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The definition of frightening varies from person to person, it may be a ghost story and haunted houses as well as a serial killer. For others, the many terrifying things are those that go bump in the night, hidden. Do yourself a favor: Do not read these frightful horror books before bed. If so, here is our list of the 25 best horror books ever in no specific order.
Best Horror Books Of All Time
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
When you consider clichés in horror fiction, the haunted house is located on the peak of the listing, a concept that did so frequently it is often an unintentional parody. Shirley Jackson, however, was no ordinary author, and she chooses the idea of the haunted house and perfects it via The Haunting of Hill House.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is the very best haunted house story ever written. The scares come not simply from the evil acts of a home that appears sentient and mad. Still, by the claustrophobia, we encounter from the book’s unreliable narrator, Eleanor, whose descent into insanity is excruciating and slow and begins after we have been lulled into a false sense of safety by the appearing reliability of her ancient character.
According to Stephen King, the Haunting of Hill House is a must-read for any horror lover, as one of the best horror books of the 20th century.
- The Haunting of Hill House
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
To put it differently, House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski is among the most frightening books ever written. From a somewhat familiar horror premise (that a home is shown to be somewhat more prominent on the interior than is strictly potential ), Danielewski spins out a shocking tale between multiple unreliable narrators, typographic puzzles, and looping footnotes that be able to drag the reader into the narrative and make them doubt their perception of the narrative.
It is a trick nobody else has managed to this remarkable impact, which makes this horror book more of a participatory encounter than any other literary work that, considering the dark insanity in its heart, is not always a pleasant encounter. House of Leaves is claustrophobic, unnerving, and entirely original.
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Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The excellent sage Pat Benatar once staged that hell is for kids. Golding’s accounts of kids stranded on an island with no adult or supplies supervision are frightening for one purpose: there is nothing supernatural happening.
It is a narrative about insufficiently socialized people descending into savagery because that is our essential character. You check in the abyss in the middle of the book, and the abyss looks back.
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Another narrative centered on kids’ horror, the terror inherent in this narrative comes from the simple fact that the human beings we produce become their people and strangers.
Not everybody has a close and loving relationship with their parents. Though the concept your kids may grow up to become criminals is not agreeable, the majority of men and women assume that they will at least distinguish themselves in their children. However, what if you do not? Imagine if your kid your child would be a sterile monster?
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
It is relatively easy to drop down a rabbit hole of pop culture obsession in the Internet Age. There continue to be dark regions of civilization that have not had a wiki made around them. Peel’s horror story about a mysterious underground filmmaker whose films might or might not contain traces of dark power and horrible events as well as the journalist who becomes obsessed with him asks the reader the way to make sure there is the mainline between fiction and fact, then, after that wedge of uncertainty is created, poses a chilling fiction to fill this space.
Ring by Kōji Suzuki
In the horror book that inspired the same title’s horror movies, the assumption is well-known: anybody who sees a mysterious videotape of creepy pictures is advised that they’ll die in seven days, then they expire. The research into the cassette and the way to prevent this grim destiny lead to that which remains a remarkably shocking backstory involving rape, smallpox, and a forgotten nicely.
Technology has changed; however, the terror never actually relied upon VHS tapes. It is the notion that thoughts can be fatal, that by simply experiencing something that you can be self-indulgent, that is so dreadful.
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
The movie adaptation has supplanted the book in pop culture. However, the book was a massive hit for Levin, and the movie sticks to the storyline and dialogue so tightly you genuinely do get a sense of the book from viewing it. The narrative of a young girl who becomes pregnant after having a nightmare gets its dread not out of your well-known twist of the baby’s parentage (hint: not her husband), but by the increasing isolation Rosemary adventures as her suspicions regarding everybody around her increase.
Many threads tie in the terror, from the psychological and financial instability of a struggling young adolescent to the straightforward fear any mom has for their kid, all professionally knotted to a narrative that’ll keep you awake through the night. Let us remind that it was the bestselling horror novel of the 1960s
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
McCarthy’s complete writing style and procedure are frightening; the guy would write a grocery list that leaves the reader dripping with dread.
This narrative of intense, callous, and pervading violence from the American west arising out of beneath a sheen of this unreal to become all too real, and also the best trick McCarthy manages this is by creating the single most frightening part of the narrative the central character’s departure the 1 act of brutality he does not portray, leaving the terrors contained inside that spectacle into our imagination that can be infinitely worse than anything else he may have conjured.
