The Scariest Novels of All Time Books
Vote List
2,144 votes 210 voters 11,229 views by  Power
Ranker
more info

The Scariest Novels of All Time

List Criteria: Scary novels, horror and otherwise.

What are the scariest novels of all time? Not surprisingly, a lot of the books listed here are from the horror genre, but there are other, just as terrifying books to read as well. Can anyone argue that Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' wasn't terrifying in its own way? Exactly. We're all scared by different things and subjects, and our reading choices reflect this quite often. So vote for the scariest books you've ever read (or really want to read) and vote down any you didn't like. And please, definitely add any scary novels that might be missing from the list!

Some of the scariest novels of all time involve monsters. After all, readers have been obsessed with the supernatural for hundreds of years. There is a reason that Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' consistently winds up at or near the top of lists like this one. Ghosts also make for frightening novels: 'Hell House,' anyone? If you haven't read it, make sure you do so - but not at night. And not if you are alone. Ever. It is without a doubt deserving of a place among the greatest horror books of all time.

Not surprisingly, a lot of the books on this list of scary novels were made into excellent horror movies. Some also have heavy elements of science fiction -- 'I Am Legend' is a great example, though nearly all of Richard Matheson's novels and stories would certainly qualify for a place on this list. Some of the best science fiction authors wrote some seriously creepy stuff.

And yes, no list of anything involving the scariest books of all time would be complete without a hefty dose of Stephen King. King is a master. In doubt? Check out this list of the greatest all-time Stephen King works. It's impressive.
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
</> Rerank List
  1. 1
    Up 70
    Down 15

    Stephen King

    open report item
  2. 2
    Up 76
    Down 20

    Stephen King

    open report item
  3. 3
    Up 54
    Down 10

    William Peter Blatty

    open report item
  4. 4
    Up 55
    Down 11

    Thomas Harris

    open report item
  5. 5
    Up 56
    Down 12

    Bram Stoker

    open report item
  6. 6
    Up 52
    Down 12

    Stephen King

    open report item
  7. 7
    Up 55
    Down 15

    Stephen King

    open report item
  8. 8
    Up 44
    Down 10

    Shirley Jackson

    open report item
  9. 9
    Up 32
    Down 6

    Ira Levin

    open report item
  10. 10
    Up 42
    Down 15

    Stephen King

    open report item
  11. 11
    Up 32
    Down 10

    H. P. Lovecraft

    open report item
  12. 12
    Up 26
    Down 6

    Stephen King

    open report item
  13. 13
    Up 31
    Down 11

    Henry James

    open report item
  14. 14
    Up 23
    Down 5

    Robert Bloch

    open report item
  15. 15
    Up 30
    Down 11

    Richard Matheson

    open report item
  16. 16
    Up 27
    Down 9

    Ray Bradbury

    open report item
  17. 17
    Up 30
    Down 12

    Peter Straub

    open report item
  18. 18
    Up 33
    Down 16

    Bret Easton Ellis

    open report item
  19. 19
    Up 31
    Down 16

    Mark Z. Danielewski

    open report item
  20. 20
    Up 25
    Down 11

    Jay Anson

    open report item
  21. 21
    Up 29
    Down 15

    Mary Shelley

    open report item
  22. 22
    Up 28
    Down 15

    Richard Matheson

    open report item
  23. 23
    Up 28
    Down 15

    H. G. Wells, Leon E. Stover, Lennart Peterson

    open report item
  24. 24
    Up 28
    Down 15

    The Descent Jeff Long

    open report item
  25. 25
    Up 24
    Down 12

    Oscar Wilde

    open report item
  26. 26
    Up 20
    Down 9

    Washington Irving

    open report item
  27. 27
    Up 15
    Down 5

    Stephen King

    open report item
  28. 28
    Up 17
    Down 7

    John Ajvide Lindqvist

    open report item
  29. 29
    Up 15
    Down 6

    Scott Smith

    open report item
  30. 30
    Up 11
    Down 3

    Dean Koontz

    open report item
  31. 31
    Up 8
    Down 1

    added by cptron Dean Koontz

    open report item
  32. 32
    Up 16
    Down 8

    James Herbert

    open report item
  33. 33
    Up 11
    Down 4

    James Herbert

    open report item
  34. 34
    Up 15
    Down 8

    Thomas Ligotti

    open report item
  35. 35
    Up 21
    Down 14

    H. G. Wells

    open report item
  36. 36
    Up 6
    Down 1

    added by CarolGiles IT by Stephen King

    open report item
  37. 37
    Up 16
    Down 10

    Dan Simmons

    open report item
  38. 38
    Up 16
    Down 10

    Robert Louis Stevenson

    open report item
  39. 39
    Up 7
    Down 2

    added by cptron Richard Laymon

    open report item
  40. 40
    Up 12
    Down 7

    The Ritual Adam Nevill

    open report item
  41. 41
    Up 16
    Down 11

    Clive Barker

    open report item
  42. 42
    Up 26
    Down 21

    Michael Crichton

    open report item
  43. 43
    Up 6
    Down 2

    added by cptron Dean Koontz

    open report item
  44. 44
    Up 6
    Down 2

    added by cptron Dean Koontz

    open report item
  45. 45
    Up 7
    Down 3

    Dean Koontz

    open report item
  46. 46
    Up 3
    Down 0

    Peter Benchley

    open report item
  47. 47
    Up 8
    Down 4

    Clive Barker

    open report item
  48. 48
    Up 9
    Down 5

    Ramsey Campbell

    open report item
  49. 49
    Up 11
    Down 7

    December Phil Rickman

    open report item
  50. 50
    Up 5
    Down 2

    Poppy Z. Brite

    open report item
  51. 91 +

    Something missing? Add it!

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS

items 1 - 50 of 90

think you can do better?

Rerank This List
why?

got a blog or website?

embed this list
why?

viewers of this list also saw

more popular lists