16 Books That Will Give You Nightmares

Posted by Hayley on October 21, 2016

This Halloween, skip the haunted houses and scare yourself silly with a book. We asked on Facebook and Twitter: What frightening read could give a reader nightmares? If you dare, try out one of the top answers. We suggest finding a dark, dank place and lighting a single candle (or turning on a single book light). Those menacing bumps and whines and scrapes you hear as you crack open your book? Probably nothing. Definitely not a clown crawling toward you or a ghost trapped in the walls. Be careful out there, readers. Something spine-tingling this way comes….


It
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Wait Till Helen Comes
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The Exorcist
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A Head Full of Ghosts
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House of Leaves
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Coraline
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Sharp Objects
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I Remember You
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The Silence of the Lambs
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Comes the Blind Fury
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The Amityville Horror
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The Winter People
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The Turn of the Screw
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The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
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Helter Skelter
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The Summer of Night
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What book has sent the biggest chill down your spine? Is It really Stephen King's creepiest read? Talk scary books with us in the comments!
(Image credit: Book cover for The Silence of the Lambs.)

Comments Showing 1-50 of 162 (162 new)


message 1: by Keiry (new)

Keiry Ko Coraline and It <3.


message 2: by Farrah (new)

Farrah Amityville! Reading it as a teen it scared the crap out of me and I will forever avoid houses that look like that Dutch one!


message 3: by Alyssa (new)

Alyssa Campbell I thought Dark Places was much more nightmare-ish than Sharp Objects, but that's just me


message 4: by Lyubov (new)

Lyubov Sharp Objects and A Head Full of Ghosts <3


Jamie (The Kansan Reader) I'm reading It now and it hasn't really scared me. My librarian has recommended me The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon because it is the only book that has scared her, that was written by King.


message 6: by C.E. (last edited Oct 21, 2016 07:56AM) (new)

C.E. Crowder The Silence of the Lambs
The Shining

House of Leaves and The Turn of the Screw are pretty tame.


☯ DαякєηRнαℓ  ❛ ᶜʳᵒᵘᶜʰᶤᶰᵍ ʰᵘᵐᵃᶰ ; ʰᶤᵈᵈᵉᶰ ᵗᶤᵗᵃᶰ ❜  I haven't read the book but I watched the movie of Coraline and despite it being a kids movie with stop animation style filming it did creep me the hell out!


message 8: by Glire (new)

Glire IAmBroke wrote: "YouTuber books."




message 9: by Kyriakos (new)

Kyriakos Sorokkou I've read dozens of books marketed as horror but the only one that scared me and gave me goosebumps was The Woman In Black by Susan Hill. Especially the scene with the dog scratching the door because. . . . .


message 10: by Verity (new)

Verity Before I even clicked I was thinking: Stephen King's IT. Hands down the scariest thing I've read.


message 11: by Flora (new)

Flora Smith The Murder Farm The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel


message 12: by Toni (new)

Toni IAmBroke wrote: "YouTuber books."
*shivers*


message 13: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Till now, The Exorcist.


message 14: by Caroline (new)

Caroline This is one genre I normally don't read.


message 15: by Leola Ailene (new)

Leola Ailene Besides It and The Shining by King...

They Thirst by Robert McCammon

Classic 80's horror. No glittery romance or pretty boys with these vampires. First book that ever gave me legit anxiety.


message 16: by Ben (new)

Ben Mariner It is a great book, but I thought Stephen King's scariest book was The Shining, personally.


message 17: by Bethany (new)

Bethany Ainsworth I read the Haunting of Sunshine Girl, and it didn't give me nightmares.


message 18: by Aline (new)

Aline IAmBroke wrote: "YouTuber books."

LOL


message 19: by Morana (new)

Morana A girl next door. It's not *tehnically* a horror but it's scary. And sad. :/


message 20: by Louise (new)

Louise Cowan Pet semetary by Stephen king had me too scared to turn the page!


message 21: by Maria (new)

Maria Silence of the Lambs and Misery
I don't dare read It.


message 22: by Austen (new)

Austen Haunted Heartland Haunted Heartland &/or Haunted America Haunted America . HH has great tales from around my hometown of Topeka, KS. HA is good for the entire country.

