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TNBBC's Lists > Top 10 scariest books of all time

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message 1: by Lorena (last edited Jun 30, 2008 10:24AM) (new)

Lorena (LorenaLilian) Ok, I love a good scary/horror/can't sleep at night because of it, book and I am looking for your favs!!!


message 2: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (TNBBC) | 9388 comments Mod
I dont know if I can come up with 10, but here are a few that creeped me out.

1. Come Closer - Sara Gran (woman getting posessed by a demon)
2. The Ruins - Scott Smith (but i think you read this one!)
3. The Coma - Alex Garland (not scary, but strange, makes you think about it after its over)
4. The Third Policeman - Flann O'Brien (same deal as Coma..)
5. Haunted - Chuck Pahlahuink (oh god, not for the weak stomached)
6. Heart Shaped Box - Joe Hill (Stephen Kings son wrote this)

message 3: by Lorena (new)

Lorena (LorenaLilian) Yes Lori, and I loved it.

I also like the short stories of H.P. Lovecraft.
I need to start digging through my memory and see if I can come up with a list as well.

message 4: by Chloe (new)

Chloe (lolosrun) | 1129 comments Ha! I was just starting to type up my list and realized that there was too much H.P. Lovecraft on it. I love his short stories, they scared me so well when I was a kid.

message 5: by Sherry (new)

Sherry I don't know how scary these are but they're certainly creepy.

1-The Stand by Stephen King
2-The Shining by Stephen King
3-It by Stephen King
4-Hannibal Lecter by Thomas Harris(better than the movie)
5-The Exorcist
6-Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris(also better than the movie)
7-Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
8Desperation by Stephen King

Lori,I have Heart Shaped Bow in my TBR pile.

message 6: by Chloe (new)

Chloe (lolosrun) | 1129 comments 10) Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk- I'm with Lori, this book churned my stomach the whole way through. So disturbing.
09) Necroscope by Brian Lumley
08) I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
07) The Relic by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
06) The Rising by Brian Keene
05) American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
04) The Road to Madness by H.P. Lovecraft
03) Angel Dust Apocalypse by Jeremy Robert Johnson
02) The Shining by Stephen King
01) House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

I had this made then realized that 4 of the entries were by HP Lovecraft. I decided I needed to diversify, but you should all still read more Lovecraft. Also, I didn't list it because it's a comic series, but The Walking Dead is the greatest horror tale I've read...ever. Zombies, drama, post-apocalyptic world. They've given me more nightmares than nearly anything else on the list.

message 7: by Macy (new)

Macy | 155 comments I don't nkow if I could come up with 10 books - but here are some that have made me keep the lights on:

Ghost Story - Peter Straub (I was creeped out for weeks after reading this - even in the day time - scariest book I've ever read)
The Stand - Stephen King (mainly because I had a terrible cold while reading it and it made the whole thing so much more real!)
Winter Moon - Dean Koontz (I don't remember much about the story but I do remember sitting in the middle of the bed in the middle of the room with all the lights on and the windows locked)
Lisey's Story - Stephen King (WAY too much imagination triggered with this one)

message 8: by Lorena (new)

Lorena (LorenaLilian) Thanks guys! I have added so many more titles to my wish-list, I start staking up for winter reading early, so next time I go book-shopping I will take this list with me.

With Stephen King, I read Dreamcatcher and was very dissapointed because it was a barely ok book, not creepy at all, but I have heard so many great things about him, I need to him another chance I guess, I have The Shinning on my to-read shelf ... we shall see.

message 9: by Macy (new)

Macy | 155 comments Oh, Lorena - Stephen King is the best! Some of them aren't as wonderful as others (and I rather liked Dreamcatcher) but don't give up! As I posted earlier, Lisey's Story really gave me the creeps and there were a couple stories in It's All Eventual that left me needing to read something else before I turned out the light!

message 10: by Lorena (new)

Lorena (LorenaLilian) Macy, I was "wondering the isles" on and King is very prolific! I think I will start this winter with The Shinning, since I already have it and go from there. ;o)

message 11: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (TNBBC) | 9388 comments Mod
Kings novels seemed to get weaker after his accident in my opinion. I stopped reading him after the first few, perhaps it was just a slump... however, his older books were truely creepy and scary.