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Penpal by Dathan Auerbach
Pivoting on the thought that we are often blinded from the facts we could see, which makes it impossible to observe the larger image, Auerbach’s introduction started life as a collection of creepypasta tales online. This story’s episodic nature is excellent for the result he accomplishes; the narrator tells of becoming a young boy and sending a penpal petition attached to a balloon along with his classmates, such as his very best friend, Josh.
He does not get a response until almost a year afterward, and his life requires a turn to the bizarre shortly later. A collection of horrible and strange things occurs to him and everybody around him, creating a feeling of dread that only increases when the reality is disclosed.
Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons
Simmons’ book follows many groups of individuals having the Skill. This psychic ability lets them control other people by a distance and induces them to execute any actions. When one of the puppets murders a person, the Skill individual is invigorated and strengthened.
Simmons does not shy away from the consequences of his power in the future. The book will also ruin any feeling of security you’ve got from the entire world around you, shown to potentially be simply a global board game for people who can restrain us like pawns.
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
Horror novels of Stephen King might be on this record, but he often blunts the horror of his tales with all the riches and humanity of his characterizations and the sprawl of his narratives.
Pet Sematary handles his terrifying book by dint of its own simple, devastating notion: a magic cemetery where buried items return into a sort-of lifetime but are not quite what they were. From this straightforward thought, King ramps up to a climax that gets under your skin in a fundamental way most horror stories neglect.
Read also: Best Stephen King Books Of All Time here
The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum
Horror often pivots about the warping or corruption of social norms and principles; after you feel as if you can not depend on the organic social order, literally anything is possible.
Ketchum’s troubling book about the unimaginable abuse endured by two sisters when they’re forced to reside with their emotionally unstable aunt and her three barbarous sons relies on actual events. Still, it is the central motif of an adult giving official sanction to the atrocities which make this tale so wholly horrifying.
Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite
Britain’s most famous horror novel follows two serial killers who initially aim to kill each other. However, discovering that a fellow traveler instead participates in a spree of horrible murder and sex.
The matter-of-fact manner in the set concocts a plan to kidnap, torture, and consume a gorgeous homosexual man named Tran is the type of material that could be shocking. Still, Brite always considers the worth of presence and what we can be doing with the time we’ve left. We also frequently imagine becoming infinite when, naturally, we will be consumed by something.
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Bradbury’s epic rumination on youth and maturity tells the story of a magic circus visit a little city, offering the citizens dark gifts they were not aware they desired most, especially the carousel that may change your age, which makes boys that purport to become adults grow old, and middle-aged women and men who yearn to get their lost childhood to mature younger.
Bradbury understands the worst terror on the planet is dropping the natural sequence of your life and captures the blend of excitement and dread everybody experiences because they crack the puzzles separating them of maturity.
Hell House by Richard Matheson
In Hell House, Richard Matheson taps into this classic haunted house story because the universal panic that we’re already lost is currently broken. Hired to investigate the occurrence of an afterlife by researching the famously haunted Belasco House, a group goes and gradually succumbs to the effect of this thing inside an entity that only uses their flaws and key shames contrary to them.
Their descent to the depths of terror is too near for comfort for a consequence, for everybody studying the book knows all too well they have flaws, and key shames, too.
Stephen King once stated that: “Hell House is the scariest haunted house novel ever written. It looms over the rest the way the mountains loom over the foothills.”
- Tor Books
Blindness by Jose Saramago
Helplessness is an integral element in a great deal of terror; many folks labor under the delusion that they’re responsible for their fate and lifestyles. Terror is frequently effective by simply reminding us just how little control we have. An outbreak of blindness leaves a whole town’s population secluded at a mental institution as a society inside and without crumbles.
The brutality and descent into madness are all too realistic, and Saramago manages to catch the frightening confusion and helplessness experienced by men and women in a society which no longer acts.
The Stand by Stephen King
Caution: This Stephen King’s book might be exceedingly frightening to see through a pandemic! That is right; The Stand is all about a deadly virus that nearly destroys the entire world. If you are not already paranoid anytime somebody coughs or sneezes near you, then this book is guaranteed to get you.
