NPR Picks The 100 Greatest Horror Stories of All Time

NPR has done us a great service! In honor of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, they asked all of us who love being scared to nominate their favorite horror tales, and assembled a fantastic panel of judges to select the 100 most terrifying. Their picks include everything from classics like Dracula, The Haunting of Hill House, and the aforementioned Frankenstein, to more modern scary stories like Let the Right One In, The Ballad of Black Tom, and Experimental Film. We’re especially excited to see a number of friends-of-Tor in this chilling compilation, including Sarah Monette, Victor LaValle, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Nalo Hopkinson, Kai Ashante Wilson, and Ann and Jeff VanderMeer.

Think you can get through all 100 by Halloween?

The choices were divided into categories so you can find your flavor of horror with ease: “Foundational Horror” includes classic tales from Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” to Le Fanu’s early vampire novel, Carmilla. “Cosmic Horror And Weird Fiction” covers H.P. Lovecraft’s sprawling Mythos and its modern interpretations, while “Fantasy And Fairy Tale Horror” helps you meet all of your Angela Carter-based needs. “Real World Horrors” hit a little close to home, and include mainstream crossovers Beloved and The Handmaid’s Tale. Plus, in an ingenious bit of curation, they’ve provided two kid-centric lists: Rosemary’s Baby and other titles under “Creepy Kids” will make you side-eye your offspring, but you can also set them down the path to loving horror with the awesome suggestions in “Scar Your Children: Horror For Beginners.”

It’s also worth noting that out of nearly 7,000 nominations, 1,023 of them were for Stephen King. The panel had the onerous task of narrowing the field down to just one story and one novel from the esteemed author, just to leave room for a few other people.

And we might be a little biased, but we think the panel was extraordinary in its own right: Stephen Graham Jones, author of Mapping the Interior; Ruthanna Emrys, author of the Innsmouth Legacy series and co-writer of our own Lovecraft Reread; Tananarive Due, author of My Soul to Keep and horror professor whose lecture on Get Out became a viral college course; and the fabulous Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör and My Best Friend’s Exorcism, and writer of the now complete Great Stephen King Reread (plus our staff-favorite Under the Dome recaps). The judges also made the fair-minded decision to disqualify their own work, so consider this our recommendation that you go forth and read all of their writing, too.

Head over to NPR to freak yourself out with the full list!



Back to the top of the page


This post is closed for comments.

Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.