As you all know, I’m a dark fiction author who loves scary stories. One of the most common questions I’ve received recently is What are your Favorite Books? As people note my abiding love for all dark fiction, the question invariably shifts to What are your Favorite Horror Stories/Movies/Shows?

Like any nerd would agree, regardless of the object of their fervent devotion, it’s not so easy to narrow down a diverse list to a single example. I don’t have one favorite of anything! I always pick several options to minimize my guilt.

For my first Halloween blog post, I’ll start with the obligatory lists of my personal favorites in horror and dark fiction including books, movies, and TV. Another important factor to note, my tastes lean towards the supernatural (ghosts & demons in particular) and psychological thrillers. In general, I’m not as enthusiastic for straight slashers, found footage, zombies, and cosmic/body horror – although, there are some definite exceptions. And if a horror story/film is mostly comedic, I might enjoy it but I won’t give it a slot on my list of scary media.

As a warning, even the biggest nerds have limits to what they can consume in a lifetime. And these lists are subjective because they are based solely on my opinion. I would never presume to make lists proclaiming only my choices as the best ever.

If I’ve omitted a title you believe is essential, let me know in the comments. Could be it was something I didn’t care for so I deliberately left it off, even if others consider it a classic. Or it might be something I haven’t discovered yet. I love learning, so help me out. Let me know if I should try something new. And I hope some of my choices inspire you to try something different, as well. Happy reading/watching!

Top 10 Lists – My Personal Favorites

Best Classic Horror/Dark Fiction Novels
  • The Haunting of Hill House (1959) Shirley Jackson
  • I Am Legend (1954) Richard Matheson
  • The Shining (1977) Stephen King
  • The House Next Door (1978) Anne Rivers Siddons
  • The Amityville Horror (1977) Jay Anson
  • Frankenstein (1818) Mary Shelley
  • Dracula (1897) Bram Stoker
  • Ghost Story (1979) Peter Straub
  • The Girl Next Door (1989) Jack Ketchum
  • Rebecca (1938) Daphne Du Maurier

Best Horror/Dark Fiction Short Tales/Novellas –
  • Books of Blood (1984) Clive Barker
  • The Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe (1849)
  • The Lottery and Other Stories (1949) Shirley Jackson
  • The Turn of the Screw (1898) Henry James
  • Skeleton Crew (1985) Stephen King
  • The Yellow Wallpaper (1892) Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820) Washington Irving
  • Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? (1966) Joyce Carol Oates
  • A Rose for Emily (1930) William Faulkner

Best Modern Horror/Dark Fiction (work in progress as there are so many awesome writers working right now!) –
  • Come Closer (2004) Sara Gran
  • A Head Full of Ghosts (2015) Paul Tremblay
  • NOS4A2 (2013) Joe Hill
  • My Best Friend’s Exorcism (2016) Grady Hendrix
  • Seed (2012) Ania Ahlborn
  • Baby Teeth (2018) Zoje Stage
  • Mongrels (2012) Stephen Graham Jones
  • Sour Candy (2017) Kealan Patrick Burke
  • Of Foster Homes and Flies (2016) Chad Lutzke
  • Bird Box (2014) Josh Malerman

Classic Horror Movies –
  • The Exorcist (1973)
  • The Omen (1976)
  • Carrie (1976)
  • Jaws (1975)
  • Alien (1979)
  • Psycho (1960)
  • The Haunting (1963)
  • The Wicker Man (1973)
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  • The Thing (1982)

Modern Horror –
  • The Others (2001)
  • The Witch (2015)
  • As Above, So Below (2014)
  • Hereditary (2018)
  • Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
  • Evil Dead (2013)
  • Get Out (2017)
  • Gerald’s Game (2017)
  • Paranormal Activity (2007)
  • 28 Days Later (2003)

Foreign Horror –
  • The Wailing (2016)
  • A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
  • Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)
  • Ringu (1998)
  • Let the Right One In (2008)
  • Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
  • Goodnight, Mommy (2014)
  • Audition (1999)
  • Suspiria (1977)
  • Veronica (2017)

Horror/Dark Fantasy Television Shows/Miniseries –
  • The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
  • Salem’s Lot (1979)
  • The Twilight Zone (1959-1964)
  • Black Mirror (2011-now)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
  • Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996)
  • Hannibal (2013-2015)
  • Marianne (2019)
  • American Horror Story: Murder House (2011)
  • Stranger Things (2016-now)