into it. So, once again, I will defer to my Fearless Leader Lilyn and take her word for it that the movie was better than the book. For those that do like the book I’m sure that reading about dinosaurs was great. But seeing them in larger than life CGI was glorious.
Do you have any movies you favor over the books that inspired them? Drop us a comment down below!
GracieKat was the first co-host of Sci-Fi & Scary, Lilyn’s partner-in-crime, and sub-head of the Coolthulhu Crew. She reviews horror books, movies, and games for the site. She also does a weekly Focus on the Frightful feature, and is the site list-maker. She is also in control of the Sci-Fi & Scary podcast which will relaunch soon.
Gracie is also a member of the Ladies of Horror Fiction crew.
I certainly agree with The Time Machine and Jurassic Park. I haven’t read/seen the other pairings. 🙂
I’m going to disagree with you on both “Jurassic Park” and “The Time Machine”. In particular I thought that Grant in the novel was much more sympathetic than the way Sam Neil played him in the film. And the latest “Time Machine” didn’t work for me at all.
Some films that I do think were better than the books that inspired them. “Phantoms”, from the novel by Dean Koontz. (And Peter O’Toole is always so great.) And as much as I like Philip Dick, I’d say that “Bladerunner” was better than “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep.”
Hey, if we all agreed then discussions would be pretty boring. I like the newer Time Machine but the movie poster doesn’t thrill me much. It looks a bit cheesy.
I did enjoy Jurassic Park the novel too, although it was many years back and I read it well before I saw the movie, so I’m not sure I can compare. I haven’t watched that version of the Time Machine, only the old one with Rod Taylor. Now I must get hold of that one. Thanks! (Oh, I read the book Psycho was supposed to be based on… Psycho is much better, although the story is interesting, but the book was not written in a very interesting way).
My main issue with the Jurassic Park novel is sort of what Gracie mentioned for Jaws. All the likable (if eccentric) characters in the movie are turds in the book!
Thank you! I forgot about Psycho. It didn’t impress me much either. Have you read Bloch’s short story ‘Sweets to the Sweet”? creepy as all get out!
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