Ten Best Horror Books of All Time For Your Best Horror Experience

Historically, horror novels have been integral to literature, but it appears that horror as a genre is witnessing a medium-independent, renewed interested in consumers across the globe these days.

With 2021 proudly harbingering the two-hundredth and second birth anniversary of one of the ten best horror books, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we’ve prepared a curated list of the greatest hair-raising tales.

The Very Best Horror Books of All-Time: 1818 – 2018

The meaning of horror differs from one individual to another. For some, it could be serial murderers, while for others, it might be haunted mansions and apparitions. What unifies all admirers of horror around the world is the steroidal dosage of breathtaking thrill that the horror literature provides to its readers.

Read: Why we love reading horror books

Here’s a brief introduction to the best horror books of all time in alphabetical order.

1. Absolute Anger, Brian T. Seifrit

Absolute Anger is a teen horror fiction by Brian T. Seifrit that centers on a sleuth named Tyler O’ Brien. The investigator and his associates have finally arrested the person accountable for a series of ghastly homicides and sent him for trial, which they thought to have ceased the killing spree. However, it was merely the preface of one of the ten best horror books !

2. At the Mountains of Madness, H.P. Lovecraft

Any discussion about contemporary horror is incomplete without referring to the literary work of H.P. Lovecraft. At the Mountains of Madness offers a generous backdrop to several of the mythologies introduced by the author and revolves around the terrifying tale of a scientific expedition that went disgustingly wrong after an off-course extraterrestrial species known as the Elder Things were discovered.

3. Dracula, Bram Stoker

It’s been more than a century since the first copy of this Gothic horror fiction was made into publication, but Count Dracula hasn’t lost a bit of his blood-curdling appeal. Being a tale of primal superstition versus modern technology, Victorian praxis versus almost wild sexuality, and many more extreme contradictions, the archetypical vampire story from Bram Stoker is a lot more than what it seems on the surface.

4. Penpal, Dathan Auerbach

Penpal by Dathan Auerbach is one of the best horror books of all time that harps on the notion that people are often preoccupied with the details they can see and fail to conjure up the bigger perspective. The episodic-format story commences with a young Auerbach sending a pen pal request on a balloon and continues to unfold as a series of mysterious and unfortunate events affecting him and all the people he’s familiar with.

5. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier is an epic tale of Gothic suspense offering an eclectic combination of obsession, romance, and of course, subtle horror. Admittedly, it’s a puzzling clockwork of narratives that keeps the reader hooked until the chilling finale.

6. Red Rock Canyon, Brian T. Seifrit

Red Rock Canyon by Brian T. Seifrit narrates an intriguing anecdote of a man named Tyrell Sloan, who becomes the sole owner of a dilapidated cabin by inheritance. During his travel through the famous Red Rock Canyon in the British Columbia Rocky Mountains, he comes across a number of enigmatic souls.

7. The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty revolves around a young girl and her single mother. Things started taking a nasty turn when the daughter became possessed. If you’ve watched the movie but didn’t get an opportunity to go through the original book, now’s a great time to start reading it.

8. The Shining, Stephen King

What happens when you put together an old ramshackle motel and a frustrated novelist along with a blinding blizzard that makes every guest stay inside?! One of the best horror books of all time featuring a triathlon of freaking twists and gripping tension, such as The Shining by Stephen King, which centers on a family battling to save their lives, yet not precisely sure of what or who they’re confronting.

9. White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi tells the tale of a teenager named Miranda Silver, who’s plagued with an insatiable liking for non-edible articles, such as plastic and chalk. Inexplicable hauntings and cravings, packed with twins, sorcerous and intense, Oyeyemi does an excellent job of creating a cornucopia of harrowing horror.

10. World War Z, Max Brooks

Based on extensive verbal anecdotes of the Second World War, World War Z is an apocalyptical tale by Max Brooks that chronicles a dystopian future when the earth is on the verge of collapse caused by an incurable pandemic as an army of zombies rise to form the new world order.

So, this was a brief introduction to the ten best horror books. If you believe that we’ve missed something, let us know by commenting below.

A Broad Overview of the Horror Genre and Its Key Characteristics

When it comes to human emotions, admittedly, the most intense is the fear of mysterious and inexplicable phenomena.

As the human imagination can be truly limitless, a myriad array of archetypical characters, such as demons, apparitions, demi-gods, monsters, and mutants have been given life since the dawn of human civilization and were attributed to every incident that cannot be explained back then.

