Reading a horror book is often scarier than watching horror movies. Creepy pieces of literature have the ability to keep a reader trapped in a horrific spell while the literature pushes the mind through skin-crawling scenarios; painting vivid pictures of terror that only the human mind can conceive. Some of the greatest horror books ever written in history still give people insomnia even to this day. Sounds like fun right? Here is a list of 25 books that will scare you into insomnia.
Last Updated on
The Haunting of Hill House
Known as one of the best literary horror stories of all time, The Haunting of Hill House is a 1959 novel written by acclaimed author Shirley Jackson. It tells the story of four seekers who arrived at Hill House, an eighty-year old mansion where Dr. Montague eventually finds pieces of scientific evidence proving the existence of the supernatural.
A supernatural suspense novel written by William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist narrates the story of a girl named Regan MacNeill who was possessed by demons, as well as the efforts made to exorcise the demons. It was inspired by a case of demonic possession and exorcism that the author heard about sometime in 1950. In essence, you can say this book is based on a true story!.
Published in 1897 Dracula is a Gothic horror novel that tells the story of a vampire count named Dracula, his attempt to move from Transylvania to England, and his battle against the group led by a professor named Abraham Van Helsing. When it was released, it was highly praised by literary critics though it was not immediately a bestseller.
Lord of the Flies
Written in 1954 by Nobel Prize winner William Golding, Lord of the Flies is a novel that centers on a group of British boys who get stuck on an uninhabited coral island and are driven to savagery.
Rosemary’s Baby is a 1967 horror novel written by Ira Levin. Known as one of the bestselling horror novels of all time, it sold over four million copies around the world in the 1960’s alone. The story centers on a mother named Rosemary Woodhouse who moved to an old Gothic Revival style New York City apartment with her husband. Towards the end of the story, it’s revealed that their neighbors were leaders of a Satanic coven, that her baby was the Antichrist, and that her husband was not really the father of the child that she conceived.
Heart-Shaped Box is a horror novel by Joe Hill that was first released in 2007. It tells the story of a haunted suit placed in a heart-shaped box that an aging rock star named Judas Coyne chose to include in his collection of morbid memorabilia. Warner Bros. Studios is currently developing the movie adaptation of the novel.
Written by American author Stephen King, Salem’s Lot is a horror fiction novel that tells the story of a writer named Ben Mears who returned to the town where his family lived when he was a boy, only to find out that the residents of his hometown were becoming vampires. It was released in 1975 and has been one of Stephen King’s bestselling novels.
A novel written by bestselling author Dean Koontz, Phantoms is a horror novel that centers on the story of two sisters, Jenny and Lisa Paige, who returned to their hometown in Snowfield, California and found out that all the people there were dead. The novel was adapted into a movie in 1998.
A horror novel written by Robert R. McCammon, They Thirst was first published in 1981 and revolves around the obstinate possession of Los Angeles by vampires. It all started when a man named Andy came in contact with his pale and cold father who arrived home late and had been transformed into a different creature.
The Turn of the Screw
First published in 1898, The Turn of the Screw is a ghost novel written by Henry James. It tells the story of two ghosts that are haunting an estate where a governess lives with two children. Unlike other ghost novels which focus on screaming and slashing, this novel focuses on the ghosts themselves which serve as eerie extensions of everyday reality.
The Damnation Game
Written by bestselling fantasy and horror author Clive Barker, The Damnation Game was first published in 1985 and covers subjects such as incest, cannibalism and self-mutilation. It tells the story of an ex-convict named Marty Strauss who was hired to be the personal bodyguard of a wealthy man and was caught up in a series of supernatural events.
Psycho is a 1959 suspense novel by Robert Bosch. The thrill in this story began when Mary, a woman who was on the run for stealing thousands of dollars from a client of a real estate company, was beheaded by a figure resembling an old woman. This novel was adapted into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1960.
A horror novel by Dan Simmons, Carrion Comfort details a tiny fraction of humanity that possesses incredible psychic powers, which they use to force people to commit crimes such as murder.
The Hellbound Heart
The Hellbound Heart is a horror novel that was first published in 1986. Written by Clive Barker, it became the basis for the 1987 movie entitled Hellraiser. This novel centers on a mystical puzzle box and the series of curses it caused to the family that unfortunately stumbled upon it.
Written by Poppy Z. Brite, Lost Souls is a horror novel that is the extended version of the short story entitled “The Seed of Lost Souls.” Compared to other vampire stories, the vampires in this novel are not transformed humans but are separate species who are born vampires.
The Dark Half
A horror novel by Stephen King, The Dark Half was the second bestselling novel of 1989. It revolved around the character named Stark, who emerged from a mock grave as a physical entity and went on a killing spree. This novel was adapted into a feature movie in 1993.
The Shining is a horror novel published by Stephen King in 1977. Known as his first hardback bestseller, The Shining was inspired by the John Lennon song entitled Instant Karma. It follows the story of an alcoholic writer named Jack Torrance, who became a winter caretaker of an isolated hotel with a horrific past.
Written by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein centers on an eccentric scientist named Victor Frankenstein who created a grotesque creature in an unconventional scientific experiment. The story was inspired by a horrible dream that Shelley had when she was nineteen years of age. She began writing the story in 1816 and it was first published in London in 1818.
It, is a Stephen King horror novel that follows the story of seven children who are being terrorized by an eponymous being named It. Disguised as a clown: It attracts children in order to exploit their fears. This novel won the British Fantasy Award in 1987 and was listed as the bestselling book in the United States in 1986.
The Mist is a horror novel that tells the story of the small town of Bridgton, Maine, which is suddenly enveloped by an unnatural mist that harbors supernatural beings. Stephen King’s inspiration for this novel came from a real life experience.
Set in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, The Ruins was written by American author Scott Smith and centers on the story of four American tourists who take a vacation in Mexico and accidentally discover a disguised trail that leads to a large hill covered in vines that infest and kill people who touch them.
Let the Right One In
Written by renowned horror novelist Stephen King, Pet Sematary is considered as one of the greatest horror novels of all time. A frightening tale of life after death, it tells the tale of a demonic power held within a ancient cemetery possessing the ability to bring that which is dead back to life…or so it seems.
Haunted tells the story of a group of would-be writers who were trapped inside an old theater and went through horrible and grotesque experiences. Written by Chuck Palahniuk, this novel involves both graphic violence and horror.
The Rising is the first zombie-themed horror novel of Brian Keene that was first published in 2003. The novel tells the story of a zombie plague that resulted from a secret particle accelerator experiment which opened an inter-dimensional rift allowing demons to possess the dead. The novel won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel in 2003.