horror books The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers  

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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
2,796 820
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

2
3,103 802
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
3,048 575
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
1,403 583
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
1,322 457
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

6
1,530 591
Clive Barker is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Clive Barker Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

7
1,122 481
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
1,184 494
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
839 395
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
722 350
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
961 419
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
852 411
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
1,064 747
Dean Koontz is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Dean Koontz Phantoms, Phantoms, Watchers

14
607 373
M. R. James is listed (or ranked) 14 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 All-Time Greatest Works of Stephen King

15
651 386
Ramsey Campbell is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Ramsey Campbell Incarnate, The Hungry Moon, Ancient Images

16
626 439
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
627 320
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
478 187
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
604 393
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
694 422
Robert R. McCammon is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Robert R. McCammon Swan Song, Stinger, The Wolf's Hour

21
570 391
James Herbert is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
James Herbert The Rats, The Fog, Fluke

35 Awesome Behind the Scenes Pictures of Movie Monsters

22
762 556
Anne Rice is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
764 448
Neil Gaiman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Neil Gaiman Beowulf, Marvel 1602, American Gods

24
626 431
Richard Laymon is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Richard Laymon The Cellar, One Rainy Night, The Traveling Vampire Show

25
451 205
Thomas Ligotti is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
RonVickers added Thomas Ligotti The Nightmare Factory, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, Teatro Grottesco

26
504 367
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
561 357
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
415 154
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

The Scariest Novels of All Time

29
754 445
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

30
428 363
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
408 359
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
321 154
Fritz Leiber is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
stephensonpy added Fritz Leiber Night of the Eagle, Swords and Deviltry, Conjure Wife

33
440 127
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
518 370
Joe R. Lansdale is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Joe R. Lansdale The Drive-In, Best of the Borderlands, DC Showcase Original Shorts Collection

35
450 297
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

The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written

36
382 334
Poppy Z. Brite is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Poppy Z. Brite Lost Souls, Exquisite Corpse, Liquor

37
281 149
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
586 387
Jack Ketchum is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Jack Ketchum The Woman, Off Season, The Girl Next Door

39
708 407
F. Paul Wilson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
F. Paul Wilson The Keep, The Keep, Best of the Borderlands

40
410 381
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
257 112
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
262 110
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

Celebrities You Didn't Know Use Stage Names

43
403 135
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

44
310 122
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
194 116
T. E. D. Klein is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
T. E. D. Klein Trauma, The Ceremonies, Dark Gods

46
323 292
Ray Garton is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Ray Garton Ravenous, Live Girls, The Loveliest Dead

47
400 346
Brian Keene is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Brian Keene The Rising, The Conqueror Worms, Terminal

48
189 127
Robert Aickman is listed (or ranked) 48 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

49
298 168
Harlan Ellison is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
AuthorWilliamPattison added Harlan Ellison Dreams with Sharp Teeth, The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World, The Glass Teat

50
357 198
Richard Bachman is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
hasrvwill added Richard Bachman