Horror books are masterpieces with unforgettable characters that strike inexplicable fear to the reader’s heart. Despite the terror, numerous book lovers can’t put down published horror novels merely because they want to know what comes next. Here are the top horror novel characters that many of self-publishing authors will mostly take inspiration from.

Hannibal Lecter

Serial killer Hannibal Lecter is well-known for being the fear-inducing antihero in the thriller novel Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs from Thomas Harris. In Hannibal and Hannibal Rising though, he became the protagonist as these details his own background.

Count Dracula & Abraham van Helsing

As the characters from Bram Stoker’s book Dracula, both Count Dracula and Abraham van Helsing count as impressive characters worth noting. Count Dracula set the standard for vampire characters in horror novels. On the other hand, Abraham van Helsing became an icon for vampire hunters.

Jack Torrance

John Daniel Edward Torrance, popularly known as Jack Torrance, is the antagonist of the horror novel entitled The Shining. Jack Torrance is another brainchild of Stephen King. Jack Torrance became a popular character through the famous scene in The Shining‘s film adaptation – the “Here’s Johnny” scene.

Victor Frankenstein & Frankenstein’s Monster

Mary Shelly’s book entitled Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus brought to life the characters Victor Frankenstein and his monster. Victor Frankenstein is a scientist with an uncanny interest in chemistry. He eventually gave life to his monster, which became his family’s murderer.

Pennywise the Dancing Clown

Nowadays, both children and adults are familiar with the Killer Clown character. The modern archetype of the killer clowns is Pennywise the Dancing Clown from Stephen King’s novel It. This evil clown terrorizes children as it feeds on their fears.

The Phantom of the Opera

Haunting the Palais Garnier opera house, The Phantom of the Opera falls in love with an opera singer and attempts to force her to marry him. Of course, the Phantom has a secret he doesn’t want his bride to see lest she runs away from him. From Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera is not only available as a novel. It also has stage and film adaptations.

Regan MacNeil

Regan MacNeil is the possessed young girl in the masterpiece The Exorcist. This character became well-known thanks to the film adaptation of the novel. Regan MacNeil currently holds an influence over demonic possession scenes, especially in films.

It is definitely a good idea to take inspiration from these characters, especially if you want to become a self-published author. The aforementioned characters are already considered as archetypes. It should not be that difficult to market your books globally if you understand these archetypes for horror novels.