The Scariest Novels of All Time Books
Vote List
89  items 2,706 votes 253 voters 13,849 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
The List
Comment
Embed
Options
rerank list
  1. 1
    Up 69
    Down 10

    William Peter Blatty

    open buy @ amazon
  2. 2
    Up 69
    Down 11

    Thomas Harris

    open buy @ amazon
  3. 3
    Up 72
    Down 12

    Bram Stoker

    open buy @ amazon
  4. 4
    Up 86
    Down 19

    Stephen King

    open buy @ amazon
  5. 5
    Up 91
    Down 23

    Stephen King

    open buy @ amazon
  6. 6
    Up 66
    Down 16

    Stephen King

    open buy @ amazon
  7. 7
    Up 61
    Down 13

    Stephen King

    open buy @ amazon
  8. 8
    Up 53
    Down 11

    Shirley Jackson

    open buy @ amazon
  9. 9
    Up 39
    Down 7

    Ira Levin

    open buy @ amazon
  10. 10
    Up 53
    Down 17

    Stephen King

    open buy @ amazon
  11. 11
    Up 33
    Down 7

    Stephen King

    open buy @ amazon
  12. 12
    Up 39
    Down 12

    H. P. Lovecraft

    open buy @ amazon
  13. 13
    Up 41
    Down 14

    Peter Straub

    open buy @ amazon
  14. 14
    Up 30
    Down 6

    Robert Bloch

    open buy @ amazon
  15. 15
    Up 38
    Down 13

    Henry James

    open buy @ amazon
  16. 16
    Up 36
    Down 12

    Richard Matheson

    open buy @ amazon
  17. 17
    Up 42
    Down 17

    Bret Easton Ellis

    open buy @ amazon
  18. 18
    Up 38
    Down 15

    Mary Shelley

    open buy @ amazon
  19. 19
    Up 13
    Down 1

    added by cptron Dean Koontz

    open buy @ amazon
  20. 20
    Up 32
    Down 11

    Ray Bradbury

    open buy @ amazon
  21. 21
    Up 40
    Down 18

    Mark Z. Danielewski

    open buy @ amazon
  22. 22
    Up 35
    Down 15

    Richard Matheson

    open buy @ amazon
  23. 23
    Up 32
    Down 15

    Jay Anson

    open buy @ amazon
  24. 24
    Up 19
    Down 4

    Dean Koontz

    open buy @ amazon
  25. 25
    Up 25
    Down 10

    Robert Louis Stevenson

    open buy @ amazon
  26. 26
    Up 33
    Down 17

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

    open buy @ amazon
  27. 27
    Up 21
    Down 7

    Stephen King

    open buy @ amazon
  28. 28
    Up 24
    Down 10

    Washington Irving

    open buy @ amazon
  29. 29
    Up 32
    Down 17

    The Descent Jeff Long

    open buy @ amazon
  30. 30
    Up 28
    Down 14

    Oscar Wilde

    open buy @ amazon
  31. 31
    Up 21
    Down 8

    Scott Smith

    open buy @ amazon
  32. 32
    Up 21
    Down 9

    John Ajvide Lindqvist

    open buy @ amazon
  33. 33
    Up 13
    Down 2

    added by cptron Dean Koontz

    open buy @ amazon
  34. 34
    Up 16
    Down 5

    James Herbert

    open buy @ amazon
  35. 35
    Up 21
    Down 10

    James Herbert

    open buy @ amazon
  36. 36
    Up 22
    Down 11

    Dan Simmons

    open buy @ amazon
  37. 37
    Up 11
    Down 2

    added by cptron Dean Koontz

    open buy @ amazon
  38. 38
    Up 13
    Down 4

    Dean Koontz

    open buy @ amazon
  39. 39
    Up 24
    Down 16

    H. G. Wells

    open buy @ amazon
  40. 40
    Up 32
    Down 24

    Michael Crichton

    open buy @ amazon
  41. 41
    Up 9
    Down 2

    Peter Benchley

    open buy @ amazon
  42. 42
    Up 9
    Down 3

    added by cptron James Herbert

    open buy @ amazon
  43. 43
    Up 10
    Down 4

    Clive Barker

    open buy @ amazon
  44. 44
    Up 12
    Down 6

    Clive Barker

    open buy @ amazon
  45. 45
    Up 16
    Down 11

    Thomas Ligotti

    open buy @ amazon
  46. 46
    Up 14
    Down 9

    The Ritual Adam Nevill

    open buy @ amazon
  47. 47
    Up 12
    Down 7

    Ramsey Campbell

    open buy @ amazon
  48. 48
    Up 12
    Down 7

    Peter Straub

    open buy @ amazon
  49. 49
    Up 18
    Down 13

    Clive Barker

    open buy @ amazon
  50. 50
    Up 14
    Down 10

    H. G. Wells

    open buy @ amazon
90 +

Something missing? Add it!

think you can do better?

Rerank This List

got a blog or website?

embed this list

viewers of this list also saw...

more popular lists