Graveyard Shift The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
45.9k votes 4.3k voters 201.3k views 174 items

List Rules Scary / horror novels or other freaky works of fiction

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, Ranker may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

The greatest horror books of all time are books that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up just from the rustle of turning the pages. These scary horror novels are books you don't want to read at night (or by yourself) because they're just a little too scary. Many of these scary books have been turned into the scariest movies ever made, while others are too frightening to be imagined in real life.

From Stephen King classics like "The Shining" and "It" to classic stories like Bram Stoker's "Dracula" and Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein", these scary horror novels are known for their fright factor and smart writing that makes you believe the horrific events in the books are really possible.

What are the best horror novels? What is the scariest horror book? This list of the best horror novels is here to help you find a good scare on the written page. If you don't see your favorite horror book on the list of great scary novels, make sure to add it so other people can get the same fright you did.

If you're still looking for a good scare after peeking at this greatest horror books list, check out the scarefests in the best found footage films for a good scare, or see what new horror novels you can add to your collection.

list ordered by

1
1,627 349
It is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King It is a 1986 horror novel by American author Stephen King. The story follows the exploits of seven children as they are terrorized by the eponymous being, which exploits the fears and phobias of ...more

2
1,451 479
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen Kong The Shining is a horror novel by American author Stephen King. Published in 1977, it is King's third published novel and first hardback bestseller, and the success of the book firmly established ...more

3
947 339
Dracula is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Bram Stoker Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to move from ...more

4
847 247
Stories and Poems of Edgar All... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time

5
667 325
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Mary Shelley Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley about the young student of science Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque but sentient creature ...more

6
1,116 275
'Salem's Lot is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King 'Salem's Lot is a 1975 horror fiction novel written by the American author Stephen King. It was his second published novel. The story involves a writer named Ben Mears who returns to the town ...more

7
1,062 250
Pet Sematary is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King Pet Sematary is a 1983 horror novel by Stephen King, nominated for a World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1984, and adapted into a 1989 film of the same name. In November 2013, PS Publishing ...more

8
932 295
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King The Stand is a post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel by American author Stephen King. It expands upon the scenario of his earlier short story, "Night Surf". The novel was originally ...more

9
483 179
Rosemary's Baby is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Ira Levin Rosemary's Baby is a 1967 best-selling horror novel by Ira Levin, his second published book. It sold over 4 million copies "making it the top bestselling horror novel of the 1960s."

10
521 171
The Dunwich Horror and Others is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
H. P. Lovecraft The Dunwich Horror and Others is a collection of fantasy, horror and Science fiction short stories by American author H. P. Lovecraft. It was originally published in 1963 by Arkham House in an ...more

11
817 152
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
William Peter Blatty The Exorcist is a 1971 novel by American writer William Peter Blatty. The book details the demonic possession of twelve-year-old Regan MacNeil, the daughter of a famous actress, and the Jesuit ...more

12
471 213
Ghost Story is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Peter Straub Ghost Story is a horror novel written by Peter Straub. It was published on January 1, 1979 by Coward, McCann and Geoghegan. The book was adapted into a film by the same name in 1981. The novel ...more

13
518 136
Night Shift is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King Night Shift is the first collection of short stories by Stephen King, first published in 1978. In 1980, Night Shift received the Balrog Award for Best Collection, and in 1979 it was nominated as ...more

14
675 166
Misery is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King Misery is a psychological horror novel by Stephen King. The novel was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1988, and was later made into a Hollywood film and an off-Broadway ...more

15
517 233
I Am Legend is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Richard Matheson I Am Legend is a 1954 horror fiction novel by American writer Richard Matheson. It was influential in the development of the zombie genre and in popularizing the concept of a worldwide ...more

16
326 194
Phantoms is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Dean Koontz Phantoms is a novel written by best-selling author Dean Koontz, first published in 1983. The story is a version of the now-debunked urban legend involving a village mysteriously vanishing at ...more

17
631 132
The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Thomas Harris The Silence of the Lambs is a novel by Thomas Harris. First published in 1988, it is the sequel to Harris' 1981 novel Red Dragon. Both novels feature the cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal ...more

18
433 146
Needful Things is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King Needful Things is a 1991 horror novel by American author Stephen King. It is the first novel King wrote after his rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol. According to the cover, it is "The ...more

19
468 113
The Call of Cthulhu and Other ... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
H. P. Lovecraft The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories is Penguin Classics' first omnibus edition of works by seminal 20th-century American author H. P. Lovecraft. It was released in October 1999 and is ...more

20
392 119
At the Mountains of Madness is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
H. P. Lovecraft At the Mountains of Madness is a novella by horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, written in February/March 1931 and rejected that year by Weird Tales editor Farnsworth Wright on the grounds of its ...more

21
418 95
Something Wicked This Way Come... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes is a 1962 fantasy novel by Ray Bradbury. It is about 13-year-old best friends, Jim Nightshade and William Halloway, and their nightmarish experience with a ...more

22
426 83
The complete works of Edgar Al... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time

23
358 111
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Robert Bloch Psycho is a suspense novel by Robert Bloch, inspired by a bizarre murder case in Wisconsin, though not directly based on it. The story was adapted into Alfred Hitchcock's seminal 1960 film of ...more

24
356 154
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and ... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Robert Louis Stevenson Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the original title of a novella written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson that was first published in 1886. The work is commonly known ...more

25
339 109
Books of Blood is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Scarietest Horror Books of All Time
Clive Barker Books of Blood are a series of horror fiction collections written by the British author Clive Barker. There are six books in total, each simply subtitled Volume 1 through to Volume 6, and were ...more