The Greatest Horror Books of All Time Books
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The Greatest Horror Books of All Time

List Criteria: Scary / horror novels or other fiction

The greatest horror books of all time are books that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up just from the rustle of turning the pages. These scary horror novels are books you don't want to read at night (or by yourself) because they're just a little too scary. Many of these scary books have been turned into the scariest movies ever made, while others are too frightening to be imagined in real life.

From Stephen King classics like "The Shining" and "It" to classic stories like Bram Stoker's "Dracula" and Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein", these scary horror novels are known for their fright factor and smart writing that makes you believe the horrific events in the books are really possible.

What are the best horror novels? What is the scariest horror book? This list of the best horror novels is here to help you find a good scare on the written page. If you don't see your favorite horror book on the list of great scary novels, make sure to add it so other people can get the same fright you did.

If you're still looking for a good scare after peeking at this greatest horror books list, check out the scarefests in the best found footage films for a good scare.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
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  1. 1
    Up 230
    Down 35

    Stephen King

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  2. 2
    Up 201
    Down 45

    Stephen King

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  3. 3
    Up 142
    Down 31

    most listed Bram Stoker

    open report item
  4. 4
    Up 100
    Down 34

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Mary Shelley

    open report item
  5. 5
    Up 176
    Down 25

    ranked low on reranks Stephen King

    open report item
  6. 6
    Up 115
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    Richard Matheson

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  7. 7
    Up 93
    Down 22

    Peter Straub

    open report item
  8. 8
    Up 120
    Down 19

    Edgar Allan Poe, Nextext

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  9. 9
    Up 140
    Down 28

    Stephen King

    open report item
  10. 10
    Up 104
    Down 18

    H. P. Lovecraft

    open report item
  11. 11
    Up 61
    Down 13

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Robert Louis Stevenson

    open report item
  12. 12
    Up 113
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    William Peter Blatty

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  13. 13
    Up 128
    Down 24

    Stephen King

    open report item
  14. 14
    Up 70
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    Ira Levin

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  15. 15
    Up 68
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    Dean Koontz

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  16. 16
    Up 64
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    James Herbert

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  17. 17
    Up 44
    Down 9

    Henry James

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  18. 18
    Up 59
    Down 5

    ranked low on reranks Robert Bloch

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  19. 19
    Up 52
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    Dan Simmons

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  20. 20
    Up 52
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    Clive Barker

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  21. 21
    Up 56
    Down 9

    H. P. Lovecraft

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  22. 22
    Up 67
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    Oscar Wilde

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  23. 23
    Up 42
    Down 9

    Clive Barker

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  24. 24
    Up 57
    Down 8

    H. P. Lovecraft

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  25. 25
    Up 81
    Down 21

    Stephen King

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  26. 26
    Up 50
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Jay Anson

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  27. 27
    Up 54
    Down 9

    Ray Bradbury

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  28. 28
    Up 107
    Down 24

    ranked low on reranks Thomas Harris

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  29. 29
    Up 38
    Down 14

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Dan Simmons

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  30. 30
    Up 51
    Down 11

    Robert R. McCammon

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  31. 31
    Up 27
    Down 8

    often listed & ranked high on reranks James Herbert

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  32. 32
    Up 39
    Down 6

    Stephen King

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  33. 33
    Up 45
    Down 9

    ranked low on reranks Richard Matheson

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  34. 34
    Up 25
    Down 7

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Clive Barker

    open report item
  35. 35
    Up 30
    Down 13

    Robert R. McCammon

    open report item
  36. 36
    Up 1
    Down 0

    new! Robert R. McCammon

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  37. 37
    Up 70
    Down 16

    ranked low on reranks Shirley Jackson

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  38. 38
    Up 43
    Down 11

    ranked low on reranks Mark Z. Danielewski

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  39. 39
    Up 24
    Down 12

    Richard Laymon

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  40. 40
    Up 19
    Down 6

    Peter Straub

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  41. 41
    Up 22
    Down 9

    Ramsey Campbell

    open report item
  42. 42
    Up 24
    Down 12

    Richard Laymon

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  43. 43
    Up 21
    Down 10

    Dean Koontz

    open report item
  44. 44
    Up 44
    Down 7

    ranked low on reranks Washington Irving

    open report item
  45. 45
    Up 46
    Down 8

    ranked low on reranks Clive Barker

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  46. 46
    Up 53
    Down 28

    Anne Rice

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  47. 47
    Up 10
    Down 5

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Ramsey Campbell

    open report item
  48. 48
    Up 18
    Down 4

    Edgar Allan Poe

    open report item
  49. 49
    Up 38
    Down 6

    ranked low on reranks H. G. Wells

    open report item
  50. 50
    Up 32
    Down 13

    Richard Laymon

    open report item
  51. 157 +

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