10 Scariest Stephen King Novels

They don't call him the King of horror for nothing (& not just as it's an obvious pun on his name).

Stephen King Maximum Overdrive
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

It's a tale that writers everywhere have long paid heed to. Way back in 1973, a 26-year old high school teacher and aspiring author named Stephen King was so disheartened with his latest story that he threw his manuscript in the bin.

Happily, his wife fished it out and convinced him to finish it - and that story ultimately became Carrie, King's first published book, and a massive best-seller which kicked off a prolific career that would see him become not only the biggest selling horror author, but one of the biggest selling authors period, of the past five decades.

Stephen King's influence on the horror genre is pretty well incalculable. As well as being a massive formative influence on generations of writers, King's body of work has also had a massive impact on screen horror, with a staggering 66 movies and 29 TV shows based on the author's work thus far - with plenty more on the way.

With 58 novels, 10 short story anthologies plus several works on non-fiction to his name, any readers new to Stephen King can be forgiven for not being sure where to start. But if there's one thing that brings readers to King, it's the promise of some good old-fashioned blood-chilling scares.

If you're looking for Stephen King at his absolute scariest, you can't go wrong with these 10 novels.

10. Christine

salem's lot

Like a lot of Stephen King's novels, Christine has a premise which, at a glance, seems far too preposterous to take seriously: in this instance, a possessed car terrorising teenagers.

However, the author has long had a remarkable knack for lending credibility to his outlandish supernatural creations, thanks to the way in which he builds an all-too relatable world in which his stories take place.

This 1983 novel (King's lucky 13th) revisits similar territory to his breakthrough Carrie, but this time from the perspective of a male high school loser, Arnie Cunningham. The long-suffering teen faces physical and psychological torment at the hands of bullying thugs and uncaring adults, whilst his well-meaning parents fail to provide the compassion and understanding he needs.

But when Arnie discovers Christine - a severely battered old Plymouth Fury - and sets about fixing her up, he finds himself imbued with a new found strength and self-confidence. Alas, Arnie isn't overcoming his demons; he's falling prey to all new ones.

King's portrait of the cruelty of adolescence will doubtless ring true to many of us, which helps make Arnie's downward spiral into vengeance and insanity all the more chilling. Plus, you'll never look at an old red car the same way again.

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Ben Bussey hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.