11th Feb2015

Top 5: Sinister Books in Film

by Phil Wheat


The Babadook, released on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital on February 16th, tells the story of a widowed mother Amelia (Essie Davis) battling with the loss of her husband, and her son’s growing fears of a monster invading their house. When a strange new book is found by Samuel (Noah Wiseman), reading it seems to invite a sinister presence in to the house, leaving both Amelia and Samuel to face their fears.

This isn’t the first time in film history that we’ve been shown the sinister power of books. Using the right book at the wrong time can lead to all sorts of issues or adventures.

In anticipation of The Babadook’s home release, we take a look – in no particular order – some of the most sinister books in film.

1. Evil Dead – The Necronomicon

Klaatu… verata… n… Necktie. Nectar. Nickel. Noodle. Or something like that, right?

The Necronomicon, The Book of the Dead, is bound in human flesh and written in human blood, and its sole purpose is to awaken the Evil and be reborn on Earth.

 Reading passages from this book can raise the dead, awaken inanimate objects (like trees or household items), and possess the living to make them soldiers for the Army of Darkness.

 But don’t worry, Ash Williams and his trusty Boomstick are always nearby and ready to send the dead back to where they came from. If only he could remember those three important words…

2. Death Note – The Death Note

As misused and potentially evil as this book is, it’s at least nice to find a book that is honest about its intentions.

“The Human whose name is written in this note shall die.”

That’s terribly useful to know, and when Light Yagami discovers the notebook he decides to use it to become “god of the new world” by killing people that he feels deserve to die, taking out criminals and other “evil” people. Ultimately, all these deaths draw the attention of Interpol and famed detective, L.

 This book isn’t truly evil, but the sinister intentions and life ruining consequences of its use certainly make it a perfect fit for this list.

3. The NeverEnding Story – The NeverEnding Story

The NeverEnding Story seems perfectly tame compared to others on this list. Bastian gets to read a book about a fantasy world falling apart, then discovers it’s partially real and gets to chase his bullies while riding Falkor the Luck Dragon. What’s not to love?

 The reader of The NeverEnding Story has the ability to travel between the real world and the fantasy world, bringing creatures with them, but most importantly the reader has god-like power of Fantastica, letting them recreate the world how they see fit. If Bastian weren’t such a kind and loving child, could imagine the destruction that could be done?

4. Cabin in the Woods – Patience Buckner’s Diary

How could anyone resist reading from a young girl’s diary in a creepy cabin in the middle of nowhere? Especially when it’s surrounded by all those other trinkets.

In reference to every horror film with a book in it, reading aloud from this diary will summon the twisted Buckner family to hunt down and kill the hapless teens. Unluckily for everyone involved, the Buckner’s aren’t the only creatures to be summoned that night and the whole world falls apart.

With everything going on in Cabin in the Woods, it is understandably easy to miss this book, but as an homage and spoof of nearly every horror film to date, Patience Buckner’s diary is an important inclusion on this list.

5. The Ninth Gate – The Nine Gates Satanic texts

The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows is a seventeenth-century manuscript that, according to the film, can be used to summon the Devil himself, where the summoner can gain immortality and untold powers. This book is so sought after that people are willing to kill for the chance to own it, because obviously if you’re willing to summon the Devil then it’s generally assumed you’re willing to commit murder.

Look, it’s a book that can be used to open a gateway to hell, to summon the Devil, to gain immortality and power over the world, and people who own it tend to die horribly. I don’t think it needs much more justification for being on this list.

The Babadook comes to DVD, Blu-ray and Digital on February 16th. Click the link for our Babadook review.


Comments are closed.