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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  1. 1
    + 754
    - 184

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Stephen King

    ;
  2. 2
    + 704
    - 159


    Stephen King

    ;
  3. 3
    + 472
    - 145


    Bram Stoker

    ;
  4. 4
    + 408
    - 93


    Edgar Allan Poe, Nextext

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  5. 5
    + 582
    - 125


    Stephen King

    ;
  6. 6
    + 331
    - 135

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Mary Shelley

    ;
  7. 7
    + 474
    - 118


    Stephen King

    ;
  8. 8
    + 490
    - 117


    Stephen King

    ;
  9. 9
    + 418
    - 62

    ranked low on reranks
    William Peter Blatty

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  10. 10
    + 238
    - 67


    Ira Levin

    ;
  11. 11
    + 260
    - 96


    Peter Straub

    ;
  12. 12
    + 261
    - 74


    H. P. Lovecraft

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  13. 13
    + 299
    - 119

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Richard Matheson

    ;
  14. 14
    + 244
    - 47


    Stephen King

    ;
  15. 15
    + 209
    - 38


    H. P. Lovecraft

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  16. 16
    + 199
    - 33


    Ray Bradbury

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  17. 17
    + 188
    - 40


    H. P. Lovecraft

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  18. 18
    + 181
    - 79

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dean Koontz

    ;
  19. 19
    + 347
    - 57

    ranked low on reranks
    Thomas Harris

    ;
  20. 20
    + 328
    - 65

    ranked low on reranks
    Stephen King

    ;
  21. 21
    + 189
    - 44


    Robert Bloch

    ;
  22. 22
    + 218
    - 29

    ranked low on reranks
    Stephen King

    ;
  23. 23
    + 197
    - 49


    Stephen King

    ;
  24. 24
    + 191
    - 67


    Robert Louis Stevenson

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  25. 25
    + 171
    - 44


    Clive Barker

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  26. 26
    + 179
    - 24

    ranked low on reranks
    Edgar Allan Poe

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  27. 27
    + 198
    - 88

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Anne Rice

    ;
  28. 28
    + 146
    - 34


    Stephen King

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  29. 29
    + 206
    - 66


    Oscar Wilde

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  30. 30
    + 176
    - 64


    Jay Anson

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  31. 31
    + 222
    - 48

    ranked low on reranks
    Shirley Jackson

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  32. 32
    + 155
    - 55


    James Herbert

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  33. 33
    + 137
    - 50


    Henry James

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  34. 34
    + 119
    - 52

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Clive Barker

    ;
  35. 35
    + 148
    - 45


    Robert R. McCammon

    ;
  36. 36
    + 148
    - 71

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Michael Crichton

    ;
  37. 37
    + 132
    - 32


    Washington Irving

    ;
  38. 38
    + 140
    - 35


    Richard Matheson

    ;
  39. 39
    + 119
    - 32


    Peter Benchley

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  40. 40
    + 158
    - 39


    Thomas Harris

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  41. 41
    + 126
    - 30

    added by ThomZ
    William Golding

    ;
  42. 42
    + 106
    - 31


    Stephen King

    ;
  43. 43
    + 153
    - 47


    Stephen King

    ;
  44. 44
    + 111
    - 37


    Stephen King

    ;
  45. 45
    + 112
    - 50


    Dan Simmons

    ;
  46. 46
    + 117
    - 38


    Dean Koontz

    ;
  47. 47
    + 54
    - 29

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Robert R. McCammon

    ;
  48. 48
    + 115
    - 33


    Clive Barker

    ;
  49. 49
    + 90
    - 21
    ;
  50. 50
    + 112
    - 47


    Joe Hill

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178 +

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