Scariest Books of All Time

atkins-bookshelf-booksOn Halloween, what could be better than curling up with a scary book, amidst the stillness of the evening punctuated by doorbell chimes, followed by a chorus of little goblins and witches shouting “trick or treat!” As the popularity of horror books attest, everyone loves a good scare from time to time. Readers crave the rush of the adrenaline, the chill that runs down the spine, the sheer panic. The hallmark of a great scary novel is that it will drive you to scurry to your bed to hide under the covers, or worse — keep you up all night as the horror replays in your mind on an endless loop. Notwithstanding panic attacks and sleepless nights, the intrepid editors of Flavorwire combed their bookshelves, dusting away the cobwebs and spiders, to find the 50 scariest books of all time. Some of these novels are truly scary, some horrific, and some are just plain creepy — just in time for Halloween.

IT by Stephen King
Piercing by Ryu Murakami
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
Hell House by Richard Matheson
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Best of H. P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Books of Blood by Clive Barker
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons
The Complete Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
Dawn by Octavia Butler
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum
The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
The Cipher by Kathe Koja
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Ruins by Scott Smith
Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M.R. James
Naomi’s Room by Jonathan Aycliffe
The Ritual by Adam Nevill
Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
Incarnate by Ramsey Campbell
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
The October Country by Ray Bradbury
White Is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison
The Collector by John Fowles
The Store by Bentley Little
Penpal by Dathan Auerbach
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
The Wolfen by Whitley Strieber
The Hot Zone by Richard Preston
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
1984 by George Orwell

For further reading: Greatest Horror Novels of All Time
50 Books That Will Change Your Life
How Did Edgar Allan Poe Die?

The Books That Shaped America
The Books that Influence Us
What to Read Next

For further reading:

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