Top 40 Horror Books to Scare Your Pants Off

This week at HPB, we’re celebrating all things horror: those stories that make you sleep with one eye open, with the lights on, or sometimes not at all — and even if you do, watch out for those nightmares. Normally we poll our HPB bibliomaniacs for these sorts of lists, but this time we asked YOU, our booklovers, “What’s the scariest/spookiest/most frightening book you’ve ever read?” And here’s what you said. 

(Editor’s note: these are not in any particular order, and we chose not to include ALL of Stephen King’s books, as they would have taken up about 20 of the 40 spots.) 

So, draw those curtains and read on at your own risk (mwah ha ha ha)  . . . 


It by Stephen King; The Shining by Stephen King; House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski; The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova; Isolation by Travis Thrasher; Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk; We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson; Salem’s Lot by Stephen King; Pet Sematary by Stephen King; Amityville Horror by Jay Anson; Carrie by Stephen King; Coraline by Neil Gaiman; American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis; I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison; The Nameless City by H.P. Lovecraft; And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie; Dracula by Bram Stoker; Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons; The Omen by David Seltzer; Dust by Charles Pellegrino; Cradle and All by James Patterson; Ghost Story by Peter Straub; The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris; The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey; Pigeons from Hell by Robert E. Howard; Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin; Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury; 1984 by George Orwell; The Mephisto Waltz by Fred Mustard Steward; Afraid by Jack Kilborn; The Strain by Guillermo del Torro; Primal Fear by William Diehl; Gone by Michael Grant; In Cold Blood by Truman Capote; John Dies at the End by David Wong; The Witching Hour by Anne Rice; Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry; The Exorcist by William Peter Beatty; Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill; Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry

What did we miss? Which horror book most scared the pants off of you? – Kristen

Kristen is Public Relations Specialist at Half Price Books Corporate. 
You can follow her on Twitter at @kristendickson.

2 thoughts on “Top 40 Horror Books to Scare Your Pants Off

  1. "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood is terrifying. Although it is science fiction, given present political ideology in some countries, it could be a look into the future.

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