This weekend sees the opening of the new movie Knock at the Cabin, which is based on Paul Tremblay’s novel The Cabin at the End of the World. I haven’t seen the movie, which reportedly takes substantial liberties with its source material, but the book was one of those gripping and stressful page-turners that makes you flip through each chapter faster and faster, partly because you need to find out what happens and partly because on some level you hope that if you hurry maybe you can stop these characters from doing the horrifying things they’re clearly about to do.
Some horror fiction places at its center a monster that is clearly unnatural or, at best, natural-adjacent. Think Dracula, Frankenstein, Cujo. Tremblay’s novels are part of a more nuanced tradition. It sure seems like there might be something supernatural going on but what if your perceptions are being clouded by superstition, by conspiracism, by your limited understanding of virology or zoology or cosmology? And it might not matter that much anyway because the most immediate and terrifying threat is posed by the frailties of the mundane and mortal human beings around you.
If stories like that are your bag, and you don’t like sleeping anyway, The Cabin at the End of the World might be for you. And here are ten more in a similar vein.