27 Scariest books by Stephen King to Terrorize Your Dreams

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What makes a story scary?

Scary Story

World-famous author Stephen Edwin King was born on 21 September 1947 in Portland, Maine.

He is an American author well known for his horror and supernatural fiction stories. Stephen King has published 61 novels including seven using his pen name Richard Bachman.

Besides his novels, he has also published five non-fiction books such as, “On Writing”, and over 200 short stories. He is a very busy writer who loves his art.

Stephen King is a PANTSER writer, he writes by the seat of his pants, instead of making out an outline first. When Stephen King writes a story even he doesn’t know how it will end until he finishes writing it.

Enjoy the 27 scariest stories ever written. by Stephen King. Remember, it is ok to sleep with the light on.

1: Bag of Bones

Bag of bones was published in 1998 and takes place in Maine. It tells the story of 40-year-old bestselling author Mike Noonan.

Mike still grieving over the death of his wife four years after she passed away suddenly from a brain aneurysm, suffers from nightmares which take place at his summer home.

He goes to his summer home to confront the inner demons that plague his dreams. Upon returning he meets a widowed 20-year-old woman named Mattie Devore, and her three-year-old daughter Kyra.

Mattie’s father-in-law is Max Devore, a wealthy old man who will stop at nothing to gain custody of his granddaughter. As they draw Mike into their lives, he falls in love with both mother and child.

Amidst it all Mike senses a ghostly presence is there that could be the cause of his nightmares. What can it be, and what will happen with Mattie, and Kyra?

Bag of Bones Is sure to give you nightmares.


2: Carrie

click book cover to see reviews.

Stephen King's first novel, Carrie, is about a bullied teenage girl who discovered she had telekinetic abilities. It was first published on 5 April 1974.

Carrie is set in Chamberlain, Maine, in 1979. Carrie is a 16-year-old naive girl who is constantly tormented by her classmates. Her mother is a devote Christian with eccentric beliefs, to say the least.

Her sheltered existence is the cause of her naivety, but when a classmate befriends her, Carrie suddenly finds herself with a higher social status, and a date with a popular guy for the prom.

Her mother being the controlling Christian she is forbid Carrie from going to the prom and told her, “Their all going to laugh at you.”

Was Carrie now part of the, “In crowd,” or was Carrie’s mother right and it was all just a joke at Carrie’s expense. Find out in the book.

3: Cell

Published in 2006, Cell is about a mysterious signal sent out over global cell phone networks that turns everyone with a cell phone into mindless Zombie killers.

The story focuses on Clayton Ridell who is trying to reunite with his son among the chaos of the now zombie like cell phone users who have joined together to attack non-cellphone users.

Find out the terrifying outcome in the book

Cell will leave you afraid to use your cell-phone ever again.

4: Children of the Corn

The story is about a couple, Burt and Vicky, who while driving through the cornfields in rural Nebraska, run over a young boy. They soon discover that they are not responsible for his death.

Burt and Vicky wind up in a Nebraska town that is only inhabited by a cult of murderous children who worship a demon that lives in the nearby cornfields. They soon find out they made a grave mistake stopping there.

Will they make it out alive, and what is the demon that rules the corn fields?

Children of the Corn will make you afraid to stop in any country town while traveling.

5: Christine

Arnie is an introverted, unpopular teenager who is always getting bullied by his classmates, except for his one friend Dennis. While driving home one day Arnie notices a run down 1958 Plymouth Fury for sale. Arnie begs his friend Dennis to stop so he can look at it.

Arnie ends up buying the car even though Dennis strongly objected for $250. When he got the car home, his parents wouldn’t let him keep it there, so they force him to keep it elsewhere. It soon becomes clear that the car has a dark past, and a mind of its own.

Arnie’s personality soon changes, and not only does he date the most beautiful girl in school, his car Christine becomes his best friend. Together Arnie and Christine get even with his bullies and everyone who comes between them.

6: Cujo

I remember seeing a video of Stephen King talking about having problems with his motorcycle, so he took it to a guy who lived in a rural area to repair it. When he got there he found, “The biggest St. Bernard you have ever see in your life.”

