The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers

Over 16.8K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Voting 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!
Most divisive: Adam Nevill
Ranked by
  • H. P. Lovecraft
    6,935 votes
    The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, At the Mountains of Madness, The Dunwich Horror and Others
  • Edgar Allan Poe
    6,462 votes
    The Raven, Annabel Lee, The Fall of the House of Usher
  • Stephen King
    8,804 votes
    Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot
  • Mary Shelley
    3,261 votes
    Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice
  • Ray Bradbury
    3,125 votes
    Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings
  • Shirley Jackson
    2,721 votes
    The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, The Lottery and Other Stories