(Personal advice: don't read the chapter about Horicon, WI after dark. Yeesh.)

www.facebook.com/austenonekwreg
www.twitter.com/AOnek_WREG3
www.instagram.com/aonekwreg3


message 24: by Katie (new)

Katie IT was really good until the end. Ugh. Coraline however is more like a kids book. I'm reading it at the moment and it has yet to scare me!


message 25: by Laura (new)

Laura Ghost Story by Peter Straub, and Carrie - the very end bit!


message 26: by D (new)

D Charps The Road, Cormac McCarthy...yes the cannibals and the dystopia are scary, but the worst is the helplessness felt by a father in caring for his child.


message 27: by Donna (new)

Donna Krebs The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson


message 28: by DESIREE (new)

DESIREE I personally think that Black House by King and Saul was pretty freaky and Four Past Midnight depicts some really gruesome images.


message 29: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Eaton Summer of Night was excellent. Scariest book I've ever read.


message 30: by Filipa (new)

Filipa IAmBroke wrote: "YouTuber books."

YES.


Raymond W Crowley Stephen King's "'salem's Lot" caused me some sleepless nights.


message 32: by Katherine (new)

Katherine The Haunting by Shirley Jackson. As always the book far outshines either of the two movies. I read The Exorcist while house-sitting. It scared me enough to stop reading until I had returned to my own home and family.


message 33: by Karen (new)

Karen The Shining by Stephen King actually did give me nightmares. I read it just before my grandfather passed away. The night before his funeral, I dreamt that his casket fell into the grave and my purple grandfather crawled out! Pet seminary also scared me. I sure wasn't expecting the ending. Clowns scare me at the best of times, so I haven't read It.


message 34: by Precious (new)

Precious Sagbodje I couldn't leave my bed after reading IT. I WAS SO SCARED


message 35: by Vavita (new)

Vavita The Sentinel by Jeffrey Konvitz

Book and movie are horror pure


message 36: by Maureen (new)

Maureen DeLuca Salem's Lot - I remember reading that as a younger kid and OMG- scared me 1/2 to death- the 1979 movie was pretty darn good too!


message 37: by Kate (new)

Kate House of Leaves is the only BOOK that has given me nightmares!


message 38: by Elle (new)

Elle Alyssa wrote: "I thought Dark Places was much more nightmare-ish than Sharp Objects, but that's just me"

My book club is reading Dark Places this month. My co-organizer and the former oraganizer of the club were split on which was more disturbing. I personally found Sharp Objects more disturbing.


message 39: by Elle (new)

Elle I feel like The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian should be on this list.


message 40: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea Williford C.E. wrote: "The Silence of the Lambs
The Shining

House of Leaves and The Turn of the Screw are pretty tame."


The Shining was incredibly eerie. I read it for a class in college and it was amazing!


message 41: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea Williford I just read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and maaaan it freaked me out. DO NOT read it in the dark! haha.


message 42: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Draganov The Exorcist is a magnificent work and The Amityville Horror is chilling


message 43: by David (last edited Oct 21, 2016 01:51PM) (new)

David I don't know that House of Leaves is really all that scary and I can't imagine it giving someone nightmares, but it's definitely one of the best books I've ever read.


message 44: by Pamela (new)


message 45: by Anne (new)

Anne "Christine" by Stephen King. After I read that book, and I was in my 40s when I read it, I had a nightmare in which I actually smelled the rotten-corpse smell and woke up as that horrible old man reached over from beside me in bed. When I TRULY woke up, I was standing inside my bedroom closet screaming. Never had any book affect me like that before or after. Most terrifying nightmare ever.


message 46: by Tami (new)

Tami The Exorcist!! scarred for life!!


message 47: by Javier (new)

Javier Jamie wrote: "I'm reading It now and it hasn't really scared me. My librarian has recommended me The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon because it is the only book that has scared her, that was written by King."

I used to be a big fan of Stephen King, but I hated that book.


message 48: by Marie J (new)

Marie J My favourite, scares-me-silly novels are Pet Sematary by Stephen King, and The Woman in Black by Susan Hill.


message 49: by Ronintech (last edited Oct 21, 2016 04:29PM) (new)

Ronintech Dan Simmons, The Terror. Read it on a tropical beach and he made me feel the cold. The fact that it was partly based on true events and involved cannibalism made it that much scarier.


message 50: by Ronan (new)

Ronan Jamie wrote: "I'm reading It now and it hasn't really scared me. My librarian has recommended me The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon because it is the only book that has scared her, that was written by King."

I looooved The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. It was absolutely terrifying to me when I read it about a decade ago. DO IT.


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