That St. Bernard wasn’t too happy about Stephen being there and let him know about it by growling at him. The owner put the dog in its place and stopped him from getting aggressive with Mr. King. This left quite an impression on him, as he then went home and wrote Cujo.

Donna, who along with her young son Tad, takes her Ford Pinto to a man to have it repaired. Her car dies in the man’s driveway, and she is met by a very large rabid dog who leaves her trapped in her car in the sweltering heat.

Does Donna escape Cujo’s wrath?

7: The Dark Half

Thad Beaumont is a writer and recovering alcoholic who lives in the town of Ludlow, Maine.

For a dozen years he has secretly published bestsellers about a violent killer named Alexis Machine, under the pen name George Stark. Thad is a healthier and happier man now, and starting to write as himself again.

He no longer needs to use his George Stark persona, so his pen name is retired. Thad and his wife hold a mock funeral and burial to symbolically put an end to George, but George Stark won’t go willingly. George emerges from the mock grave as a physical entity, complete with the personality traits that Thad exhibited while writing as Stark.

What will George do now? Find out in Stephen King's The Dark Half.

8: Dolores Claiborne

Dolores Claiborne is a 65-year-old widow living on the tiny Maine community of Little Tall Island, who is suspected of killing Vera Donovan, her wealthy employer.

The story is presented as a transcript of her statement to the police who question her. Dolores wants to make clear to the police that she did not kill Vera, whom she has looked after for years, but confesses to orchestrating the death of her husband, Joe St. George, almost 30 years earlier.

Did Dolores Claiborne kill Vera, or her husband? Find out in the book.

9: Desperation

Peter and Mary Jackson are driving on a Nevada highway when they are pulled over and arrested by Collie Entragian. They are taken to the police station of a deserted small mining town named Desperation Located off a desolate stretch of Interstate 50.

Several other people are held captive here. Entragian kills Peter, and the daughter of the Carver family who are also there. Entragian uses various tactics for his abductions, from an arrest for drug possession to rescuing another family from a nonexistent gunman. There’s something very wrong here in Desperation, and Entragian is only a small part of it.

10: The Dead Zone

Johnny Smith is in a car accident and falls into a coma. Waking up over four years later, Johnny finds that he has suffered a neural injury, with one part of his brain seriously damaged, making it a "dead zone."

Johnny discovers that he can see people’s futures and pasts when he touches them. Johnny has a disturbing vision after he shakes the hand of an unethical politician. Johnny must decide what to do to change the future.

The Dead Zone will keep you reading until the end.

11: Doctor Sleep

After the events of The Shining, Danny Torrance remains psychologically traumatized. Malevolent ghosts from the Overlook hotel still want to find Danny and eventually consume his ability to “shine”.

Dan has finally found some order in the chaos by working in a local hospice, earning the nickname “Doctor Sleep” where he uses his “Shinning” abilities to comfort the dying and prepare them for the afterlife.

Twelve-year-old Abra Stone possesses an even more powerful manifestation of the shining than Danny and develops a telepathic bond with him. The two find their lives in jeopardy from the ageless and murderous group known as the True Knot.

Can Danny protect Abra from the True Knot? Find out in Stephen King's Doctor Sleep

12: Fire Starter

Andy McGee and his future wife Vicky Tomlinson were looking to earn some extra money volunteering as test subjects for an unorthodox experimental drug orchestrated by the secret government organization known as The Shop.

The drug gave his future wife, Victoria Tomlinson, telekinetic abilities and him the ability of telepathic mind control. Even more frighteningly, their daughter Charlene was born with Pyro kinetic abilities.

After the death of his wife, Andy, and his daughter Charlene, Charlie McGee are on the run from a government agency known as The Shop. Members of “The Shop” will stop at nothing to capture Charlie and convince her to use her abilities to assist them.

Will Charlie help them, or use her abilities against them? Find out by reading Fire Starter.

13: Gerald's Game

Jessie Burlingame and her husband Gerald travel to their secluded lake house in western Maine for an unplanned romantic getaway. Jessie Burlingame agrees to take part in her husband Gerald’s kinky sex games, which involves handcuffing her to the bed.

During their romantic interlude Jessie kicks her husband Gerald in the chest causing him to have a heart attack and die in front of her.

