I recently came across The Castle of Otranto, written in 1764 by Horace Walpole.

This book is a classic piece of gothic literature, featuring a lot of the main themes, ghost-like apparitions, maidens in distress, a cruel overlord, churches and cloisters, exotic locations, contracts, rites, hidden birthrights and last but not least, a potential curse visited upon the next generation.

I absolutely loved this literary treasure.  In spite of the age of the book, it proved to be a very easy read and although there was some archaic text, it did not prove too difficult to decipher the writer's intent. 

Unlike most of the other books and films I discuss, this particular novel is quite short and available to download FREE from www.projectgutenberg.org - who knows you might want to pick up other classics like Dracula or Frankenstein while you are there!