message 12: by Chloe (new)

Chloe (lolosrun) | 1129 comments I agree with Lori- his accident took a lot out of him. It's like how Metallica, Aerosmith and the Red Hot Chili Peppers started making awful music after they went to rehab. Sure, it's probably better for their long term survival odds, but it's a shame that their music suffered as a result.

message 13: by Macy (new)

Macy | 155 comments I would generally agree with you about King, with some exceptions: Lisey's Story and the last two Dark Tower books for sure were top notch and more recent.

message 14: by Chloe (last edited Jun 30, 2008 04:01PM) (new)

Chloe (lolosrun) | 1129 comments Ugh.... it was the end of the Dark Tower series which drove my point home so solidly. He took a fantastic series and ruined it with self awareness and a trite deus ex machina ending. Ever since I ended that series I can't even look at another King book.

message 15: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (TNBBC) | 9388 comments Mod
I have a book of HP Lovecrafts short stories on my bookshelf somewhere. I had read a few, but really couldnt get into them. His writing style is too strange for me. But that was many many years ago. Perhaps one day I will crack it open again.

I should have mentioned Poe, some of his stories were quite gory and twisted.

message 16: by Lorena (new)

Lorena (LorenaLilian) That is so funny and contradictory, you would think that by being sobber people would be able to channel their creativity even better ... maybe I should pick up drinking and I would become a great artist, LOL

message 17: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (TNBBC) | 9388 comments Mod
Seth, I am really happy to see you in here!
I could never get all the way though TommyKnockers. I tryed and tryed, and always got stuck at the same mid-point. The green light came into the house, gave her dog the catarac or whatever, and then King has this long boring chapter about the abusive boyfriend/husband. I couldnt get past it. But the Mist... now that was a creepy book. Changed the way I behaved in the fog :)

message 18: by Tisha (new)

Tisha I don't read many "horror" genre scary books. Murder mysteries and suspense, yes but not your good old classic horror scary.

I do remember being haunted by

1. It by Stephen King (still hate clowns after seeing the movie!)
2. The Mist by Stephen King (just saw the preview for the movie and it looks EXACTLY how i imagined when reading the book!)

message 19: by Katie (new)

Katie (HockeyGoddess) | 257 comments Seth -- You're starting to freak me out...I just started reading The Off-Season yesterday! *L*

I'm not at home right now, so I was going to post my Top 5 and I can't remember the authors of a couple, so it will have to wait until tomorrow!

message 20: by Mandy (new)

Mandy I haven't read many scary books but I've read a few James Herbert and they were pretty creepy.

message 21: by Sherry (new)

Sherry lorena,The Shining is one of King's better books.You can't go wrong with starting there.He's had some great books and some not so great books and some I love and some not so much.I enjoyed Lisey's Story as well but it wasn't a favourite or one of his best,but it was still a helluva story.

message 22: by Val (new)

Val (Valz) | 367 comments when I was a kid i read "the haunting of hill house" and it did me in

as an adult, the silence of the lambs

Tim (Mole) The Gunslinger (Mole) | 103 comments what about rosemarys baby! the old satanists now thats creepy goat blood & adult diapers!!what a mix lol

message 24: by Angela (new)

Angela (AngelaMarie76) | 18 comments A couple that jump out at me right away that scared me are "Salem's Lot" by Stephen King. I read that in high school and I remember it keeping me up at night after. I agree with the suggestion of "I am Legend" by Richard Matheson. I just read that a few months ago, and it is up there with my scariest of all time.

message 25: by Sherry (new)

Sherry I Am Legend has been on my wishlist for some time now.I have a birthday coming up and I know I'll receive gift certificates to Chapters('cause I asked for them!!)so maybe I 'll just have to get that.

message 26: by Hayley (new)

Hayley  | 95 comments I have a couple

1 - IT by Stephen King
2 - The Travelling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon is very creepy
3 - The Mist by Stephen King

I'll be honest most of Richard Laymon's stuff id pretty creepy and I'll read anything by Stephen King, I'm going to be starting The Stand soon and can't wait.

