The Greatest Horror Books of All Time

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List Criteria: Scary / horror novels or other freaky works of 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.
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  • 15 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 624
    - 151

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Stephen King

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  2. 2
    + 553
    - 134


    Stephen King

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  3. 3
    + 470
    - 103


    Stephen King

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  4. 4
    + 379
    - 129


    Bram Stoker

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  5. 5
    + 307
    - 73


    Edgar Allan Poe, Nextext

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  6. 6
    + 381
    - 95


    Stephen King

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  7. 7
    + 263
    - 113

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Mary Shelley

    ;
  8. 8
    + 333
    - 50

    ranked low on reranks
    William Peter Blatty

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  9. 9
    + 362
    - 94


    Stephen King

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  10. 10
    + 258
    - 95

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Richard Matheson

    ;
  11. 11
    + 181
    - 55


    Ira Levin

    ;
  12. 12
    + 268
    - 49


    Thomas Harris

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  13. 13
    + 233
    - 52

    ranked low on reranks
    Stephen King

    ;
  14. 14
    + 215
    - 81


    Peter Straub

    ;
  15. 15
    + 213
    - 65


    H. P. Lovecraft

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  16. 16
    + 151
    - 35


    Robert Bloch

    ;
  17. 17
    + 148
    - 27


    Ray Bradbury

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  18. 18
    + 167
    - 38


    Stephen King

    ;
  19. 19
    + 136
    - 32


    Stephen King

    ;
  20. 20
    + 146
    - 32


    H. P. Lovecraft

    ;
  21. 21
    + 133
    - 36


    Clive Barker

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  22. 22
    + 141
    - 69

    often listed
    Dean Koontz

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  23. 23
    + 140
    - 59


    Robert Louis Stevenson

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  24. 24
    + 136
    - 46


    James Herbert

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  25. 25
    + 140
    - 20

    ranked low on reranks
    Stephen King

    ;
  26. 26
    + 105
    - 33

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Henry James

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  27. 27
    + 123
    - 32


    Robert R. McCammon

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  28. 28
    + 180
    - 38

    ranked low on reranks
    Shirley Jackson

    ;
  29. 29
    + 156
    - 30

    ranked low on reranks
    H. P. Lovecraft

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  30. 30
    + 156
    - 54


    Oscar Wilde

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  31. 31
    + 111
    - 17


    Edgar Allan Poe

    ;
  32. 32
    + 128
    - 54


    Jay Anson

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  33. 33
    + 99
    - 43


    Clive Barker

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  34. 34
    + 110
    - 29


    Richard Matheson

    ;
  35. 35
    + 120
    - 28

    ranked low on reranks
    Thomas Harris

    ;
  36. 36
    + 97
    - 38


    Dan Simmons

    ;
  37. 37
    + 91
    - 24


    Stephen King

    ;
  38. 38
    + 105
    - 52


    Michael Crichton

    ;
  39. 39
    + 150
    - 70


    Anne Rice

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  40. 40
    + 85
    - 20


    Peter Benchley

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  41. 41
    + 42
    - 20

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Robert R. McCammon

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  42. 42
    + 79
    - 34


    Dan Simmons

    ;
  43. 43
    + 95
    - 36


    Joe Hill

    ;
  44. 44
    + 94
    - 26


    Clive Barker

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  45. 45
    + 91
    - 26


    Washington Irving

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  46. 46
    + 77
    - 29


    Dean Koontz

    ;
  47. 47
    + 57
    - 36

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Robert R. McCammon

    ;
  48. 48
    + 99
    - 38


    Stephen King

    ;
  49. 49
    + 53
    - 34

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dean Koontz

    ;
  50. 50
    + 86
    - 32

    ranked low on reranks
    Mark Z. Danielewski

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