Total Nerd The Scariest Novels of All Time  

Coco Tang
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44.3k votes 3.3k voters 60.8k views 91 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.

1
1,481 287
It is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
It Stephen King

2
1,223 357
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Shining Stephen King

3
438 314
Ghost Story is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Ghost Story Peter Straub

4
995 262
'Salem's Lot is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
'Salem's Lot Stephen King

5
873 224
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Exorcist William Peter Blatty

6
761 317
Dracula is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Dracula Bram Stoker

7
1,013 255
Pet Sematary is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Pet Sematary Stephen King

8
832 260
Misery is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Misery Stephen King

9
893 295
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Stand Stephen King

10
538 310
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Frankenstein Mary Shelley

11
588 251
The Amityville Horror is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time

12
296 284
Phantoms is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Phantoms Dean Koontz

13
667 244
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
but chickens double d added Carrie Stephen King

14
634 188
The complete works of Edgar Al... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time

The Best Dystopian and Near Future Movies

15
514 339
Interview with the Vampire is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time

16
489 218
Rosemary's Baby is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Rosemary's Baby Ira Levin

17
529 257
Needful Things is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Needful Things Stephen King

18
429 226
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
504 225
Night Shift is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Night Shift Stephen King

20
773 215
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
384 248
The Call of Cthulhu and Other ... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time

The Best Free eBooks

22
446 239
Jaws is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Jaws Peter Benchley

23
425 229
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
232 223
Midnight is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Arthur Williams added Midnight Dean Koontz

25
392 227
The Tommyknockers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
slaft added The Tommyknockers Stephen King

26
376 263
The Picture of Dorian Gray is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time

27
127 227
They Thirst is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
They Thirst Robert R. McCammon

28
129 227
The Damnation Game is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Damnation Game Clive Barker

The Best Alien Invasion Movies

29
434 180
Something Wicked This Way Come... is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time

30
230 238
The Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Invisible Man H. G. Wells

31
364 164
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
205 159
Clive Barker's Hellraiser is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Clive Barker's Hellraiser John Bolton, Clive Barker, Dave Dorman

33
245 205
The Fog is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Fog James Herbert

34
274 248
American Psycho is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
American Psycho Bret Easton Ellis

35
232 209
The Island of Doctor Moreau is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time

The Best Movies Based on Short Stories

36
70 204
The Cellar is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Arthur Williams added The Cellar Richard Laymon

37
72 207
Stinger is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Stinger Robert R. McCammon

38
350 187
Watchers is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Arthur Williams added Watchers Dean Koontz

39
125 233
Carrion Comfort is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Carrion Comfort Dan Simmons

40
111 203
Floating Dragon is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Floating Dragon Peter Straub

41
357 197
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
350 195
The War of the Worlds is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The War of the Worlds H. G. Wells

12 Kinked Out Novels That Prove Sci-Fi Is The Sexiest Genre

43
412 262
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Jurassic Park Michael Crichton

44
98 202
The Dark is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
The Dark James Herbert

45
99 212
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
313 194
I Am Legend is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
I Am Legend Richard Matheson

47
271 157
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Psycho Robert Bloch

48
110 160
The Keep is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
JimDickinson added The Keep F. Paul Wilson

49
82 201
Summer of Night is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Summer of Night Dan Simmons

50
78 197
The Rats is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Scariest Novels of All Time
Arthur Williams added The Rats James Herbert