Anne Rice is a good vampire writer but I wouldn't class her stuff as being scary.

Tim (Mole) The Gunslinger (Mole) | 103 comments i loved the stand its scary as hell!!! i think you will enjoy

message 28: by Hayley (new)

Hayley  | 95 comments I can't wait to start reading The Stand, I've heard great things about this book.

message 29: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) We were highly encouraged to read The Stand in high school because it is supposed to be chock full of SAT words. I never got around to reading it, but I would love to pick it up now.

message 30: by Dylan (new)

Dylan (dmfriend26) | 82 comments Are any of these book dorchestor publishing books. They are part of the lesiure horror book club. Some examples are Brian Keene, Richard Laymon, and Sarah Pinborough authors.

message 31: by embrock (new)

embrock 1. Dracula
2. The Exorcist

message 32: by Hayley (new)

Hayley  | 95 comments Ok, I've had another think about this and here are some of the scariest books I've ever read.

1 - It by Stephen King
2 - Travelling Vampire Show - Richard Laymon
3 - The Mist - Stephen King
4 - Song of Kali - Dan Simmons (more creepy than scary)
5 - Candlenight by Philip Rickman (I'm only a few chapters in and its already giving me the creeps)
6 - Dracula - Bram Stroker
7 - frankenstien - Mary Shelley
8 - Heart-shaped Box - Joe Hill
9 - Rumours of the Undead - Steve Niles
10 - The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

message 33: by Amber (new)

Amber (librarianatthelake) I'm going to have to think about this one but I will agree that King's early stuff was the best.

Probably King's scariest and/or creepiest books are those with ordinary things.
Salem's Lot
Cujo- It's a dog. That's all I'm gonna say.
It- I completely agree about clowns.
Christine- A car with homicidal feelings.

The Stand and The Tommyknockers are among my favorites but I don't think they creeped me out as much as the others.

I will definitely think about some other ones I've read and see if I come up with others.

message 34: by Kirsty (new)

Kirsty (kirstybooks) | 618 comments I've never read It however I watched the movie when I was maybe 8 or 9 (I slept over at a friends house and we snuck it off her mums shelf). I didn't sleep for a week.

To this day I have an irrational fear of clowns.


message 35: by Shannon (new)

Shannon | 79 comments I will have to agree with all the others, definitely Stephen King's early works. Especially It and The Shining. I had a fear of clowns prior to It from the Poltergeist movie, so much so that I had to cover the copy of It I was reading! Like Kirsty, that fear still exists today.

message 36: by Cheri (new)

Cheri The scariest books I have ever read were Pet Sematary and Salem's Lot by Stephen King. I had nightmares!

The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) I haven't read many scary books (I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to this) but I have just started Heart Shaped Box and after only 34 pages I am scared already!

message 38: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 55 comments Top five:

1. Funnelweb by Richard Ryan (If this tale of giant man-eating spiders doesn't leave you sleepless with terror, the quality of the writing most certainly will)
2. Managerial Accounting by Ray H. Garrison et al (Be bored, be very, very bored)
3. Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson (This book has been known to turn office workers into mindless zombies
4. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology by Klauss Wolff et al (the bit about Leishmaniasis nasal destruction had me wanting to wear a biohazard suit to my job in a medical library and made me think twice about perusing the medical texts before cataloguing them. Alas, I didn't learn my lesson and skimmed the following:)
5. Color Atlas and Synopsis of Sexually Transmitted Diseases by Jeffrey D. Klausner and Edward W. Hook III (So terrifiying that you'll lock yourself in a chastity belt and join a convent. I did)

message 39: by Kathy (last edited Aug 14, 2008 09:27AM) (new)

Kathy (bookgoddess1969) My top 10 scariest books (that I have read so far) no particular order:

I am Legend by Richard Matheson
Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin
Hell House by Richard Matheson
It by Stephen King
The Stand by Stephen King
The Ruins by Scott Smith
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Salem's Lot by Stephen King
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

message 40: by Lorena (new)

Lorena (LorenaLilian) Vanessa - LOL that was great, I do love a good horror story and I'm taking notes and making my wish list fatter ... heaven!

message 41: by Jesse (new)

Jesse I can't believe I missed this thread all this I see some new TBR's to jot down. Here are my favorite horror novels, in no particular order.