With how important this book is to the present day and the simple fact that it is among Stephen King’s best horror novels of all time, today is undoubtedly the opportunity to pick up this one.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
If you do not think about Beloved as a horror story, you have not been paying attention. Morrison’s ability as a writer is in full effect as she brings the reader to what is one of the saddest and most horrific tales dedicated to paper.
There is no longer frightening sequence compared to the long slip into insanity as stunt slave Sethe, persuaded that the young girl calling herself Beloved is your girl she killed to keep her protected from slaves come to recover them, grows steadily thinner and more flawed as she gives everything she’s such as food to Beloved, who develops steadily bigger. The child haunts her 18 years later. Beloved is a masterwork beyond the best contemporary horror novels. It has a surreal atmosphere and Morrison’s sharp prose.
Read more: Best Toni Morrison Quotes of all time here
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
Told in alternating chapters which portray a bunch of aspiring authors voluntarily secluded within an odd author’s retreat and the tales they are composing, Haunted not merely comprises among the scary short stories published (“Guts,” which triggered many people to overeat once Palahniuk read it in people) it is also a deep dip into insanity since the real life-TV-obsessed personalities begin sabotaging their experimentation in a quest for celebrity.
The feeling of suffocating fear that Palahniuk applies grows so unnaturally you do not notice it till you suddenly realize you have been holding your breath for five web pages.
See more Top 10+ Best Short Horror Stories Of All Time Review 2021 here
Dracula by Bram Stoker
You have heard of Dracula, but have you read the book? Otherwise, it is time to read that vampire book that started it all.
Unlike many of those enchanting vampires we view in pop culture now, Dracula is considerably darker, taking down a wicked and twisted story. You’ll get no sparkles or spirit, and trust us if we state the book is a lot better than the picture.
The Ruins by Scott Smith
Smith’s narrative is deceptively simple: a bunch of tourists in Mexico go away looking for an archaeological site where a friend has put up camp; they locate that a pyramid covered in strange vines, the property around it salted and bare.
After on the pyramid, they discover the friend’s dead body, covered in the vines, which the neighboring villagers have come with guns to induce them to stay on the volcano. The vines are among those elemental monsters that seem simple to conquer at first blush; however, the inevitable doom that descends about the characters gradually, grinding proves differently.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Malerman’s intense narrative of a universe gradually crumbles as people proceed murderously mad after viewing mysterious creatures known as The Problem is so frightening because the reader has the info that the figures have. That is not much.
The entire world collapses, and the natives can seal themselves off from the outside and attempt to avert the worst, causing a torturous wearing down of trust that renders the reader defenseless from the dreadful images Malerman conjures.
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Dawn by Octavia Butler
Though technically science fiction, this narrative of the human race generations following a catastrophic apocalypse is directly terror in lots of ways. Lilith is one of the last surviving people, awakened in an alien ship.
The aliens, three-sexed and many-tentacled, provide Lilith a bargain: they’ll help her repopulated the Earth, but their cost is to breed together with humankind to acquire humankind’s”gift” for cancer (along with also the creative possibilities it provides ) while blunting their self-destructive tendencies. The terror imbued in every page is subtle. However, it exerts enormous mental pressure as you progress throughout the narrative.
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
A fantastic old-fashioned ghost story was made to terrify and amuse, and Straub’s breakthrough book does both. The horror story is about a group made up of older men, the Chowder Society, who lives in a small New York City. Five older friends frequently gather to exchange ghost story. Still, if one of these dies mysteriously along with the natives begin to dream of their deaths, a secret in their past is revealed along with the simple pleasures of a ghost story that are explored for their frightening endings by a master of this form.
- Bookazine Bertrams Stock
The Exorcist(1971) by William Peter Blatty
No writer generates a sensation very like William Peter Blatty, and no narrative has fulfilled a country’s capacity for terror somewhat feel like The Exorcist. A literary landmark of this 21st-century, The Exorcist by William Peter, is that the profoundly troubling tale of a single kid’s demonic possession and two priests’ efforts to save her from a fate worse than death. Part family drama along with most of the terror delivers on all fronts.
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Literally Everything by Edgar Allan Poe
Poe had a knack for infusing whatever he composed with visceral terror. His characters and narrators tend towards the emotionally fragile and mad, haunted by matters that may be literal or reflections of the unsound idea processes. In any event, tales such as The Tell-Tale Heart or The Cask of Amontillado keep their capability to petrify over a century-and-a-half after their book since Poe exploited into the basic fear most of us have the entire world and people around us aren’t what they appear.
