The “King of Horror,” Stephen King (pun intended). Without a question. The Master of Screams has written over 60 novels, including Cujo, It, Misery, and Pet Semetary, since releasing his debut book Carrie in 1974. He has established himself as one of the greatest writers in history. What more could a horror fan want than nasty clowns, vicious dogs, and evil zombie kids? As a tremendous fan, I would love for him to live another thirty years (which is possible), but we all know he’s 75 years old and that life is finite. Or could he? Who then could surpass this gifted wordsmith and keep bringing us dark circles? I came up with a list of ten incredible authors who have revolutionized the field of horror literature. Who will assume control and occupy the seat of terror?
Stephen Graham Jones
This first author might be right for you if you enjoy being afraid and having your boundaries challenged. Mongrels, Night of the Mannequins, The Only Good Indians, Attack of the 50-Foot Indian, and My Heart Is a Chainsaw are just a few of Stephen Graham Jones’ masterpieces. His titles certainly pique your interest. Aspiring writers are astounded by his authorial style, and fans are clamoring for more nightmares. He was born in Texas and is a Blackfoot Native American. He has authored twenty-two novels, all before the age of fifty, and is incredibly prolific. The Babysitter Lives, his upcoming novel, is currently available for purchase. Look him up! You don’t trust me? See what the maestro himself had to say about Jones’s most recent book. “I really liked The Babysitter Lives. Real horror stories are always great for audio, and this one is no exception. Perfect for a long car travel, particularly when the gas is running low and you begin to worry that someone may have climbed into the backseat and may suddenly lurch into the rearview mirror.”
Second-generation writers are common in literature; examples are A chip off the old block and The Apple Doesn’t Fall Too Far from the Tree. The fact that his father is the legend himself suggests that our upcoming contender for the title of “King of Horror” may have already inherited it. Joe Hillstrom King, writing as Hill, didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps, so he chose to use a pen name. Joe Hill is the second child of Stephen and Tabatha King, and he managed to avoid being detected for ten years. Since Hill has clearly thrilled readers with his work, his father undoubtedly passed down some abilities. Author Joe Hill, whose books include Horns, 20th Century Ghosts, and The Fireman, is a New York Times bestseller. He has received the Bram Stoker Award, and Netflix and AMC have both adapted his works Locke & Key and NOS4A2.
Grady Hendrix, a New York Times bestselling author who calls himself a “King-o-phile,” claims to have read every one of King’s novels at least once, which is a remarkable accomplishment in and of itself. You might soon see his books The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires and The Final Girl Support Group on your television sets. He gained worldwide recognition for his best-selling novel Horrorstör. Whatever you may think of this author, he certainly likes to use long titles. On January 17, 2023, his newest book, How to Sell a Haunted House, will be available for purchase. His most recent book examines how, more than anything else, your past—and your family—can haunt you. Spooky.
Tananarive Due, who won the American Book Award for The Living Blood, forayed into the horror genre in the 1990s with her African Immortals series, which began with the book My Soul to Keep and concluded with My Soul to Take. She appeared in the 2019 Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror documentary released by Shudder. She offers a course on Black horror at UCLA and uses Jordan Peele’s Get Out as an example. She co-wrote “A Small Town,” a Peele’s The Twilight Zone episode, with her husband. She has received recognition before, having received two Bram Stoker Award nominations. I’m eager to find out what else she has in store.
This well-known Brit is responsible for turning Coraline into a worldwide phenomenon in nightmares for kids. Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book served as the basis for his critically praised The Graveyard Book, for which he became the first writer to receive both the Newberry and Carnegie medals. The Sandman, based on his comic books, is presently Netflix’s most popular show. His writing is exceptional and diverse. Everyone is eagerly awaiting his next artistic creation. Hollywood has adapted many of his books, including Coraline, Good Omens, American Gods, Stardust, and The Sandman, which is a treat for his fans. Check out this PSA by the great himself as Neil Gaiman encourages readers to donate a scary book to someone else for this Halloween. He has also voiced Snowball on The Simpsons in “Treehouse of Horror XXVII.” On a side subject, I want to ask you to participate in THIS YEAR’S ALL HALLOWS READ. For a humorous explanation of All Hallows Read, go to www.allhallowsread.com.
Is there anything more terrifying than the Donner Party? The Hunger by Alma Katsu will give you a stomach blow and give you nightmares for weeks if evil is included. The Faustian Taker Trilogy, The Deep, and Red Widow are just a few of the spooky tales that this Asian-American author from Alaska is amassing. She was a finalist for both the Locus Award for Best Horror Novel and the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel. Her most recent book, The Fervor, seems psychopathically unsettling. Yikes!
Joyce Carol Oates
This literary master released her first book before Stephen King, and she is in a class by herself. Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most diverse authors on the planet, writing 58 novels, hundreds of short stories, and a large number of poetry. She is equally prolific as the Master of Horror. She has won numerous honors, including the Bram Stoker, and has even made her to the Pulitzer for Fiction final five times! The Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, The New Yorker, and other publications have published this woman’s writing in the past and now, respectively. Some of her best pieces are Zombie and We Were the Mulvaneys. At October 2022, the book Babysitter will be available in all bookstores. It sounds like a book I should read.
The work of this Pacific Northwest author has really shocked me. His numerous novels have caused me to experience a protracted period of insomnia, I won’t lie. For years, Chuck Palahniuk’s cult classic has kept his writers on edge. His first book, Fight Club, which was adapted into a David Fincher-directed film starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter, established him as a major author. Nevertheless, his various horror books have left a lasting impression on readers. Every one of Palahniuk’s books will be remembered as literary masterpieces because they are all experimental, edgy, and thought-provoking. Known for his twists and turns, he pushes audiences to levels like no other author. His spine-chilling books include Adjustment Day, Lullaby, Haunted, Damned, and Invisible Monsters. He has also authored some of the most terrifying short tales of our time, including “Guts,” “Cannibal,” “Zombie,” and “Phoenix,” the latter of which, according to Palahniuk, has made more readers pass out than any other short story in literature. This man most definitely deserves to be on the horror throne.
During the pandemic, this author came on strong and provided readers even more anxieties to contend with. Mexican-born author Silvia Moreno-Mexican Garcia’s Gothic debuted on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Awards have also been given to her other books, Gods of Jade and Shadow and Velvet Was the Night. Both readers and critics adore this up-and-coming novelist. You should put her book The Daughter of Doctor Moreau on your to-read list since it is a romantic retelling of The Island of Doctor Moreau set in nineteenth-century Mexico. Sounds fantastic.
Last but not least, this next writer, New York Times bestselling novelist Josh Malerman, became well-known after his adaptation shattered records and sparked humorous memes that took the internet by storm. Recall those? With over 45 million viewers in 2018, Netflix’s cultural blockbuster Bird Box broke all previous attendance records. Goblin, Bird Box, and Malorie, three of his books, gave readers goosebumps. In September 2022, Daphne, his most recent book, was released. In this remake of the slasher genre, a vicious, enigmatic woman hunts a high school basketball team. Watch out, it will make your sandals fly off.
So, there you have them. The authors I think deserve a spot in the court of the King of Horror. Do you agree with this list? Is there anyone you would add? Let me know. And throw a book emoji in the comments to let me know you made it this far.