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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  • 17 ReRanks
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  1. 1
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    the people's #1 & most listed
    Stephen King

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  2. 2
    + 673
    - 153


    Stephen King

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  3. 3
    + 456
    - 144

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Bram Stoker

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  4. 4
    + 559
    - 122


    Stephen King

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  5. 5
    + 389
    - 88


    Edgar Allan Poe, Nextext

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  6. 6
    + 317
    - 132

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Mary Shelley

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  7. 7
    + 403
    - 59

    ranked low on reranks
    William Peter Blatty

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  8. 8
    + 453
    - 114


    Stephen King

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  9. 9
    + 472
    - 112


    Stephen King

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  10. 10
    + 248
    - 95


    Peter Straub

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  11. 11
    + 226
    - 66


    Ira Levin

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  12. 12
    + 288
    - 117

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Richard Matheson

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  13. 13
    + 195
    - 30

    ranked low on reranks
    Ray Bradbury

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  14. 14
    + 251
    - 73


    H. P. Lovecraft

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  15. 15
    + 316
    - 62

    ranked low on reranks
    Stephen King

    ;
  16. 16
    + 331
    - 55

    ranked low on reranks
    Thomas Harris

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  17. 17
    + 180
    - 43


    Robert Bloch

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  18. 18
    + 182
    - 64


    Robert Louis Stevenson

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  19. 19
    + 204
    - 27

    ranked low on reranks
    Stephen King

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  20. 20
    + 179
    - 38


    H. P. Lovecraft

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  21. 21
    + 227
    - 45


    Stephen King

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  22. 22
    + 170
    - 77

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dean Koontz

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  23. 23
    + 164
    - 43


    Clive Barker

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  24. 24
    + 186
    - 46


    Stephen King

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  25. 25
    + 200
    - 37


    H. P. Lovecraft

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  26. 26
    + 199
    - 65


    Oscar Wilde

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  27. 27
    + 166
    - 61


    Jay Anson

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  28. 28
    + 168
    - 23


    Edgar Allan Poe

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  29. 29
    + 213
    - 48


    Shirley Jackson

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  30. 30
    + 189
    - 85


    Anne Rice

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  31. 31
    + 153
    - 53


    James Herbert

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  32. 32
    + 136
    - 32


    Stephen King

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  33. 33
    + 133
    - 47


    Henry James

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  34. 34
    + 137
    - 43


    Robert R. McCammon

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  35. 35
    + 126
    - 31


    Washington Irving

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  36. 36
    + 113
    - 30


    Peter Benchley

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  37. 37
    + 117
    - 50

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Clive Barker

    ;
  38. 38
    + 132
    - 35


    Richard Matheson

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  39. 39
    + 153
    - 38


    Thomas Harris

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  40. 40
    + 140
    - 69

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Michael Crichton

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  41. 41
    + 117
    - 27

    ranked low on reranks & added by ThomZ
    William Golding

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  42. 42
    + 107
    - 48


    Dan Simmons

    ;
  43. 43
    + 111
    - 36


    Dean Koontz

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  44. 44
    + 143
    - 44

    ranked low on reranks
    Stephen King

    ;
  45. 45
    + 48
    - 27

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Robert R. McCammon

    ;
  46. 46
    + 110
    - 32


    Clive Barker

    ;
  47. 47
    + 107
    - 44


    Joe Hill

    ;
  48. 48
    + 84
    - 20
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  49. 49
    + 69
    - 38

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dean Koontz

    ;
  50. 50
    + 73
    - 22


    Ira Levin

    ;
178 +

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