Eighteen years after its initial release, the most beloved RESIDENT EVIL game has been remastered and re-released to the world. Returning hero Leon S. Kennedy is sent to rural Spain to save the US President’s daughter from a religious cult – because, of course he is.
The RESIDENT EVIL IV Remake was released hot on the heels of mega-hit HBO series/video game adaptation THE LAST OF US, and anyone unfamiliar with the franchise’s incredible violence, gnarly action, and intense gore (and so many villagers with chainsaws), might wonder if the vibes are one and the same. I’m here to tell you: they’re not. But if you enjoyed our previous list of 9 BOOKS THAT WILL SATE YOUR ‘LAST OF US’ WITHDRAWALS, here are 10 books that will give you that same dopamine hit that roundhouse-kicking parasite-infested old ladies in the face does (in RESIDENT EVIL IV – please don’t do this irl).
Disclaimer: please, for your own sanity, check trigger warnings for each book before reading.
1. THE TROOP by Nick Cutter
“Once a year, scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip; a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story and a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder — shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry — stumbles upon their campsite, Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. An inexplicable horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival that will pit the troop against the elements, the infected … and one another.”
Profoundly disgusting and graphic – readers have devoured this bizarre cult-hit. Oh, and Stephen King loved it.
2. HIDE by Kiersten White
“The challenge: spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don’t get caught. The prize: enough money to change everything.
Even though everyone is desperate to win–to seize their dream futures or escape their haunting pasts–Mack feels sure that she can beat her competitors. But as the people around her begin disappearing one by one, Mack realizes this competition is more sinister than even she imagined, and that together might be the only way to survive.
Fourteen competitors. Seven days. Everywhere to hide, but nowhere to run. Come out, come out, wherever you are.”
Kiersten White’s adult horror debut has a massive cast of characters playing an intense, twisted game with unexpected horror elements.
3. SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN by James Tynion IV, Werther Dell’Edera, Miquel Muerto
“It’s the monsters who should be afraid.
When the children of Archer’s Peak—a sleepy town in the heart of America—begin to go missing, everything seems hopeless. Most children never return, but the ones that do have terrible stories—impossible details of terrifying creatures that live in the shadows. Their only hope of finding and eliminating the threat is the arrival of a mysterious stranger, one who believes the children and claims to be the only one who sees what they can see. Her name is Erica Slaughter. She kills monsters. That is all she does, and she bears the cost because it must be done.”
Five graphic novels packed with tension, glorious gore, and a kickass, done-with-your-sh*t heroine.
4. BLEED by Ed Kurtz
“When Walt Blackmore moves into an old gable front house on the outskirts of a small town, things are really looking up for him […] His outlook and destiny are irreparably changed, however, when an unusual dark red spot appears on the ceiling in the hallway. Bit by bit, the spot grows, first into a dripping blood stain and eventually into a grotesque, muttering creature.
As the creature grows, Walt finds himself more and more interested in fostering its well-being. At first he only feeds it stray animals so that the blood-hungry monster can survive, but this soon fails to satisfy the creature’s ghastly needs. It is gradually becoming human again, and for that to happen it requires human blood and human flesh. And once Walt has crossed the line from curiosity to murder, there is no going back.”
A thoroughly weird and unique take on the haunted house trope. Horrific and gruesome, it’s bound to keep you up at night.
5. KIN by Kealan Patrick Burke
“On a scorching hot summer day in Elkwood, Alabama, Claire Lambert staggers naked, wounded, and half-blind away from the scene of an atrocity. She is the sole survivor of a nightmare that claimed her friends, and even as she prays for rescue, the killers — a family of cannibalistic lunatics — are closing in.
A soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder returns from Iraq to the news that his brother is among the murdered in Elkwood. In snowbound Detroit, a waitress trapped in an abusive relationship gets an unexpected visit that will lead to bloodshed and send her back on the road to a past she has spent years trying to outrun. And Claire, the only survivor of the Elkwood Massacre, haunted by her dead friends, dreams of vengeance… a dream which will be realized as grief and rage turn good people into cold-blooded murderers and force alliances among strangers.”
Giving TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE meets DEVIL’S REJECTS meets every B-horror movie ever (in the best way), KIN is a nauseating acid trip that will be seared in your brain.
6. ZONE ONE by Colson Whitehead
“In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuilding civilization under orders from the provisional government based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street—aka Zone One—but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety—the “malfunctioning” stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives.
And then things start to go wrong.”
Somehow ALL about zombies and also NOT AT ALL about zombies, ZONE ONE will get you thinking (not surprising, since Whitehead has a National Book Award, a Pulitzer, and a MacArthur Genius Grant).
7. MONSTER ISLAND by David Wellington
“It’s one month after a global disaster. The most “developed” nations of the world have fallen to the shambling zombie masses. Only a few pockets of humanity survive — in places rife with high-powered weaponry, such as Somalia. In New York City, the dead walk the streets, driven by an insatiable hunger for all things living. One amongst them is different; though he shares their appetites he has retained his human intelligence. Alone among the mindless zombies, Gary Fleck is an eyewitness to the end of the world — and perhaps the evil genius behind it all. From the other side of the planet, a small but heavily-armed group of schoolgirls-turned-soldiers has come in search of desperately needed medicine. Dekalb, a former United Nations weapons inspector, leads them as their local guide. Ayaan, a crack shot at the age of sixteen, will stop at nothing to complete her mission. They think they are prepared for anything. On Monster Island they will find that there is something worse even than being undead, as Gary learns the true price of survival.”
Not satisfied with a hyper-intellectual look at zombies in New York? Here’s something over-the-top, funny, and gross. And if you think zombies are all you’re gonna get, wait until they get to the museum.
8. WORLD WAR Z by Max Brooks
“The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.”
Did you see the movie? Well, forget everything you know about it. This book is an astute look at what would befall the world in a real-life apocalypse. Don’t worry, though – a lot of faces still get eaten.
9. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES by Seth Graham Smith (and Jane Austen)
“‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.’
So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses.”
A creative, weird mashup that will either leave you laughing or outraged, or maybe both.
10. BIRD BOX by Josh Malerman
“Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?”
Another movie to forget – the BIRD BOX novel is haunting and will have you certain that something is standing right behind you.
11. PATIENT ZERO by Jonathan Maberry
“When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there’s either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills… and there’s nothing wrong with Joe Ledger’s skills. And that’s both a good, and a bad thing. It’s good because he’s a Baltimore detective that has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new taskforce created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can’t handle. This rapid response group is called the Department of Military Sciences or the DMS for short. It’s bad because his first mission is to help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a dreadful bio-weapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.”
Zombies! Terrorists! Zombie-terrorists! PATIENT ZERO is a true action-thriller-horror (and I hear the audiobook only enhances the experience).