Read also about 20+ Best Edgar Allan Poe Quotes All The Time here
Interview with the Vampire (1976) by Anne Rice
Talking of debuts that created a dash: together with her first published book, Anne Rice redefined Southern Gothic for fresh creation. The titular interview occurs in the modern-day since the vampire Louis recounts his story to some cub reporter.
After a plantation owner in pre-Civil War Louisiana, his life as a monster of the night is indicated by his various experiences with Lestat, the vampire accountable for his death. The Vampire interview went to be an unbelievable success, spawning a string of popular books and a film adaptation starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.
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The Silence of the Lambs (1988) by Thomas Harris
The foundation for its Oscar-winning film, The Silence of the Lambs, is the follow-up to Red Dragon, the first book to incorporate cannibalistic serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. In this sequel, FBI trainee Clarice Starling enlists the assistance of Dr. Lecter to locate “Buffalo Bill” yet another serial killer on the loose. To accomplish this, the inner workings of rather dark thoughts are probed, and spine-chilling suspense ensues.
Rebecca (1938) by Daphne du Maurier
“Last night, I dreamt that I went back to Manderley.” In Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Alfred Hitchcock wrote this famous opening line to any novel. He went on to direct Rebecca’s silver screen adaptation. A shy American woman marries an Englishman after a brief romance and returns to her Cornwall estate. Soon, she realizes that her husband’s first wife, the beautiful and recently deceased Rebecca de Winter, is now her shadow.
- William Morrow Company
World War Z by Max Brooks
Max Brooks’ World War Z is more popularizing the zombie horror genre than any other novel. Another one in the best horror novels of all time is World War Z is a collection of interviews with survivors from the zombie apocalypse.
The Devil in Silver (2012) by Victor LaValle
New Hyde Hospital boasts a psychiatric unit that keeps patients awake at night. It claims that there is a hungry monster that roams the corridors at night. It has the body and head of an older man, according to them. Pepper, the latest resident, was falsely accused of mental illness. He is now about to see it for himself. Victor Lavalle delivers another riveting read. The most frightening thing is not the Devil in Silver but your mind.
Horrorstör (2014) by Grady Hendrix
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be trapped in a haunted IKEA store? Horrorstor of Grady Hendrix characters know. The employees of Horrorstor decide to stay overnight to investigate strange vandalism at ORSK, a furniture store. They don’t realize that they will be unleashing terror on their customers and themselves instead of solving the mystery.
Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley
Is there any name that is more associated with horror than Dr. Frankenstein? Frankenstein’s story and the tragic, anguished monster he creates unknowingly has become a cultural icon that is both macabre as well as quintessential. Mary Shelley, who set out over two centuries ago to write Frankenstein, stated that she wanted to “speak to our mysterious fears and awaken terrifying horror one that makes the reader dread looking round, to curdle the blood and speed up the heartbeats.”
White is for Witching (2009) by Helen Oyeyemi
A seemingly sentient home is just what you need. White Is for Witching is sure to appeal to you if you agree. The house is located in Dover, England, and has been home to four generations of Silver women. This house has seen a lot of history, some of it tragic and others outright horrendous. It seems to have survived by making mischief. For a modern take of Gothic horror, check it out.
- Hardcover Book
The Hunger (2018) by Alma Katsu
You will be on the edge of your seats when you watch The Hunger by Alma Katsu. It is the story of a group of traveling companions who are slowly falling apart. They face a series of problems, including low food rations and freezing weather. But there is something more sinister lurking in the mountains. Is it their imaginations, or is this all connected to the beautiful and mysterious Tamsen Donner Although you may have heard of Donner Party, it is not as terrifying as this historical horror novel by Katsu?
A Head Full of Ghosts (2015) by Paul Tremblay
Marjorie Barrett, 14, is Marjorie schizophrenic? The Barretts are a normal suburban family. A reality TV production company discovers Marjorie’s unusual condition. They see a business opportunity that Marjorie and her cash-strapped dad cannot refuse. The unraveling of the book’s events becomes a gripping tale about psychological horror, with each page stirring up blood-curdling fear. A Head Full of Ghosts won the 2015 Bram Stoker Award. It might leave you feeling fearful.
