15 Famous Horror Novels That Will Give You Sleepless Nights
I’ll tell you why a horror novel is better than a horror movie/series. Firstly, there is no jump scare nonsense and secondly, the anticipation and suspense that can be created by words cannot be recreated on-screen. Period. I wish I could add all of Stephen King‘s novels to this list. He is the king of the horror genre after all. But no, I wouldn’t be doing that. You can trust this list to be extremely inclusive and varied. You’ll get your fair share of vampires, draculas, all the gore, and all the terror. So let’s jump into discovering some of the most famous horror novels of all time.
(Word of caution: these books are not for the faint-hearted.)
In the year without a summer (yes, you read that right) four great writers (Lord Byron, PB Shelley, Mary Shelley, and Dr. Polidori) took up a challenge to write the scariest story possible. Out of the four, Dr. Polidori wrote a story that inspired Dracula and Mary Shelley wrote the OG horror novel, Frankenstein. Did you know that Frankenstein is the name of the doctor and not the monster?
Centuries before The Vampire Diaries was made, Bram Stoker decided to feed the fire to our love for the undead. This Gothic epistolary novel introduced us all to Count Dracula, the original vampire. Today, this novel is one of the most popular horror novels of all time.
3. American Psycho
Can’t even begin to tell you how spine-chilling this novel is! Have you watched its screen adaptation? The novel is 10 times scarier. A Manhattan investment banker by the day and serial killer by night, Patrick Bateman is the protagonist of this novel. The novel is shocking, disturbing at times, and thoroughly scary.
The king of the horror genre, Stephen King, delivered his most successful and terrifying novel in the form of The Shining. Jack is offered a job as a caretaker of a hotel that remains closed during the winters owing to its remoteness and the harsh weather. He shifts to the place with his family and the isolation leads to sinister things that have the power to blow your mind.
This book is solely responsible for creating the image of a clown in our minds as someone very horrific and sinister. And why does King have to have children protagonists in his novels? If it wasn’t already scary enough!
6. Rosemary’s Baby
You know what is scary? A sense of helplessness. When you know something is wrong and you’re telling everyone about it, but no one believes you. Now replace yourself with a pregnant woman. Brace yourself for one tough read. This book is scary to the core.
7. The Haunting of Hill House
Do you know a house is haunted then why do you have to go inside that house? Why? Nevertheless, a group of four people think that they are brave enough to go and experience the supernatural happenings in the house. And all of us know how things go in horror novels, don’t we? The Haunting of the Hill House is one of the most popular and adapted horror novels of all time.
8. Something Wicked This Way Comes
According to Bradbury, this is his best work, and we couldn’t agree more! To give you a little teaser of the novel, it involves two friends, a travelling carnival, and a man named Mr. Dark.
9. The Exorcist
You must have seen the movie, it’s a cult. But how many of you have actually dared to read this book? Demonic possession had never been scarier.
10. The Silence of The Lambs
Cannibalism, thrill, suspense, horror, gore, blood, crime, this novel has it all! If you are a true fan of the horror genre, then you must be aware of who Hannibal Lecter is and what he eats with his fava beans.
11. The Picture of Dorian Gray
What could you give for eternal youth and beauty? Your soul? The scariest thing about this book is that if you are not careful enough while reading it, it will start playing with your mind and shattering your moral beliefs. Good luck with that.
12. Hell House
Is there a haunted house more terrifying than the Belasco House? I don’t think so. Be it murder, insanity, or suicide, this house has been home to it all. Are you brave enough to venture into this house?
13. House of Leaves
This novel features a house that doesn’t look big from the outside but feels huge on the inside. Closet doors that lead to boundless dark spaces, walls infested with horrifying growls, and a family in the midst of it all.
14. Pet Sematary
Okay, another Stephen King novel. Death is the only truth. But can we ever truly accept this fact? Read this book and know for yourselves.
15. Lord of the Flies
Take a bunch of kids, leave them on an isolated island and let them be their own leaders. What could go wrong? Everything!
There you go, you are all set for a night of chills and terror. Which of these famous horror novels are you going to read next? Do let us know in the comments section. Happy reading!
If you are a fan of horror cinema, then check this article out: 25 Best Hollywood Horror Movies That’ll Give You Nightmares For Weeks