Re: Scary horror novels
I think that horror stories are not going to scare in quite the same way as films do. That is because the way the medium of film can cleverly make use of sound and vision to create frights. In addition, the film maker can precisely control the pace with which events unfold. In books, you just can't really do that.
Books have to work in a different way. They rely on firing your imagination in such a way that you scare yourself. Good horror books are not a passive affair in the way horror films often are. There the director carefully orchestrates your experience and you just sit back and enjoy the ride. If you go from having watched a lot of horror films to reading horror and expect the same experience, you will innevitably be disappointed. Books require far more of an "investment" by the reader. They require the reader to actively engage, to flesh out with your imagination what is described, sometimes to fill in the deliberate blanks, to contemplate the implications yourself.
So yes, I think they can scare. And I think that they can be ultimately more rewarding than a film if you are prepared to engage with them properly (and it's a good book of course).