At first Jessie is traumatized because of her husband's death she fears the humiliation of being discovered naked and handcuffed to her bed. She soon realizes the situation is far worse. Nobody will come to visit them at their lake house, and nobody can hear her scream.

There is a very good chance that Jessie will die if she cannot escape. Does Jessie get free from her situation, or does Jessie die handcuffed to her bed?

Find out by reading Stephen King's Gerald's Game.

14: The Institute

During the night, at a home in suburban Minneapolis, intruders covertly murdered young Luke Ellis’s parents and kidnap him. Luke wakes up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own bedroom, except there’s no window.

Other children with abilities such as telekinesis and telepathy were also kidnapped, and brought to the institution. They all start off in the area known as the Front Half while others who are more experienced have "graduated" to the Back Half of The Institute.

Those who transfer to the Back half of the Institute are never seen again. Luke becomes desperate to escape, but no one has ever escaped from The Institute.

Will Luke escape, and what has happened to the children who were promoted to the Back Half? Find out by reading Stephen King's The Institute.

15: It

After a rainstorm in Derry, Maine, a six-year-old boy named Georgie Denbrough sails his paper boat down the rainy street until it washes down into a storm drain. Looking down into the drain, Georgie sees a clown. The clown offers him a balloon, but Georgie does not take it. He only wants his boat back.

He reaches into the drain to retrieve his boat, and the clown grabs ahold of him. Georgie does not survive his encounter with the clown.

What is this clown in the sewers of Derry, and will he claim another victim? Find out in Stephen King’s It.

16: The Langoliers

During a redeye flight from Los Angeles to Boston, ten passengers awaken to find that the crew and most of their fellow passengers have disappeared. Brian Engle, a pilot who was dead-heading on the flight lands the plane in Bangor, Maine.

The airport has no signs of any activity, and not another soul is around. The passengers all hear static noise off in the distance. They soon find out what the noise is as hundreds of creatures emerge from the woods eating everything in their path.

Can the survivors get back on the plane, and off the ground before the The Langoliers eat them, and the plane? Find out in the book.

17: Misery

Paul Sheldon, the author of the best-selling series of novels with Misery Chastain as the principal character, has finished his series' last installment, Misery's Child, in which Misery is killed off.

While driving Paul is caught in a snowstorm in a remote section of Colorado and crashes his car. He awakens to find that he has been rescued by Annie Wilkes, a eccentric former nurse who is a devoted fan of Misery.

Annie is angry over what Paul did to Misery and demands that he bring her back by writing another novel about Misery. Paul doesn’t agree to write what Annie asks, but she has some very persuasive and violent methods to get exactly what she wants.

Find out what happens to Paul in the book Misery.

18: The Mist

After a summer storm, David Drayton, his son Billy, and their neighbor Brent Norton join dozens of others at the local grocery store to stock up on supplies. Once there, they become trapped by a strange mist that has enveloped the town.

The mist completely covers the supermarket and conceals strange and hostile creatures. Customers in the store are confined there after one person is killed in the mist, but the confinement begins to make many people act irritable, and aggressive.

Is it safe to stay inside, or is it better to take your chances in The Mist?

19: Needful Things

Leland Gaunt, a personable elderly gentleman has opened a new shop, "Needful Things" in Castle Rock, Maine. Mr. Gaunt always seems to have an item in stock that is perfectly suited to any customer who walks through his door.

Nothing has a price tag at Needful Things, but everything there is for sale. Leland charges little money for his items, but he expects each customer to also play a little prank on someone else in town.

Will these pranks cause animosity among the residents of Castle Rock? Everything at Needful Things comes with a price to pay.

20: Night Shift

The first collection of short stories by Stephen King invites us into the depths of his twisted imagination.

This collection of short stories includes, “Graveyard Shift” about mutated rats in the basement of a factory. “Quitters Inc.” is a company that helps people quit smoking with a high price to pay for failure. “The Lawnmower Man” is about a possessed lawnmower.

These are just three of the twenty stories that will haunt your dreams in Night Shift.

21: Pet Sematary

Louis Creed moves his family to the rural town of Ludlow, Maine. Traffic on the road outside of Creed’s home drives by at high speed. Many children sadly lost their pets because of accidents on that road.