The Road (2006) by Cormac McCarthy
When it comes to writing gripping stories, McCarthy is no fool. The Road by McCarthy is one of his most compelling books. The story was adapted into a film adaptation that was equally well received. It follows a father-son duo as they navigate through post-apocalyptic America. They are heading for the coast, not knowing what they’ll find but hoping to find something. They know that the road is dangerous, and they have only one gun to protect each other.
Read more about
- Top 10 Best Cormac McCarthy Books of All Time Review 2021
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The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
Along with several other American children, Caroline was taken in by their father when she was a little girl. He taught them ancient secrets from his library and gave them some of his power. A whole new world emerges when Father goes missing, with a host of monsters and mysteries trying to take control of Father’s legacy. The story that follows is both horrific and humane. It’s a captivating and beautiful tale of ancient powers and a young woman trying to figure out what it means for her to be human and if she can get it.
- The Library at Mount Char
It (1986) by Stephen King
The title character, a demonic entity disguised as prey, is the one who injected clowns into the nightmares and nightmares of countless generations. For Derry’s children, this usually means that Pennywise the Clown is their main form. This is a fascinating mix of two time periods (childhood/adulthood) that beautifully fleshes out the sad, traumatized, and sometimes nostalgic residents of this small Maine town.
Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite (1993)
Trevor McGee, in Drawing blood, avoids his North Carolina childhood home for a reason. Years ago, when he was just five-year-old, his father killed his mother and then strangled himself. He is determined to confront his past and return to his home. But there is a problem. The demons that drove him insane might not have ever left the house.
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler (2005)
A book by Octavia E.. Butler is a must-read. Fledgling Butler once more shows her mastery over horror. Shori appears to be a young girl with severe amnesia. She is a 53-year-old vampire genetically altered by someone who wants to kill her. She must now decide whether she will pursue further answers or if it will lead to her death.
Read also: Best Vampire Books of All Time Review 2021
Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman (2011)
In Those Across the River, Frank Nichols, a failed academic, and his wife move to the quiet Georgian town Whitbrow. Frank plans to write about the family’s history and the horrors that occurred there. Frank is well aware that history is hard to forget. Under the charm of small-town southern hospitality, there’s a hidden presence waiting for payment.
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe (1838)
The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym is a mix of Moby Dick-esque maritime detail (it later inspired Herman Melville) and H.P. Lovecraft-style cosmic terror. The Grampus is a whaling vessel headed for the southern oceans, and Pym is seen stowing away. Pym becomes ill after the mutiny on the upper deck leaves him stranded. He will only be rescued by one of his closest friends and face a series of horrifying situations.
Collected Ghost Stories by M. R. James (1931)
M.R. M.R. The Collected Ghost Stories contains a staggering 30 stories. Most of them involve a mild-mannered academic who stumbles upon an artifact that summons an evil, otherworldly presence. James’ subtlety and style are truly admirable.
The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe (1839)
Is it possible to call a list of horror books without crediting Edgar Allan Poe’s genius? The Fall of the House of Usher is a gothic fiction work that focuses on sibling dynamics. Roderick, a man, suffering from acute sensitivity to all things, lives in constant fear that he will die. Madeline, Roderick’s sister, has catalepsy, a condition that causes seizures. The unnamed narrator visits them both and gets more than he bargained.
Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell (1851-1861)
Just like the tin says! Gothic Tales is a collection (surprise! Gothic Tales is a collection of (surprise!) short stories interwoven with fairy tales. Elizabeth Gaskell wrote these stories in 1921. They include disappearances and Salem witch hunts. There are also mysterious children lost in the moors. Local legends may return to haunt townspeople. Gaskell’s uncanny ability to blend reality and the supernatural with spine-tingling skill is evident in every story.
Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu (1872)
Carmilla existed before Dracula. This story of a young girl attracted to a male vampire by a woman was the basis for “lesbian vampirism”. Bram Stoker may have also been inspired by it. You’ve just found your literary horror match with Jennifer’s Body, the cult-favorite novel.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898)
The original children of the devil, the Turn of the Screw! A governess is hired to care for Miles and Flora, the nephew and niece of a wealthy Englishman. She has no clue what she’s up to. She discovers the tragic demise of her predecessor and begins to see things that cannot be explained.
