Graveyard Shift The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers  

Ranker Community
Originally by
70.5k votes 7.5k voters 176.7k views 229 items Embed

List Rules Authors who have written any type of fiction in the horror genre.

The best horror novelists include some great authors who manage to weave fantastical tales of horror that leave readers scared out of their wits. The horror fiction authors on this list write novels that can strike fear into the heart of virtually any reader, using elements of horror and dark fantasy. Whether it's a classic ghost novel or a book that features real-life evil (like serial killers), these horror novelists are some of the best in the horror genre. Be sure to vote for your favorite horror writers, and add your own personal favorite horror novelist if you don't see them on this list!

Some of the best horror writers on this list will be instantly recognizable. Horror authors like Stephen King and Dean Koontz, for example, are very well-known, popular modern horror fiction writers. I've also included some of the original, classic horror novelists, including the incomparable H.P. Lovecraft and the master, Edgar Allan Poe. Gothic horror writers like Maurice Level are included, as well. You'll notice that some of the top horror writers on the list are also known as science fiction writers and/or fantasy authors, including Ray Bradbury. There is some overlap, and I feel it's important to include these horror and dark fantasy writers as well. In addition, some of the best horror novelists on this list are winners of the prestigious Bram Stoker Award (Richard Matheson, Clive Barker and King, among them) for outstanding achievement in horror writing.

The hope is that with you, the reader, will help to contribute the names of your favorite horror writers and this list of the best horror novelists of all-time will continue to grow - serving as a great, comprehensive guide for anyone who wants to find a new horror fiction author to read! From the famous horror writers who everyone should read at least once, to the lesser known, but still super scary authors that horror buffs should give a try, you'll find it all on this list!
list ordered by

1
2,476 685
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Edgar Allan Poe The Raven, Annabel Lee, The Fall of the House of Usher

The Greatest Horror Films of All Time 35 Awesome Behind the Scenes Pictures of Movie Monsters

2
2,656 653
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Stephen King Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

3
2,673 506
H. P. Lovecraft is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
H. P. Lovecraft The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, At the Mountains of Madness, The Dunwich Horror and Others

4
1,256 516
Bram Stoker is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Bram Stoker Dracula, The Lair of the White Worm, The Lady of the Shroud

5
1,373 526
Clive Barker is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Clive Barker Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

6
1,191 410
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

7
1,007 439
Richard Matheson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Richard Matheson The Omega Man, Duel, The Last Man on Earth

8
1,053 430
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

9
758 370
Robert Bloch is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Robert Bloch Asylum, Psycho, The House That Dripped Blood

10
647 320
Algernon Blackwood is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Algernon Blackwood Best ghost stories of Algernon Blackwood., A Psychical Invasion, Four Weird Tales

11
852 390
Shirley Jackson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Shirley Jackson The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, The Lottery and Other Stories

12
769 378
Peter Straub is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Peter Straub Ghost Story, Ghost Story, The Talisman

13
942 673
Dean Koontz is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Dean Koontz Phantoms, Phantoms, Watchers

14
570 394
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Robert Louis Stevenson Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Treasure Island, The Master of Ballantrae

15
541 344
M. R. James is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
M. R. James Night of the Demon, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, Collected Ghost Stories

The Scariest Novels of All Time The Best Books Written Under Pen Names

16
579 354
Ramsey Campbell is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Ramsey Campbell Incarnate, The Hungry Moon, Ancient Images

17
567 289
Ambrose Bierce is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Ambrose Bierce The Devil's Dictionary, The dance of death, In the midst of life

18
423 158
Arthur Machen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
hasrvwill added Arthur Machen The Hill of Dreams, The Great God Pan, The Three Impostors

19
538 359
William Peter Blatty is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
William Peter Blatty The Exorcist, A Shot in the Dark, The Exorcist III

20
516 356
James Herbert is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
James Herbert The Rats, The Fog, Fluke

21
406 178
Thomas Ligotti is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
RonVickers added Thomas Ligotti The Nightmare Factory, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, Teatro Grottesco

22
617 392
Robert R. McCammon is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Robert R. McCammon Swan Song, Stinger, The Wolf's Hour

23
699 398
Neil Gaiman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Neil Gaiman Beowulf, Marvel 1602, American Gods

24
679 487
Anne Rice is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Anne Rice Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, The Queen of the Damned, Interview with the Vampire

25
564 393
Richard Laymon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Richard Laymon The Cellar, One Rainy Night, The Traveling Vampire Show

26
469 336
Robert E. Howard is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Robert E. Howard Conan the Barbarian, Conan, The Coming of Conan

27
494 326
Dan Simmons is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Dan Simmons Carrion Comfort, Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion

28
378 128
Clark Ashton Smith is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
softserve added Clark Ashton Smith The End of the Story, The Abominations of Yondo, Poems in Prose

29
677 408
Joe Hill is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Joe Hill Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel, Horns, Locke & Key Volume 4: Keys To The Kingdom

14 Celebrities Who Are Heirs The Greatest Horror Books of All Time

30
388 336
Bentley Little is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Bentley Little The Store, The association, The House

31
379 326
Brian Lumley is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Brian Lumley Ghor, Kin-Slayer, Khai of Khem

32
341 297
Poppy Z. Brite is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Poppy Z. Brite Lost Souls, Exquisite Corpse, Liquor

33
283 135
Fritz Leiber is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
stephensonpy added Fritz Leiber Night of the Eagle, Swords and Deviltry, Conjure Wife

34
372 99
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
H. G. Wells The Time Machine, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Things to Come

35
410 275
Graham Masterton is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Graham Masterton The manitou, How to Drive Your Man Wild in Bed, Up all night

36
465 349
Joe R. Lansdale is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Joe R. Lansdale The Drive-In, Best of the Borderlands, DC Showcase Original Shorts Collection

37
245 122
Henry James is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Spook22uk added Henry James The Turn of the Screw, The Portrait of a Lady, The Golden Bowl

38
668 384
F. Paul Wilson is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
F. Paul Wilson The Keep, The Keep, Best of the Borderlands

39
515 362
Jack Ketchum is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Jack Ketchum The Woman, Off Season, The Girl Next Door

40
370 347
John Saul is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
John Saul God Project, The, Suffer the Children

41
216 87
Sheridan Le Fanu is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Sheridan Le Fanu In a Glass Darkly, Vampires vs. Zombies, Uncle Silas

42
235 86
William Hope Hodgson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
softserve added William Hope Hodgson The House on the Borderland, Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder

43
347 107
Thomas Harris is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Spook22uk added Thomas Harris Hannibal Rising, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon

The Best Movies Based on Short Stories The Best Steakhouses in Los Angeles

44
268 100
Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Spook22uk added Daphne du Maurier Rebecca, Mary Anne, The Birds II: Land's End

45
168 104
Robert Aickman is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
MatthewHarper added Robert Aickman The Late Breakfasters, Tales of Love and Death, The Eighth Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories

46
158 93
T. E. D. Klein is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
T. E. D. Klein Trauma, The Ceremonies, Dark Gods

47
293 268
Ray Garton is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Ray Garton Ravenous, Live Girls, The Loveliest Dead

48
316 164
Richard Bachman is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
hasrvwill added Richard Bachman

49
175 224
Whitley Strieber is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Whitley Strieber Communion, Best of the Borderlands, Communion

50
355 315
Brian Keene is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Brian Keene The Rising, The Conqueror Worms, Terminal