The best horror audiobooks

The best horror audiobooks

Horror stories can be fun

While we’re months away from Halloween and probably not the best time to dive into some of the best horror audiobooks out there, the horror genre is still thriving. With new book releases and compelling classics to listen to over and over again, what’s stopping you?  

Horror audiobooks have just the right amount of scare for your listening pleasure. No wonder the rave reviews. I must admit I got into the horror audiobooks wave quite late, for someone who enjoys watching on-edge horror movies. 

I felt I couldn’t indulge my imagination as well as I did when watching. But I was determined to find good horror audiobooks. Stephen King’s stories obviously came to mind. My fright vs. thrill book search was on. Here are the eight best horror audiobooks recommendations right now, as picked out by us. 

“It” by Stephen King narrated by Steven Weber 

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Length: 45 hours and 54 mins

Stephen King’s masterpiece is narrated by the voice that defines the story for me, Steven Weber. If you’re searching for the perfect road trip listen, Stephen Werber’s audio narration stands the test of time. 

Welcome to King’s all too familiar haunted town, Derry, Maine, in summer 1958. The story follows the adult versions of characters who stumbled on Pennywise (a horror monster) 28 years ago. 

After battling the creature, they promised to reunite in the same place. Pennywise is back, still preying on their children, and so do the repressed memories. The group decides to put an end to the nightmarish creature once and for all. 

King ends each chapter of the book abruptly and starts another mid-sentence to bring to life the adult characters’ flashbacks that seemingly merge with their present-day experiences. It is a terrifying tale that explores childhood trauma and the dynamics of friendship.  

“The haunting of hill house (1959)” by Shirley Jackson narrated by Bernadette Dunne 

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 7 hours and 29 mins

The Wall Street Journal dubbed it the greatest haunted house story ever written. Shirley Jackson (1916–1965), a well-celebrated writer of horror, mastered the art of writing stories with unexpected twists. Once you choose to listen to it, Bernadette Dunne’s well-textured voice will get you so damn close to the characters. Dunne portrays the characters quite well, giving each their own uniqueness and relatability. 

The hill house mansion broods evil forces, and some seekers have come to collect. Set to inherit the mansion, Luke Sanderson invites the guests for a solid evidence hunting mission. Dr. John Montague is an occult scholar obsessed with the paranormal. 

He leads his two friends, Eleanor, a homeless girl, and Theodora, his assistant, into the haunting mission that starts with spooky encounters and descends onto unimagined terror. 

“A head full of ghosts” by Paul Tremblay narrated by Joy Osmanski

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 8 hours and 49 mins

Shirley Jackson isn’t the only master at compelling ghost stories. This chilling spooky story brilliantly depicts one of this generation’s best horror through the imaginative mind of Paul Tremblay and the fascinating reading by Joy Osmanski. 

This multi-layered book with well-defined characters picks apart the facade of a perfect family engrossed in as many psychological terrors as supernatural ones. 

When Marjorie Barrett is diagnosed with acute schizophrenia, her typical suburban New England family desperately seeks help at places they usually wouldn’t. From failed doctors to Catholic priests suggesting exorcism to a reality tv show, Marjorie’s family devolves into a house of horrors. The Barrett household explodes in tragic events, all captured and broadcasted through the hit reality show. 

Years later, a best-selling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. The more she recalls events that took place when she was just eight, the more the long-buried secrets and tragic memories clashed with what aired back then surface. 

A mind-blowing tale of psychological horror is brought to the fore, raising serious questions about memory, reality, science, religion, and evil. This incredible horror novel places horror audiobooks firmly in the driver’s seat.

“The Shining” by Stephen King narrated by Campbell Scott 

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Length: 15 hours and 50 mins

This classic modern American horror story was written by Stephen King himself and narrated by the wonderful Campbell Scott. I got into Stanley Kubrick’s movie first, so I had pretty high expectations considering King’s books focus more on the supernatural stories.