At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft (1936)
Lovecraft’s post-Cthulhu novella is so complicated and long that Lovecraft couldn’t get it published. The Mountains of Madness tells the terrifying story of an Antarctic expedition that went wrong. It describes how the remains of a prehistoric animal appeared to have come to life and killed humans. The narrative spirals further, and readers realize that the discovery may not have been life-changing. Instead, it could have led to a terrifying monster.
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
One man’s hero can be another man’s enemy. Matheson’s survival masterpiece is Matheson’s only lesson. Doctor Robert Neville is the last living man. He runs out into the street in daylight to stock up on supplies and defeat the vampiric creatures that lurk in the shadows. He hides in his home, where he works tirelessly to cure an epidemic that has decimated the human race.
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H. P. Lovecraft (1928)
H.P. Lovecraft is perhaps the most important American horror writer. H.P. Lovecraft is perhaps the most influential American horror writer. He created a mythology of older gods, sinister marine-dwellers, and mysterious cults. The Call of Cthulhu is still one of the easiest entry points to Lovecraft’s works. Some of these, if you’re honest, can be a little difficult for the uninitiated.
The Bad Seed by William March (1954)
Rhoda Penmark, a sociopathic eight-year-old, is now synonymous with misbehaving children. Christine, her Mother, suspects her of hurting or possibly killing a classmate and an elderly neighbor. Christine also discovers the dark truth about her Mother’s past and realizes that Rhoda must be stopped before The Bad Seed grows any further.
Psycho by Robert Bloch (1959)
Psycho is a horror classic. Let’s not forget about one of the best horror plots of all time. Based on the true story of Ed Gein, Norman Bates, his Mother, and the Bates motel with its neon sign in the front, Norman Bates is a psychotic killer. Norman is unable to help but notice a woman who checks in at the motel. Mother is dissatisfied and plans to correct Norman’s behavior by removing the woman from her room, as well as any other means that could purge Norman of his dark thoughts.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (1962)
In the first paragraph of Jackson’s last novel, we learn three things: Mary Katherine Blackwood lives in Constance with her sister; she loves the death cap mushroom, and her entire family is dead. The master of horror shivers down your spine comes to us with a story of Gothic surroundings and a darker, but still mysterious, inner life. The wicked truth about Mary, Constance, and other characters will be revealed to you right through the end.
The Case Against Satan by Ray Russell (1962)
Russell’s novel bears strong superficial similarities to a classic. It also features a pair of priests assigned to examine a girl suspected of being possessed by Satan. Contemporary readers can feel a Catholic-tinged fear about the devil in American horrors of the 1960s, such as The Case Against Satan, The Exorcist, and Rosemary’s Baby. This one is a good alternative to the two you already know.
Carrie by Stephen King (1974)
It’s hard for us to believe that Stephen King published this novel after his wife allegedly took it out of the trash. The title character is one of the most spoiled teenage girls in literature. She struggles with bullies at school, her Mother, strict, and strange (to put it mildly) physical changes. Before it became a well-known film, Carrie showed early viewers King’s greatest talents: writing complex characters and delivering big surprises. (Want to see more King? This list contains every Stephen King novel, ranked in order of popularity.
The Shining by Stephen King (1977)
What happens when you combine a frustrated writer with a creepy hotel and a blizzard to lock everyone in? That’s the cornerstone of horror! The Shining is a classic horror novel. If you haven’t read it, prepare for an intense marathon of tension and frightening twists. A family fights for their lives even though they don’t know who or what they are fighting.
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (1979)
Angela Carter is a preeminent writer of magical realists of the 20th century, male or female. The Bloody Chamber is a collection of darkly reimagined fairy stories and folktales. It has a feminist focus with its representation of female characters. Many of these heroines save themselves rather than wait for a hero riding a white horse. They must go through some scary stuff first. This is the perfect collection for horror lovers who like a little Holly Black or Marissa Meyer.
Whispers by Dean Koontz (1980)
Whispers stars Thomas, who is a screenwriter based in Los Angeles. Bruno Frye, who is the owner of a vineyard she visited recently, attacks her one day. He is forced to flee at gunpoint by her, and she immediately calls the police. Bruno then calls Bruno’s house, where he responds in less than a few seconds. Bruno attacks her again later on, but she manages to injure him while he flees. She called the police again to find out that her attacker was dead, hundreds of miles away. You’d be wrong to think that this would end her attacks.
