They are everywhere from happy meals to lunch boxes and in movies scary or not. However, they weren’t always so benign or so popular. These Iconic monsters got their literary starts in somewhat darker fashion. They explore basic concepts that stay relevant even constant retelling and revisions.
It should be noted that versions of many of the books below are available from your favorite e-book merchandiser for free and in this reviewer’s opinion all are 5* must reads. For more great classic monsters check out this List
by Mary Shelley
Obsessed with the secret of creation, Swiss scientist Dr. Victor Frankenstein cobbles together a body he’s determined to bring to life. And one fateful night, he does. When the creature opens his eyes, the doctor is repulsed: his vision of perfection is, in fact, a hideous monster. Dr. Frankenstein abandons his creation, but the monster won’t be ignored, setting in motion a chain of violence and terror that shadows Victor to his death.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a gripping story about the ethics of creation and the consequences of trauma, is one of the most influential Gothic novels in British literature. It is as relevant today as it is haunting.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Stevenson’s short novel, published in 1886, became an instant classic. It was a Gothic horror that originated in a feverish nightmare, whose hallucinatory setting in the murky back streets of London gripped a nation mesmerized by crime and violence. The respectable doctor’s mysterious relationship with his disreputable associate is finally revealed in one of the most original and thrilling endings in English literature.
The Invisible Man
by H.G. Wells
The classic science fiction novel of the dangers of science describes a man cast out from society by his own terrifying discovery. It tells the story of Griffin, a brilliant and obsessed scientist dedicated to achieving invisibility. Taking whatever action is necessary to keep his incredible discovery safe, he terrorizes the local village where he has sought refuge. Wells skilfully weaves the themes of science, terror, and pride as the invisible Griffin gradually loses his sanity and, ultimately, his humanity.
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
by Victor Hugo
A mad priest, a vagabond playwright, a social-climbing soldier, and a deformed bell-ringer — all are captivated by a gypsy girl’s beauty and charm. Two of them will betray her, but the others will remain loyal, even in the shadow of the gallows. These outlaws find sanctuary within the walls of medieval Paris’ greatest monument, the grand Cathedral of Notre Dame.
The Werewolf of Paris
by Guy Endore
In this gripping work of historical fiction, Endore’s werewolf, an outcast named Bertrand Caillet, travels across pre-Revolutionary France seeking to calm the beast within. Stunning in its sexual frankness and eerie, fog-enshrouded visions, this novel was decidedly influential for the generations of horror and science fiction authors who came afterward.
The Mummy: The Jewel Of Seven Stars
The Jewel of Seven Stars is a horror novel by Bram Stoker, first published by Heinemann in 1903. The story is a first-person narrative of a young man pulled into an archaeologist’s plot to revive Queen Tera, an ancient Egyptian mummy
Upon a visit to Transylvania, a young English lawyer named Jonathan Harker learns of the horrifying discoveries behind Castle Dracula and its resident Count, who survives on the blood of human beings. Thus a battle of wits ensues between the vicious Count and his various adversaries in this classic gothic novel of horror, dark romance, and chilling suspense.