Graveyard Shift

The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
92.2k votes 10.5k voters 225.3k views 256 items

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!
Ranker may collect a commission from links on this page.
list ordered by
1
H. P. Lovecraft is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, At the Mountains of Madness, The Dunwich Horror and Others
2
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Raven, Annabel Lee, The Fall of the House of Usher
3
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot
4
Bram Stoker is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Dracula, The Lair of the White Worm, The Lady of the Shroud
5
Clive Barker is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
6
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice
7
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings
8
Richard Matheson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Omega Man, Duel, The Last Man on Earth
9
Algernon Blackwood is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Best ghost stories of Algernon Blackwood., A Psychical Invasion, Four Weird Tales
10
Shirley Jackson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, The Lottery and Other Stories
11
Robert Bloch is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Asylum, Psycho, The House That Dripped Blood
12
M. R. James is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Night of the Demon, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, Collected Ghost Stories
13
Peter Straub is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Ghost Story, The Talisman, Black House
14
Ambrose Bierce is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Devil's Dictionary, The dance of death, In the midst of life
15
Arthur Machen is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
hasrvwill added The Hill of Dreams, The Great God Pan, The Three Impostors
16
Ramsey Campbell is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Incarnate, The Hungry Moon, Ancient Images
17
Dean Koontz is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Phantoms, Watchers, Demon Seed
18
Neil Gaiman is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Beowulf, Marvel 1602, American Gods
19
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Treasure Island, The Master of Ballantrae
20
Robert R. McCammon is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Swan Song, Stinger, The Wolf's Hour
21
Anne Rice is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, The Queen of the Damned, Interview with the Vampire
22
William Peter Blatty is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Exorcist, A Shot in the Dark, The Exorcist III
23
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Time Machine, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Things to Come
24
Thomas Harris is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Spook22uk added Hannibal Rising, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon
25
Clark Ashton Smith is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
softserve added The End of the Story, The Abominations of Yondo, Poems in Prose