The Greatest Horror Books of All Time

17k votes 2k voters 131k views 175 items tags f p @

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
    + 645
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    the people's #1 & most listed
    Stephen King

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  2. 2
    + 589
    - 138


    Stephen King

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  3. 3
    + 490
    - 108


    Stephen King

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  4. 4
    + 398
    - 134


    Bram Stoker

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  5. 5
    + 322
    - 74


    Edgar Allan Poe, Nextext

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  6. 6
    + 402
    - 101


    Stephen King

    ;
  7. 7
    + 349
    - 52

    ranked low on reranks
    William Peter Blatty

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  8. 8
    + 382
    - 100


    Stephen King

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  9. 9
    + 273
    - 121

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Mary Shelley

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  10. 10
    + 267
    - 99


    Richard Matheson

    ;
  11. 11
    + 192
    - 58


    Ira Levin

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  12. 12
    + 281
    - 50

    ranked low on reranks
    Thomas Harris

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  13. 13
    + 225
    - 65


    H. P. Lovecraft

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  14. 14
    + 246
    - 55


    Stephen King

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  15. 15
    + 159
    - 27


    Ray Bradbury

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  16. 16
    + 157
    - 36


    Robert Bloch

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  17. 17
    + 221
    - 85


    Peter Straub

    ;
  18. 18
    + 179
    - 39


    Stephen King

    ;
  19. 19
    + 143
    - 33


    Stephen King

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  20. 20
    + 158
    - 33


    H. P. Lovecraft

    ;
  21. 21
    + 144
    - 37


    Clive Barker

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  22. 22
    + 149
    - 71

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dean Koontz

    ;
  23. 23
    + 147
    - 60


    Robert Louis Stevenson

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  24. 24
    + 150
    - 20

    ranked low on reranks
    Stephen King

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  25. 25
    + 140
    - 47

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    James Herbert

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  26. 26
    + 123
    - 17

    ranked low on reranks
    Edgar Allan Poe

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  27. 27
    + 112
    - 35

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Henry James

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  28. 28
    + 169
    - 31

    ranked low on reranks
    H. P. Lovecraft

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  29. 29
    + 129
    - 34


    Robert R. McCammon

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  30. 30
    + 189
    - 39

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    Shirley Jackson

    ;
  31. 31
    + 164
    - 57


    Oscar Wilde

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  32. 32
    + 136
    - 55


    Jay Anson

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  33. 33
    + 116
    - 29


    Richard Matheson

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  34. 34
    + 101
    - 45

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Clive Barker

    ;
  35. 35
    + 98
    - 24


    Stephen King

    ;
  36. 36
    + 157
    - 71


    Anne Rice

    ;
  37. 37
    + 112
    - 56


    Michael Crichton

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  38. 38
    + 124
    - 31

    ranked low on reranks
    Thomas Harris

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  39. 39
    + 100
    - 40


    Dan Simmons

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  40. 40
    + 45
    - 20

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Robert R. McCammon

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  41. 41
    + 89
    - 21

    ranked low on reranks
    Peter Benchley

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  42. 42
    + 84
    - 35


    Dan Simmons

    ;
  43. 43
    + 97
    - 26


    Washington Irving

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  44. 44
    + 98
    - 38


    Joe Hill

    ;
  45. 45
    + 95
    - 27


    Clive Barker

    ;
  46. 46
    + 85
    - 30


    Dean Koontz

    ;
  47. 47
    + 58
    - 35

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dean Koontz

    ;
  48. 48
    + 59
    - 37

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Robert R. McCammon

    ;
  49. 49
    + 70
    - 19


    Stephen King

    ;
  50. 50
    + 105
    - 40

    ranked low on reranks
    Stephen King

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