Who is the lady in Room 217? Jack Torrance, who is the head of the family, gets a caretaker job at the Overlook hotel. He considers the place a perfect do-over in a new location and a chance to reconnect with his wife and kid. Instead, something sinister happens.

Winter settles in, and the hotel develops a life of its own. Jack becomes increasingly isolated, losing his insanity and becoming a danger. Enter Jack’s son, Danny Torrance, who is the most compelling character in the horror story. The uniquely gifted 5-year-old is the only one who notices the changes and forces closing in at the town. No one else does. But not for long.

“NOS4A2” by Joe Hill narrated by Kate Mulgrew 

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Length: 19 hours and 42 mins

A great audiobook narrator can take your reading experience to the next level. By lending a voice to the characters and the stories, they can transport you to a place where you truly know the characters and the complexities surrounding them. Kate Mulgrew’s reading of NOS4A2 (Nosferatu) by Joe Hill is outstanding. The fantastic narration by Kate Mulgrew is a wonder, and you can see why she’s collaborated with Joe in his other works, including yet another best horror audiobook, Fireman

Joe Hill, the award-winning New York Times bestseller and son to Stephen King, outshines his father’s mastery at writing mind-bending horror and supernatural thrillers with this one. 

This gripping old fashioned horror story portrays Charles Manx as a serial killer on the loose – anyone could be next. He leads his unsuspecting guests into Christmasland using his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2. 

Victoria McQueen’s intrigue is her uncanny knack at finding misplaced items and answers to tough questions. Vic finds her way into Charlie but manages to escape. A lifetime later, Charlie wants to exert revenge, and Vic is determined to face the uphill battle. 

This horrific tale has been adapted into an original drama series by AMC. 

“Carrion Comfort” by Dan Simmons, narrated by Mel Foster and Laural Merlington 

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Length: 39 hours and 00 mins 

Stephen King refers to Carrion Comfort as one of the three greatest horror novels of the 20th century, and it sure is. Being one of Dan Simmons’ earliest releases, it has mixed reactions from horror fans. However, what’s clear is how he’s managed to excel in gripping action sequences throughout his published works despite the length. 

Carrion comfort is one of the best horror fantasies that centers around Saul Laski, a violated Polish holocaust survivor, and his efforts to track down a mind-controlling nazi. Thirty years later, Saul and other survivors whose lives had been ruined by the monsters seek revenge. 

Saul plans to meet the creatures at a reunion that might determine the future of the world. What could go wrong? Mel Foster and Laural Merlington narrate of Dan Simmons’ best audiobooks with heart-pounding performance. 

“The Hunger” by Alma Katsu narrated by Kirsten Potter 

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Length: 10 hours and 34 mins 

Another horror story where people disappear, but from the mountains. The hunger is based upon real events but with a darker twist, effortlessly combining the supernatural and the historical. 

Kristen Potter excellently narrates the volatile depiction of human nature at its breaking point embodied by the Donner Party. This is a group of travelers who went through a series of misfortunes culminating in a little boy’s mysterious death, which drove them to chaos and murder. 

The travelers can’t escape cannibalism, tragedy, or bad luck, yet they still dream about what awaits them in the West world. The travelers embark on the most disastrous adventure, unearthing long-buried secrets.  

The hunger is a slow-burn but worth a listen. 

“Psycho” by Robert Bloch narrated by Richard Powers

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Length: 5 hours and 23 mins

Psycho is a horror novel that inspired the Alfred Hitchcock cult-classic film. As expected, this horror audiobook pulls you in even if you know what to expect. It’s perfect for the morning commute listen or a road trip.

Norman Bates is an unexpected twisted villain and admittedly the best character in the book. His character development and internal struggles hold your attention for the most part. 

He runs the infamous Bates motel with his wicked mother (Norma) in Fairvale town. Norman unknowingly invites a criminal (Mary Crane) to their home for dinner. The woman notices that Norman’s mother is violent and authoritative. She distances herself from the two, unaware of the gruesome fate awaiting her. 

Richard Powers does a good job adding to the suspense of such an enthralling listen. 

Tell us, what is your collection of best horror audiobooks?