Graveyard Shift The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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
3,332 876
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

2
2,958 881
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
3,249 600
H. P. Lovecraft is listed (or ranked) 3 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

4
1,485 618
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
1,592 620
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
1,378 485
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

7
1,165 506
Richard Matheson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Omega Man, Duel, The Last Man on Earth

8
1,254 522
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

9
879 411
Robert Bloch is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Asylum, Psycho, The House That Dripped Blood

10
763 369
Algernon Blackwood is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Best ghost stories of Algernon Blackwood., A Psychical Invasion, Four Weird Tales

11
1,006 433
Shirley Jackson is listed (or ranked) 11 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

12
878 427
Peter Straub is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Ghost Story, Ghost Story, The Talisman

13
1,107 769
Dean Koontz is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Phantoms, Phantoms, Watchers

14
637 382
M. R. James is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Night of the Demon, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, Collected Ghost Stories

15
664 400
Ramsey Campbell is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Incarnate, The Hungry Moon, Ancient Images

16
652 454
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Treasure Island, The Master of Ballantrae

17
657 330
Ambrose Bierce is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Devil's Dictionary, The dance of death, In the midst of life

18
506 194
Arthur Machen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
hasrvwill added The Hill of Dreams, The Great God Pan, The Three Impostors

19
628 400
William Peter Blatty is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Exorcist, A Shot in the Dark, The Exorcist III

20
712 432
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
585 401
James Herbert is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Rats, The Fog, Fluke

22
788 579
Anne Rice is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
785 467
Neil Gaiman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Beowulf, Marvel 1602, American Gods

24
640 441
Richard Laymon is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Cellar, One Rainy Night, The Traveling Vampire Show

25
463 216
Thomas Ligotti is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
RonVickers added The Nightmare Factory, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, Teatro Grottesco

26
528 379
Robert E. Howard is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Conan the Barbarian, Conan, The Coming of Conan

27
577 367
Dan Simmons is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Carrion Comfort, Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion

28
442 163
Clark Ashton Smith is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
softserve added The End of the Story, The Abominations of Yondo, Poems in Prose

29
770 452
Joe Hill is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel, Horns, Locke & Key Volume 4: Keys To The Kingdom

30
435 372
Bentley Little is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Store, The association, The House

31
480 136
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Time Machine, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Things to Come

32
418 367
Brian Lumley is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Ghor, Kin-Slayer, Khai of Khem

33
328 163
Fritz Leiber is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
stephensonpy added Night of the Eagle, Swords and Deviltry, Conjure Wife

34
526 374
Joe R. Lansdale is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Drive-In, Best of the Borderlands, DC Showcase Original Shorts Collection

35
456 304
Graham Masterton is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The manitou, How to Drive Your Man Wild in Bed, Up all night

36
302 161
Henry James is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Spook22uk added The Turn of the Screw, The Portrait of a Lady, The Golden Bowl

37
384 344
Poppy Z. Brite is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Lost Souls, Exquisite Corpse, Liquor

38
599 392
Jack Ketchum is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Woman, Off Season, The Girl Next Door

39
714 413
F. Paul Wilson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Keep, The Keep, Best of the Borderlands

40
275 119
Sheridan Le Fanu is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
In a Glass Darkly, Vampires vs. Zombies, Uncle Silas

41
422 386
John Saul is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
God Project, The, Suffer the Children

42
286 114
William Hope Hodgson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
softserve added The House on the Borderland, Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder

43
421 143
Thomas Harris is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Spook22uk added Hannibal Rising, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon

44
327 128
Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Spook22uk added Rebecca, Mary Anne, The Birds II: Land's End

45
196 122
T. E. D. Klein is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Trauma, The Ceremonies, Dark Gods

46
406 351
Brian Keene is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
The Rising, The Conqueror Worms, Terminal

47
326 299
Ray Garton is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
Ravenous, Live Girls, The Loveliest Dead

48
194 132
Robert Aickman is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
MatthewHarper added The Late Breakfasters, Tales of Love and Death, The Eighth Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories

49
365 203
Richard Bachman is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
hasrvwill added Richard Bachman

50
303 176
Harlan Ellison is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers
AuthorWilliamPattison added Dreams with Sharp Teeth, The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World, The Glass Teat