Based on those fictional entities and their unsurmountable prowess, an astoundingly diverse variety of legends and tales were crafted to date, no matter how much science and technology have progressed as of now.

Imagination and fear offer an impeccable foundation to three literary genres, namely, horror, science-fiction, and fantasy.

However, the scope of today’s blog is limited to a brief discussion of what defines horror as a genre among these three, along with a few of the most significant characteristics of the horror genre.

What Defines the Horror Genre?

Novelists and critics tend to differ on the definition of horror as a genre, having complementary and identical perspectives about the subject.

However, they all agree on how it can be described as a genre, which exploits fear as one of the primal human emotions for producing a sense of literary enjoyment in the readers.

Dominic Strinati, in his “An Introduction to Studying Popular Culture”, defined horror “as a genre that represents the need for suppression if the horror shown is interpreted as expressing uncomfortable and disturbing desires which need to be contained.”

J.A. Cuddon, the noted literary historian, chose to define horror fiction as something that shocks or even terrifies the reader or may instigate a feeling of abomination and abhorrence.

In the anthology of Prime Evil in 1982, acclaimed writer Douglas Winter referred to horror as emotion and had gone stating that horror genre literature is not something that deserves to be abandoned on a special shelf at bookshops and libraries.

Five Key Elements of the Horror Genre

Virtually all bestselling horror novels are centred on the following fictional elements.

1. Introduce Sinister or Malevolent activities, Incidents, and/or Characters

Perhaps, the perfect example of this would be Dracula by Bram Stoker in 1897, when he came up with the epic tale of beautiful, brooding malevolence that enthralled the community of bibliophiles worldwide.

2. Evoke an Intense Emotion of Disgust, Shock, and Fear with an Ominous Backdrop

There’s a burgeoning sense of the uncanny and that they’re different from their superficial appearance.

3. Intense Overtone

Fiction exploring the horror genre revolves around extreme emotion, tone, environments, as well as mood, and together, they yield an unsettling feeling of mysteriousness.

4. Founded on Shocking and/or Terrifying Plot Revelations and Twists in the Story

In sharp contrast to some typical episode of Scooby-Doo, where the evil guys generally turn out to be machinating realtors in the disguise of paranormal creatures, the ghosts and werewolves in horror literature are unmistakably life-like.

5. Provides Readers with an Encompassing Feeling of Grim and Gory

The horror genre thrives on macabre situations, from sickening and morbid circumstances of death to multiple iterations of unearthly violence.

Vampires breaking in, zombies marching and trying to induct you into their legion, or in less intense storylines, long-dead relations or friends are visiting unexpectedly.

Buy the Best Horror Books of All-Time by Brian T. Seifrit

Brian T. Seifrit is a noted Canadian author with over a dozen publications. Before discovering a true passion for creative writing and devoting his entire time in fiction writing, he worked for some time as a full-time columnist for the Trail Daily Times, a small community newspaper based in the village of Fruitvale, West Kootenay, British Columbia.

A few of the bestselling horror novels that he’d authored to date include Absolute Anger, A Blood-Stained Hammer, and Voracity – the K-15 Contagion.

Perhaps, an exceptional versatility in writing across multiple genres is the reason why his literary works are immensely appreciated among a vast majority of book readers in Canada and around the world.

You can explore the complete work of fiction by Brian T. Seifrit and even order them on the web simply by visiting his author page on Amazon.

Best Horror Books of All Time: Key Elements and Most Popular Themes

The advent of horror literature is as old as Rome, and Greece’s ancient civilizations, where themes related to demons, death, afterlife, and evil spirits found a place in horror stories.

The eighteenth-century gothic horror literature specifically focused on death and is rightly embodied by Edgar Allan Poe. On the contrary, the best horror books of all time, published in the nineteenth and twentieth century, in particular, often relied on occult ideas, such as Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker or Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelly.

Contemporary horror fiction has further diversified the genre with the inclusion of modern themes and new elements, such as slasher stories and novels that are based on serial killers.

The Shining (1977) by Stephen King is an excellent example of this. Genre mashups combining historical fantasy with horror and modern illustrations of fantasy-based creatures like vampires, ghosts, witches, and werewolves are also featured in the said category.

Recurrent Focal Ideas in Horror Books of All Time

1. Gothic

Literary experts regard it as the cornerstone of the horror genre. With the rise of eighteenth-century romanticism, gothic horror fiction transformed into what is known as horror literature in the nineteenth century.

