The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers

62k votes 6.2k voters 154k views 228 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Authors who have written any type of fiction in the horror genre.

The best horror novelists include some great authors who manage to weave fantastical tales of horror that leave readers scared out of their wits. The horror fiction authors on this list write novels that can strike fear into the heart of virtually any reader, using elements of horror and dark fantasy. Whether it's a classic ghost novel or a book that features real-life evil (like serial killers), these horror novelists are some of the best in the horror genre. Be sure to vote for your favorite horror writers, and add your own personal favorite horror novelist if you don't see them on this list!

Some of the best horror writers on this list will be instantly recognizable. Horror authors like Stephen King and Dean Koontz, for example, are very well-known, popular modern horror fiction writers. I've also included some of the original, classic horror novelists, including the incomparable H.P. Lovecraft and the master, Edgar Allan Poe. Gothic horror writers like Maurice Level are included, as well. You'll notice that some of the top horror writers on the list are also known as science fiction writers and/or fantasy authors, including Ray Bradbury. There is some overlap, and I feel it's important to include these horror and dark fantasy writers as well. In addition, some of the best horror novelists on this list are winners of the prestigious Bram Stoker Award (Richard Matheson, Clive Barker and King, among them) for outstanding achievement in horror writing.

The hope is that with you, the reader, will help to contribute the names of your favorite horror writers and this list of the best horror novelists of all-time will continue to grow - serving as a great, comprehensive guide for anyone who wants to find a new horror fiction author to read! From the famous horror writers who everyone should read at least once, to the lesser known, but still super scary authors that horror buffs should give a try, you'll find it all on this list!
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  • 35 ReRanks
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  1. 1
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    - 471

    the people's #1 & most listed
    The Raven, Annabel Lee, The Fall of the House of Usher

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  2. 2
    + 2,197
    - 396


    The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, At the Mountains of Madness, ...

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  3. 3
    + 1,812
    - 481


    Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

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  4. 4
    + 1,060
    - 414


    Dracula, The Lair of the White Worm, The Lady of the Shroud

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  5. 5
    + 906
    - 358


    The Omega Man, Duel, The Last Man on Earth

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  6. 6
    + 1,013
    - 330


    Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

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  7. 7
    + 1,152
    - 460


    Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

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  8. 8
    + 879
    - 366


    Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

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  9. 9
    + 676
    - 314


    Asylum, Psycho, The House That Dripped Blood

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  10. 10
    + 581
    - 261


    Best ghost stories of Algernon Blackwood., A Psychical Invasion, Four ...

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  11. 11
    + 747
    - 352


    The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, The ...

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  12. 12
    + 660
    - 326


    Ghost Story, Ghost Story, The Talisman

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  13. 13
    + 537
    - 301


    Incarnate, The Hungry Moon, Ancient Images

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  14. 14
    + 500
    - 297


    Night of the Demon, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, Collected Ghost Stories ...

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  15. 15
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Phantoms, Phantoms, Watchers

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  16. 16
    + 518
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    The Devil's Dictionary, The dance of death, In the midst of life

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  17. 17
    + 502
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Treasure Island, The Master of ...

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  18. 18
    + 377
    - 124

    ranked low on reranks & added by hasrvwill
    The Hill of Dreams, The Great God Pan, The Three Impostors

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  19. 19
    + 368
    - 146

    added by RonVickers
    The Nightmare Factory, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, Teatro Grottesco

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  20. 20
    + 467
    - 327


    The Exorcist, A Shot in the Dark, The Exorcist III

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  21. 21
    + 514
    - 349


    The Cellar, One Rainy Night, The Traveling Vampire Show

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  22. 22
    + 446
    - 325


    The Rats, The Fog, Fluke

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  23. 23
    + 604
    - 365


    Beowulf, Marvel 1602, American Gods

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  24. 24
    + 415
    - 299


    Conan the Barbarian, Conan, The Coming of Conan

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  25. 25
    + 347
    - 99

    ranked low on reranks & added by softserve
    The End of the Story, The Abominations of Yondo, Poems in Prose

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  26. 26
    + 534
    - 366


    Swan Song, Stinger, The Wolf's Hour

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  27. 27
    + 573
    - 439


    Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, The Queen of the ...

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  28. 28
    + 441
    - 296


    Carrion Comfort, Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion

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  29. 29
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    - 305

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Store, The association, The House

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  30. 30
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    Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel, Horns, Locke & Key Volume 4: Keys To The ...

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  31. 31
    + 261
    - 110

    ranked low on reranks & added by stephensonpy
    Night of the Eagle, Swords and Deviltry, Conjure Wife

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  32. 32
    + 352
    - 302


    Ghor, Kin-Slayer, Khai of Khem

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  33. 33
    + 318
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    Lost Souls, Exquisite Corpse, Liquor

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  34. 34
    + 376
    - 249


    The manitou, How to Drive Your Man Wild in Bed, Up all night

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  35. 35
    + 435
    - 321


    The Drive-In, Best of the Borderlands, DC Showcase Original Shorts ...

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  36. 36
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    ranked low on reranks
    The Keep, The Keep, Best of the Borderlands

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  37. 37
    + 279
    - 81

    ranked low on reranks
    The Time Machine, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Things to ...

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  38. 38
    + 496
    - 331


    The Woman, Off Season, The Girl Next Door

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  39. 39
    + 203
    - 106

    added by Spook22uk
    The Turn of the Screw, The Portrait of a Lady, The Golden Bowl

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  40. 40
    + 180
    - 66


    In a Glass Darkly, Vampires vs. Zombies, Uncle Silas

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  41. 41
    + 205
    - 66

    added by softserve
    The House on the Borderland, Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder

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  42. 42
    + 333
    - 322

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    God Project, The, Suffer the Children

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  43. 43
    + 278
    - 92

    ranked low on reranks & added by Spook22uk
    Hannibal Rising, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon

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  44. 44
    + 139
    - 71


    Trauma, The Ceremonies, Dark Gods

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  45. 45
    + 148
    - 84
    No image

    added by MatthewHarper
    The Late Breakfasters, Tales of Love and Death, The Eighth Fontana Book of ...

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  46. 46
    + 285
    - 245


    Ravenous, Live Girls, The Loveliest Dead

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  47. 47
    + 226
    - 87

    ranked low on reranks & added by Spook22uk
    Rebecca, Mary Anne, The Birds II: Land's End

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  48. 48
    + 163
    - 198

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Communion, Best of the Borderlands, Communion

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  49. 49
    + 338
    - 291


    The Rising, The Conqueror Worms, Terminal

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  50. 50
    + 224
    - 121

    ranked low on reranks & added by AuthorWilliamPattison
    Dreams with Sharp Teeth, The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the ...

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