Who is the greatest horror author of all time? Is it Stephen King? He’s probably the most successful and maybe the most well-known. How about authors who have written literary classics, authors like H.P. Lovecraft or Edgar Allan Poe? Or what about authors who have created legendary monsters and characters, authors such as Bram Stoker or Mary Shelley? And where do other horror authors like Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, or Robert McCammon place on this list? What about newer or independent authors? Well, let’s take a look at the list and find out.

Once again, like with my previous Halloween lists, I scoured the internet for lists of the greatest horror authors. There were a lot of suggestions and I narrowed those down to fifty-nine of them – authors who received two or more mentions on various lists. But there were eleven authors who kept popping up on most or all of the lists. So I decided to narrow the list down even further to only the top 30 authors. The top three writers were on every list I looked up. The authors from 4 to 10 appeared on most of the lists. Number 11 had one less mention than the seven above her. The authors listed from 12 to 18 had one less mention than number 11. And numbers 19 through 30 all had one less mention than the authors above them. In each section, I listed the authors randomly, so this isn’t a countdown from best on down; for instance, the top three authors all received the same amount of mentions so I listed them in no particular order.

As with my previous lists, this isn’t a list of my personal favorites, but a consensuses among many lists I researched on the internet.

Another note: There are some authors on this list that many may argue aren’t true horror authors; they may be more famous for writing in other categories such as science fiction, fantasy, and thrillers. But again, I tried to stay true to the authors mentioned over and over again in various lists that I researched.

What do you think of the list? I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you feel some in the top 30 shouldn’t be there? Was there a particular author you feel was left out of the entire list? Who are your favorite authors?

And now here’s the list:

  1. Stephen King
  2. Dean Koontz
  3. Clive Barker
  4. Ramsey Campbell
  5. Anne Rice
  6. Edgar Allan Poe
  7. H.P. Lovecraft
  8. Richard Matheson
  9. Peter Straub
  10. Bram Stoker
  11. Mary Shelley
  12. Ray Bradbury
  13. Dan Simmons
  14. Shirley Jackson
  15. William Peter Blatty
  16. Robert McCammon
  17. Jack Ketchum
  18. Neil Gaiman
  19. Robert Bloch
  20. Richard Laymon
  21. Bentley Little
  22. James Herbert
  23. John Saul
  24. Joe R. Lansdale
  25. John Mayberry
  26. Thomas Harris
  27. Ambrose Bierce
  28. Brian Lumley
  29. Douglas Clegg
  30. R.L. Stine

And I wanted to list the rest of the authors that appeared more than once on the various lists I looked up. There were many other authors mentioned only once (some great horror authors), but to keep it fair I only wanted to complete this list of runners up with authors who were mentioned more than once. So here are the rest that make the entire list of 59 authors. This list is in no particular order.

  1. Henry James
  2. Daphne du Maurier
  3. Poppy Z. Brite
  4. F. Paul Wilson
  5. Chuck Palahniuk
  6. Thomas Ligotti
  7. Algernon Blackwood
  8. Ania Ahlborn
  9. Mylo Carbia
  10. M.R. James
  11. Robert Louis Stevenson
  12. Arthur Machen
  13. Robert E. Howard
  14. Fritz Leiber
  15. H.G. Wells
  16. T.E.D. Klein
  17. Harlan Ellison
  18. Tim Lebbon
  19. Edward Lee
  20. Whitley Strieber
  21. Joe Hill
  22. Brian Keene
  23. Mark Z. Danielewski
  24. Ira Levin
  25. John Ajvide Lindqvist
  26. Paul Tremblay
  27. Adam Nevill
  28. Scott Smith
  29. Susan Hill

So there’s the list. Once again, I would love to hear your thoughts on it, and please feel free to comment below.

On a personal note, I’m still working through my own challenge to read every book on my 100 greatest horror novels (this list can be found on this blog). This year I’ve read: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, Hell House by Richard Matheson, They Thirst by Robert McCammon, The Song of Kali by Dan Simmons, Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite, The Choir of Ill Children by Tom Picarelli, Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk, and The Ruins by Scott Smith.

I hope to read many more books from my list in the coming year.

And I just wanted to let everyone know that my book THE EXORCIST’S APPRENTICE is still on sale for .99 cents for a few more days.

You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YYF1E5C

Exorcist's Apprentice Cover 3

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween.

Until next Halloween . . .

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