Gothic horror themes generally involve elements of death, horror, fiction, and even romance, albeit sparingly.

A few of the greatest and most seminal works in the gothic horror genre are associated with Edgar Allen Poe. His chilling tales are also comprised of plightful dark situations and macabre with appropriate treatment of romanticism.

2. Paranormal

Horror novels with a paranormal theme involve ghost stories, dark fantasy, and supernatural stories. They contain certain elements that are not recognized within our scientific realm, which help to drive the storyline.

Paranormal horror stories typically include apparitions, ghosts, aliens, monsters, zombies, and the like. Standard themes comprise of a curse, invasion, possession, or haunting.

3. Non-Supernatural

As obvious as it may sound, the non-supernatural themed horror novels do not include any supernatural element. Instead, the feeling of horror is produced by our routine fears and dreading the unknown.

Best Horror Books for Teens by Brian T. Seifrit Now Available for Online Purchase:-

Red Rock Canyon

The central character of the story is Tyrell Sloan, who became the owner of an antiquated ramshackle cabin by inheritance. The protagonist embarks on a menacing voyage, and as he approaches the Red Rock Canyon, Tyrell Sloan comes across different people who were enigmatic and unforgettable.

Buy Now

Red Rock Canyon


If you have a thing for bloodthirsty curse-themed horror books, you will love this for sure! Warning: Be prepared for the goosebumps!!

Buy Now


So, here were the most common themes of the best horror books of all time. If you wish to learn more about Brian’s literary works or want to purchase one or more of his best horror books for teens, visit the official website or the Amazon author page of Brian T. Seifrit. You’ll keep turning the pages, for sure!

Why do We Love Reading Best Horror Books of All Time?

If we have to point out our favorite genre, we’d probably choose horror without any second thought. This naturally makes us picky about horror novels.

But as a matter of fact, we seldom find good horror books. But when we get our hands on some of the best horror books of all time, we forget life around us and remain submerged in the thrill.

Horror is a genre that intrigues us the most because of its ability to scare us and poke at our greatest fears. There’s no doubt about the fact that any mind-provoking book is worth reading, but horror novels do more than provoking.

It picks at our minds, invades our thought process, and gives us a sense of excitement.

Here are a few reasons why we all are fond of reading horror books –

  • Adrenaline Rush – None can deny this! We read scary stories to experience the sudden gush of adrenaline through our veins – these scenarios, whether reel or real, prepare your body for action. On reading horror stories, our heartbeat speeds up, and there’s a sudden increase in breathing and heart rate.
  • Familiarity – Well, we all have been reading scary stories for years, and have our list of favourite authors. While reading, we lose count of time and keep turning the pages while everyone else is asleep. The truth is, we can’t even sleep until we know what happens next.
  • Eagerness to Explore – Horror stories are often created in a boundless supernatural realm, where wonder and horror walk together. It can be anything from people having supernatural powers to people waking up from the dead. Throughout the novel, there are several aspects that compel us to learn and explore more.
  •  To Feel Strong Emotions – Anger, hatred, fear, surprise, terror, repulsion – best horror books of all time have every kind of emotion tapped between the pages that we can think of. We start experiencing the thrill even before we realize that we’re going through these.

Why would you love the Horror Books by Brian?

Brian T. Seifrit is a fourteen-time published author of horror stories. He attended Columbia Academy of Radio, Television & Recording Arts, in Calgary, AB, where he majored in Broadcast Journalism in 1989.

He also attended Selkirk College in Castlegar BC, where he majored in print journalism. He began his career writing for a community newspaper in Fruitvale BC, and since then, he has written several horror novels. Many of his works are now considered as one of the best horror books of all time by the bibliophiles. Two of his famous work are –

1. Absolute Anger 

The “Absolute Tiger” is one of the best horror books for teens. The story revolves around detective Tyler O’ Brian. He and his team have captured the man responsible for brutal killings and put them on trial, which eventually should have put an end to the crime spree. But that was the beginning!  Buy Now.

Absolute Anger

2. Red Rock Canyon 

This novel revolves around Tyrell Sloan, who inherits an old ramshackle cabin. During his journey to the Red Rock Canyon, he encounters several unforgettable characters. Buy Now.

red rock canyon

To know more about his published works or buy his books online, you can visit his Amazon page.