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
2,683 766
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
2,960 742
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
2,928 556
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
1,355 558
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
1,487 572
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
1,280 445
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
1,093 467
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
1,147 475
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
820 388
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
698 342
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
936 405
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
837 401
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
1,029 729
Dean Koontz is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Dean Koontz Phantoms, Phantoms, Watchers

14
593 363
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

18 Dirty Facts About Flying Airlines Don't Want You to Know

15
637 380
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
610 428
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
616 313
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
587 384
William Peter Blatty is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
William Peter Blatty The Exorcist, A Shot in the Dark, The Exorcist III

19
465 184
Arthur Machen is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
hasrvwill added Arthur Machen The Hill of Dreams, The Great God Pan, The Three Impostors

20
561 381
James Herbert is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
James Herbert The Rats, The Fog, Fluke

21
675 415
Robert R. McCammon is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Robert R. McCammon Swan Song, Stinger, The Wolf's Hour

The Greatest And Completely True Keanu Reeves Stories Ever Told

22
755 434
Neil Gaiman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Neil Gaiman Beowulf, Marvel 1602, American Gods

23
745 541
Anne Rice is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
617 425
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
446 199
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
499 362
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
550 352
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
408 149
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

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

29
741 436
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
423 359
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
320 150
Fritz Leiber is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
stephensonpy added Fritz Leiber Night of the Eagle, Swords and Deviltry, Conjure Wife

32
401 354
Brian Lumley is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Brian Lumley Ghor, Kin-Slayer, Khai of Khem

33
513 365
Joe R. Lansdale is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Joe R. Lansdale The Drive-In, Best of the Borderlands, DC Showcase Original Shorts Collection

34
422 121
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
444 293
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 Greatest Graphic Novels and Collected Editions

36
377 326
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
581 383
Jack Ketchum is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Jack Ketchum The Woman, Off Season, The Girl Next Door

38
272 144
Henry James is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
705 402
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
402 376
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
247 107
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
258 105
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

The Creepiest Shows in TV History

43
395 130
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
191 112
T. E. D. Klein is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
T. E. D. Klein Trauma, The Ceremonies, Dark Gods

45
307 118
Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Spook22uk added Daphne du Maurier Rebecca, Mary Anne, The Birds II: Land's End

46
322 288
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
399 342
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
187 123
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
353 194
Richard Bachman is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
hasrvwill added Richard Bachman

50
294 165
Harlan Ellison is listed (or ranked) 50 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