There is a makeshift graveyard in the nearby woods where generations of children have buried their beloved pets, which had a sign that read, “Pet Sematary.” When Louis’s daughter’s cat is killed on the road outside his home, a neighbor tells him about an area of sacred ground located beyond the Pet Sematary which brought the dead back to life.

Louis buried his daughter’s cat there, and just like he was told, the cat returned alive, but with a different demeanor. After his son is killed, he buries his son there too. The boy who returned did not behave like his son.

What was it that returned from the ground beyond the Pet Sematary.

22: Revival

When Charles Jacobs, a new minister, comes to Harlow, Maine, young Jamie Morton is excited. Everyone in the tiny Maine town soon becomes friends with Jacobs, his beautiful wife, and their young son.

Things change for Charles when his wife and child die in a car accident. Grief stricken, he denounces God and religion during a sermon. He then spends many years pursuing a career as a sideshow huckster before pretending to regain his belief in God and becoming a prolific faith healer.

Jamie Morton, who is now a musician and heroin user, is treated by Jacobs using an electrical treatment that successfully cures him of his addiction. After his treatment, Jamie experiences side effects, including sleepwalking and jabbing himself in the arm with sharp objects as if he was trying to inject heroin.

What happened to him after his electrical treatment, and what is really going on at the Revival.

23: Salem's Lot

Ben Mears, a writer who spent part of his childhood in Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine, has returned after 25 years. Ben has returned to Jerusalem’s Lot to write a book about the Marsten House, where he had a terrible experience as a child.

Mears learns that the house was purchased by Kurt Barlow, an Austrian immigrant who has arrived in Jerusalem’s Lot to open an antique store. Barlow is said to be on an extended buying trip. His business partner, Richard Straker, is the only one who is ever seen in public.

Barlow is really an ancient vampire, and Straker is his human care taker. Their arrival coincides with the disappearance of a young boy, Ralphie Glick, and the death of his brother Danny, who becomes the town's first vampire, turned by Barlow.

Stephen King’s Salem's Lot will forever be a premier horror classic.

24: The Shining

Jack Torrance’s has a new job as a caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. Jack Torrance, his wife Wendy, and their five-year-old son Danny move into the hotel for the winter. Jack is an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic.

His son, Danny, possesses psychic abilities referred to as The Shining that enable him to read minds and experience premonitions and clairvoyance. Dick Hallorann the chef of the Overlook, also possesses similar abilities to Danny's, helps to explain these abilities to him, giving Hallorann and Danny a special connection.

As the family settle in at the Overlook hotel, Danny sees ghosts and frightening visions. Danny tells neither of his parents about his visions. What are these entities inside the Overlook, and will the family make it out of there alive?

25: The Stand

A patient flees from a biological testing facility, unknown to them, they are infected with a mutated strain of influenza that will kill most of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are frightened, and in need of a leader.

Two leaders make themselves known, Mother Abagail, a 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the “Dark Man,” who take pleasure in chaos and violence. The remaining survivors will have to choose between them.

Stephen King’s, The Stand is a number one bestseller on Amazon.

26: Thinner

Billy Halleck, a successful, obese lawyer, is distracted while driving across town by his wife Heidi and he runs over an elderly Gypsy woman. Halleck has some powerful friends, including the police, and the judge, and gets off with a light sentence. The woman’s gypsy father exacts revenge with a single word: "Thinner."

Billy begins to lose weight rapidly, and discovers that the judge who got him acquitted is covered in scales, and the policeman who lied to cover for Billy has been struck with severe acne.

How much more weight will Billy lose?

27: The Tommyknockers

While walking in the woods near the small town of Haven, Maine, Roberta "Bobbi" Anderson, a fiction writer, discovers a metal object that turns out to be part of an alien spacecraft. Once exposed, the spacecraft releases a gas into the atmosphere that transforms people into beings similar to the aliens who arrived on the ship.

The transformation gives them a level of intelligence which makes them very inventive. The citizens of Haven are overcome by these new thoughts and mental abilities. They have become aggressive and violent, as well as brilliant while being totally consumed by the The Tommyknockers.

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