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
2,405 657
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 Best Scary Movies Based on True Stories 35 Awesome Behind the Scenes Pictures of Movie Monsters

2
2,561 613
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
2,570 501
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
1,229 501
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
1,173 391
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
1,343 516
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
998 429
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
1,027 421
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
749 364
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
638 313
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
833 385
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
759 372
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
927 663
Dean Koontz is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Dean Koontz Phantoms, Phantoms, Watchers

14
559 387
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
534 338
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 Most Overrated Books of All Time

16
573 348
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
560 285
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
416 156
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
529 354
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
509 350
James Herbert is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
James Herbert The Rats, The Fog, Fluke

21
611 387
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

22
672 480
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
561 388
Richard Laymon is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Richard Laymon The Cellar, One Rainy Night, The Traveling Vampire Show

24
395 177
Thomas Ligotti is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
RonVickers added Thomas Ligotti The Nightmare Factory, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, Teatro Grottesco

25
685 396
Neil Gaiman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Neil Gaiman Beowulf, Marvel 1602, American Gods

26
463 334
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
489 321
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
374 126
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
669 401
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

The Smartest Celebrities The Greatest Horror Books of All Time

30
383 333
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
374 323
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
336 296
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
282 132
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
360 95
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
406 273
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
461 347
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
666 382
F. Paul Wilson is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
F. Paul Wilson The Keep, The Keep, Best of the Borderlands

38
237 122
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
513 360
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
367 342
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
210 86
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
227 85
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
339 106
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 Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written The Best Reality TV Shows Since 2015

44
263 99
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
154 91
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
163 103
Robert Aickman is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
293 266
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
173 223
Whitley Strieber is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Whitley Strieber Communion, Best of the Borderlands, Communion

49
306 164
Richard Bachman is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
hasrvwill added Richard Bachman

50
355 314
Brian Keene is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Brian Keene The Rising, The Conqueror Worms, Terminal