Total Nerd The Scariest Novels of All Time  

Coco Tang
Originally by
43.8k votes 3.2k voters 59.9k views 92 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite scary novels, horror and otherwise.

What are the scariest novels of all time? Not surprisingly, a lot of the books listed here are from the horror genre, but there are other, just as terrifying books to read as well. Can anyone argue that Cormac McCarthy's The Road wasn't terrifying in its own way? Exactly. We're all scared by different things and subjects, and our reading choices reflect this quite often. So vote for the scariest books you've ever read (or really want to read) and vote down any you didn't like. And please, definitely add any scary novels that might be missing from the list!

Some of the scariest novels of all time involve monsters. After all, readers have been obsessed with the supernatural for hundreds of years. There is a reason that Bram Stoker's Dracula consistently winds up at or near the top of lists like this one. Ghosts also make for frightening novels: Hell House, anyone? If you haven't read it, make sure you do so - but not at night. And not if you are alone. Ever. It is without a doubt deserving of a place among the greatest horror books of all time.

Not surprisingly, a lot of the books on this list of scary novels were made into excellent horror movies. Some also have heavy elements of science fiction - I Am Legend is a great example, though nearly all of Richard Matheson's novels and stories would certainly qualify for a place on this list. Some of the best science fiction authors wrote some seriously creepy stuff.

And yes, no list of anything involving the scariest books of all time would be complete without a hefty dose of Stephen King. King is a master. In doubt? Check out this list of the greatest all-time Stephen King works. It's impressive.
list ordered by

1
1,208 350
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Shining Stephen King

2
1,448 282
It is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
It Stephen King

3
434 308
Ghost Story is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Ghost Story Peter Straub

4
988 256
'Salem's Lot is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
'Salem's Lot Stephen King

5
863 222
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Exorcist William Peter Blatty

6
751 311
Dracula is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Dracula Bram Stoker

7
999 251
Pet Sematary is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Pet Sematary Stephen King

8
823 259
Misery is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Misery Stephen King

9
886 290
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Stand Stephen King

10
531 307
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Frankenstein Mary Shelley

11
586 249
The Amityville Horror is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time

12
293 281
Phantoms is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Phantoms Dean Koontz

13
661 240
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
but chickens double d added Carrie Stephen King

14
626 184
The complete works of Edgar Al... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time

The Best Space Movies

15
512 336
Interview with the Vampire is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time

16
484 216
Rosemary's Baby is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Rosemary's Baby Ira Levin

17
525 253
Needful Things is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Needful Things Stephen King

18
425 225
The Haunting of Hill House is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Haunting of Hill House Shirley Jackson

19
496 223
Night Shift is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Night Shift Stephen King

20
766 214
The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Silence of the Lambs Thomas Harris

21
372 247
The Call of Cthulhu and Other ... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time

The Best Batman Comics

22
443 235
Jaws is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Jaws Peter Benchley

23
417 227
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Washington Irving

24
230 221
Midnight is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Arthur Williams added Midnight Dean Koontz

25
390 224
The Tommyknockers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
slaft added The Tommyknockers Stephen King

26
370 260
The Picture of Dorian Gray is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time

27
124 226
They Thirst is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
They Thirst Robert R. McCammon

28
127 225
The Damnation Game is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Damnation Game Clive Barker

The Best Dystopian and Near Future Movies

29
426 179
Something Wicked This Way Come... is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time

30
224 236
The Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Invisible Man H. G. Wells

31
357 162
Helter Skelter is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Arthur Williams added Helter Skelter Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry

32
244 204
The Fog is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Fog James Herbert

33
201 158
Clive Barker's Hellraiser is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Clive Barker's Hellraiser John Bolton, Clive Barker, Dave Dorman

34
268 246
American Psycho is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
American Psycho Bret Easton Ellis

35
69 201
The Cellar is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Arthur Williams added The Cellar Richard Laymon

The Most Overrated Books of All Time

36
225 206
The Island of Doctor Moreau is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time

37
347 185
Watchers is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Arthur Williams added Watchers Dean Koontz

38
70 206
Stinger is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Stinger Robert R. McCammon

39
110 201
Floating Dragon is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Floating Dragon Peter Straub

40
121 233
Carrion Comfort is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Carrion Comfort Dan Simmons

41
350 195
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and ... is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson

42
344 194
War of the Worlds is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
War of the Worlds H. G. Wells, Leon E. Stover, Lennart Peterson

The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time

43
410 260
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Jurassic Park Michael Crichton

44
98 200
The Dark is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Dark James Herbert

45
99 210
The Thief of Always is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Thief of Always Clive Barker

46
268 156
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Psycho Robert Bloch

47
304 193
I Am Legend is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
I Am Legend Richard Matheson

48
107 158
The Keep is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
JimDickinson added The Keep F. Paul Wilson

49
77 195
The Rats is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Arthur Williams added The Rats James Herbert

50
79 201
Summer of Night is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Summer of Night Dan Simmons