The Mask by Dean Koontz (1981)
Not to be confused with Jim Carrey’s comedy, the Mask is a horror-inducing novel by Koontz. It follows Carol and Paul as they welcome a young, amnesiac foster child into their home. Although Jane (who doesn’t know her real name) appears angelic at first glance, her strange behavior and mystery about her identity start to worry potential adoptive parents… who might have a deeper connection to Jane than they realize.
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (1983)
The Woman in Black has become a major motion movie starring Daniel Radcliffe. It was also a long-running stage production in London. The Woman in Black is often referred to as “if Jane Austen wrote terror.” The story follows Arthur Kipps, a solicitor who travels to England to settle Mrs. Alice Drablow’s affairs at Eel Marsh House. He discovers a haunted mansion that is haunted and cursed by the “Woman in Black”. The book will delight readers who enjoy slow builds-ups and the feeling of being watched.
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (1984)
Frank Cauldhame, a horror writer by any standards, is ill in the head. Although he is only sixteen years old, Frank lives alone and develops sociopathic tendencies. He even tortures wasps in “the wasp factory.” A twist at the end of The Wasp Factory makes Frank’s daily activities seem almost bland.
- THE WASP FACTORY
Books of Blood by Clive Barker (1984)
Clive Barker is Britain’s most prominent purveyor for shocking horror. He has also made quite a splash as a director and author. Cinephiles might be familiar with his films Candyman and Hellraiser. However, his first horror collection, Books of Blood, brought him to the attention of horror fans. These contemporary stories are blood-curdling and have regular readers being sucked into disturbing, grotesque, and sometimes comic situations. This is a great gateway for Barker novices.
City of Glass by Paul Auster (1985)
The City of Glass, Auster’s first installment of his landmark New York Trilogy, is a truly psychedelic work of intertwining stories. The book begins with a former fiction writer and private investigator who is obsessed with solving a case. It then unravels into many more intertextual threads, questions, and answers that will leave readers questioning their stability and sanity.
The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing (1988)
Harriet Lovatt and David Lovatt have four children in England during the 1960s. Harriet then gives birth to their fifth child. Ben is the devil in disguise: too strong for his good and greedy about sustenance. He is also abnormally violent. As he gets older, his family is paralyzed by fear and indecision. Unbelieving the excitement and pain of The Fifth Child, there is a difficult question about the role of parenthood and family obligations.
Parasite Eve by Hideaki Sena (1995)
This Japanese horror sci-fi movie is described as a “medical phantasmagoria”, comparable to Frankenstein in its scientific understanding. It follows Dr. Nagashima, who is devastated by the loss of his wife. He begins to reincarnate his wife by using a small amount of her liver. He is not prepared for the moment when her cells start to mutate, and an ancient, unheard consciousness begins rising from its long sleep.
Uzumaki by Junji Ito (1998)
Uzumaki is a horror manga series about seinen. Kuros-cho is a small, fogbound Japanese town. It is plagued with a supernatural curse called Uzumaki. This spiral, also known as the hypnotic, secret shape of the universe, has been described as the “hypnotic secret form of the world”. The curse’s grip on the town grows stronger, and its resident’s descent into madness.
From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (1999)
Alan Moore, the exemplary artist, put aside V for Vendetta (and Watchmen) to create this graphic novel. It brings to life the story of Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror in the 1880s. From the horrific theories surrounding the Ripper to those who stood out during the desperate investigation, Moore examines every detail. This graphic novel, illustrated by Eddie Campbell, is a stark reminder of the horrifying truths that lurk within the human soul.
Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson (2001)
Skin Folk is a collection of short stories that include science fiction, Caribbean folklore, and passionate love stories. It also contains chilling horror. Although not all stories are horror-worthy, “Greedy choke puppy”, the darkest story in the collection, is the one about a woman who strips her skin every night and kills children to replenish her life force.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman (2002)
Coraline has a strange door in her new house. Her neighbors warn Coraline that she should not open the door under any circumstances. But Coraline was never one to listen to others’ advice. This novel is the brainchild of American Gods author and Neverwhere bestseller, and it’s full of chilling imagination and wonder. For a reason, Coraline is a staple in Gaiman’s extraordinary oeuvre.
Last update on 2021-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API