The Scariest Novels of All Time Books
Vote List
2,046 votes 201 voters 10,675 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 76
    Down 18
    Stephen King More
  2. 2
    Up 66
    Down 15
    Stephen King More
  3. 3
    Up 53
    Down 10
    William Peter Blatty More
  4. 4
    Up 52
    Down 10
    Thomas Harris More
  5. 5
    Up 55
    Down 12
    Bram Stoker More
  6. 6
    Up 50
    Down 11
    Stephen King More
  7. 7
    Up 55
    Down 15
    Stephen King More
  8. 8
    Up 42
    Down 10
    Shirley Jackson More
  9. 9
    Up 30
    Down 5
    Ira Levin More
  10. 10
    Up 41
    Down 15
    Stephen King More
  11. 11
    Up 25
    Down 6
    Stephen King More
  12. 12
    Up 30
    Down 10
    Richard Matheson More
  13. 13
    Up 23
    Down 5
    Robert Bloch More
  14. 14
    Up 29
    Down 10
    H. P. Lovecraft More
  15. 15
    Up 30
    Down 11
    Henry James More
  16. 16
    Up 30
    Down 11
    Peter Straub More
  17. 17
    Up 25
    Down 8
    Ray Bradbury More
  18. 18
    Up 31
    Down 15
    Bret Easton Ellis More
  19. 19
    Up 20
    Down 7
    Washington Irving More
  20. 20
    Up 28
    Down 15
    Richard Matheson More
  21. 21
    Up 23
    Down 11
    Jay Anson More
  22. 22
    Up 17
    Down 6
    John Ajvide Lindqvist More
  23. 23
    Up 27
    Down 15
    Mary Shelley More
  24. 24
    Up 27
    Down 15
    H. G. Wells, Leon E. Stover, Lennart Peterson More
  25. 25
    Up 29
    Down 16
    Mark Z. Danielewski More
  26. 26
    Up 21
    Down 11
    Oscar Wilde More
  27. 27
    Up 15
    Down 6
    Scott Smith More
  28. 28
    Up 25
    Down 15

    The Descent

    Jeff Long More
  29. 29
    Up 13
    Down 5
    Stephen King More
  30. 30
    Up 8
    Down 1
    Dean Koontz More
    added by: cptron
  31. 31
    Up 10
    Down 3
    Dean Koontz More
  32. 32
    Up 15
    Down 8
    Thomas Ligotti More
  33. 33
    Up 15
    Down 8
    James Herbert More
  34. 34
    Up 10
    Down 4
    James Herbert More
  35. 35
    Up 12
    Down 6

    The Ritual

    Adam Nevill More
  36. 36
    Up 15
    Down 9
    Robert Louis Stevenson More
  37. 37
    Up 16
    Down 10
    Dan Simmons More
  38. 38
    Up 16
    Down 10
    Clive Barker More
  39. 39
    Up 20
    Down 14
    H. G. Wells More
  40. 40
    Up 8
    Down 3
    Clive Barker More
  41. 41
    Up 5
    Down 1
    No image

    IT by Stephen King

    added by: CarolGiles
  42. 42
    Up 7
    Down 3
    Dean Koontz More
  43. 43
    Up 9
    Down 5
    Ramsey Campbell More
  44. 44
    Up 11
    Down 7

    December

    Phil Rickman More
  45. 45
    Up 25
    Down 21
    Michael Crichton More
  46. 46
    Up 5
    Down 2
    Ray Garton More
  47. 47
    Up 5
    Down 2
    Peter Straub More
    added by: cptron
  48. 48
    Up 5
    Down 2
    Dean Koontz More
    added by: cptron
  49. 49
    Up 5
    Down 2
    Poppy Z. Brite More
  50. 50
    Up 5
    Down 2
    Richard Laymon More
  51. 89 +

    Something missing? Add it!

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS

items 1 - 50 of 88

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