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
    + 668
    - 164

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Stephen King

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  2. 2
    + 617
    - 140


    Stephen King

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  3. 3
    + 513
    - 112


    Stephen King

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  4. 4
    + 415
    - 135


    Bram Stoker

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  5. 5
    + 335
    - 79


    Edgar Allan Poe, Nextext

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  6. 6
    + 365
    - 54

    ranked low on reranks
    William Peter Blatty

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  7. 7
    + 402
    - 104


    Stephen King

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  8. 8
    + 284
    - 123

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Mary Shelley

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  9. 9
    + 424
    - 104


    Stephen King

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  10. 10
    + 272
    - 103


    Richard Matheson

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  11. 11
    + 199
    - 60


    Ira Levin

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  12. 12
    + 165
    - 28

    ranked low on reranks
    Ray Bradbury

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  13. 13
    + 231
    - 88

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Peter Straub

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  14. 14
    + 165
    - 39


    Robert Bloch

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  15. 15
    + 294
    - 52

    ranked low on reranks
    Thomas Harris

    ;
  16. 16
    + 167
    - 34


    H. P. Lovecraft

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  17. 17
    + 262
    - 58


    Stephen King

    ;
  18. 18
    + 234
    - 67


    H. P. Lovecraft

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  19. 19
    + 149
    - 39


    Clive Barker

    ;
  20. 20
    + 164
    - 21

    ranked low on reranks
    Stephen King

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  21. 21
    + 156
    - 61

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Robert Louis Stevenson

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  22. 22
    + 187
    - 39


    Stephen King

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  23. 23
    + 154
    - 36


    Stephen King

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  24. 24
    + 153
    - 71

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dean Koontz

    ;
  25. 25
    + 181
    - 33


    H. P. Lovecraft

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  26. 26
    + 199
    - 43


    Shirley Jackson

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  27. 27
    + 172
    - 60


    Oscar Wilde

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  28. 28
    + 142
    - 57


    Jay Anson

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  29. 29
    + 142
    - 50


    James Herbert

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  30. 30
    + 118
    - 39


    Henry James

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  31. 31
    + 133
    - 20

    ranked low on reranks
    Edgar Allan Poe

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  32. 32
    + 110
    - 24


    Stephen King

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  33. 33
    + 132
    - 37


    Robert R. McCammon

    ;
  34. 34
    + 163
    - 76


    Anne Rice

    ;
  35. 35
    + 95
    - 24


    Peter Benchley

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  36. 36
    + 105
    - 47

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Clive Barker

    ;
  37. 37
    + 105
    - 27


    Washington Irving

    ;
  38. 38
    + 121
    - 32


    Richard Matheson

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  39. 39
    + 132
    - 33


    Thomas Harris

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  40. 40
    + 119
    - 60


    Michael Crichton

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  41. 41
    + 103
    - 43


    Dan Simmons

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  42. 42
    + 45
    - 22

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Robert R. McCammon

    ;
  43. 43
    + 102
    - 39


    Joe Hill

    ;
  44. 44
    + 84
    - 39

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dan Simmons

    ;
  45. 45
    + 97
    - 29


    Clive Barker

    ;
  46. 46
    + 88
    - 32


    Dean Koontz

    ;
  47. 47
    + 81
    - 21

    added by ThomZ
    William Golding

    ;
  48. 48
    + 112
    - 40


    Stephen King

    ;
  49. 49
    + 75
    - 21


    Stephen King

    ;
  50. 50
    + 59
    - 36

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dean Koontz

    ;
177 +

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