THE EXORCIST, William Peter Blatty. (Okay I amend my earlier statement. This IS the scariest book I've read, so it's #1 with a bullet!)

THE SHINING, Stephen King. My favorite novel by my favorite horror writer.

GHOST STORY, Peter Straub. I've not been able to get into any of his other books, but this one is greatness. Echoes several earlier masters; Straub obviously is well-read in the genre.

IT, Stephen King. For 3/4 of the massive novel, I was thinking he's topped THE SHINING. Then things fell apart. Despite that, this is a genuinely scary novel with some jaw-dropping segues.

COLLECTED STORIES OF POE, Edgar Allen Poe. He was a trailblazer of the form and some of his stories have stayed with me. You all know the biggies, but give "William Wilson" a try. It's ahead of its time in its modernistic, psychological tone.

H.P. LOVECRAFT. Some of his stories thrill me. Others piss me off (he's quite the racist). But he is essential to the genre.

I AM LEGEND, Richard Matheson. A great novella and precursor to King's SALEM'S LOT. Matheson's story might be better.

THE DARK DESCENT. A huge anthology of horror, old and new. King's "The Reach" is included (for those who think he is not capable of eloquence, give this one a read)and others like Jackson, Barker, Bloch, etc. A seminal collection.

Now my mind's a blank, so I must go think some

message 42: by Jesse (new)

Jesse The King comments are very interesting. I discovered his books when I was about 10 and he opened up a new world for me. So his books up until about 1986 are cherished memories for me. After that, I just lost my way with him; alot to do, no doubt, with me simply finding interests in other types of writing. I still haven't read the DARK TOWER SERIES and I'm ashamed to admit that, of his first decade of books, I've still not read THE STAND...a travesty. I've read several later novels, but the only one that really got to me like the early ones did was BAG OF BONES.

message 43: by Tisha (new)

Tisha Kirsty,

I have the same fear of clowns that I blame the movie IT for. I too, have never read the book because of how scared I was of the movie.

My brother has been trying to get me to read it for going on 6 years or so... nope. never gonna do it. Funny too, because he tells me "it" is not really a clown in the book (or barely).

message 44: by Tisha (new)

Tisha Speaking of King... has anybody read "Dreamcatcher." I really like the book, but the movie was horrific. (not the way its supposed to be either)

message 45: by Cheri (new)

Cheri Oh I remember another one that scared me - Audrey Rose by Frank de Felitta

message 46: by Shannon (new)

Shannon | 79 comments Jesse, You = Me regarding King. I too, was introduced to him at a young age (fortunately my Grandmother had similar reading tastes and she passed them on to me). I have not read the Dark Tower Series or The Stand yet either! I am adding them to my TBR pile, I think I just have to read them at this point. I'm glad to see I'm not the only fan that missed a few of his "classics".

message 47: by Jesse (new)

Jesse Yeah, Shannon, I felt like the only King fan who's never read THE STAND...haha. Let me know when you read it because I'd like to read along. Just curious, would you read the original or expanded edition? I have an old hardback copy of the original.

message 48: by Jesse (new)

Jesse Cheri, I've never read it, but I remember the paperback cover of a scary looking girl engulfed in flames. This was years and years ago. What's your opinion of it?

message 49: by Kirsty (new)

Kirsty (kirstybooks) | 618 comments Tisha, I doubt I will ever read It either... think I may damage myself psychologically, lol

message 50: by Hayley (new)

Hayley  | 95 comments Shannon, Jesse you hvae to read The Stand, it is an absoultely brilliant book, I only read it for the first time last month and I couldn't pu it down.

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Books mentioned in this topic

The Haunting of Hill House (other topics)
Ammie, Come Home (other topics)
House of Leaves (other topics)
The House in the High Wood: A Story of Old Talbotshire (other topics)
The Ruins (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Dean Koontz (other topics)
Stephen King (other topics)
Rafael Albuquerque (other topics)
Scott Snyder (other topics)
Guillermo del Toro (other topics)