Historical Horror

What is Historical Horror?

Historical horror is simply a horror story with a historical setting. The historical setting can contain sites found in legitimate history textbooks. This subgenre often features caricatures of people from history that include serial killers, politicians, writers, and many other historical figures. The caricatures can be alive or dead (or undead). Though the figures used in the genre are often real people that existed, the reality of the characters can be manipulated. Winston Churchill could be portrayed as a transvestite zombie for example and many other variations. So simply put, if the book has a historical setting, it can fall into this subgenre.


Characteristics of Historical Horror

Level of Characterization
Moderate. Often mixes true facts about the historical characters with fictitious ones.

Level of Plot Complexity

Level of Supernatural
High level. A majority of popular books in this subgenre involve monsters.

Level of Scary
Moderate. Historical horror novels range from comical to serious.

Level of Violence 
Typical Setting
Any historical setting.

Related Fantasy Sub-Genres

Cthulhu Mythos, Bizarro, Supernatural.

Historical Horror Isn’t For You If You Dislike

Alternate histories.


    1. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seth Grahame-Smith. Reveals the hidden history of Abraham Lincoln.

    2. Henry VIII, Wolfman, A.E. Moorat. When Henry VIII is attacked by werewolves, he begins to undergo some changes.

    3. Cry To Heaven, Anne Rice. The society of the Venetian castrati in the 18th Century are explored in this novel.

    4. Black Hills, Dan Simmons. The ghost of General Custer enters a young Sioux warrior on the battlefield at the Little Bighorn.  
    5. The Spider Glass, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. First of the stories in the collection Saint-Germain Chronicles.

    6. The Terror, Dan Simmons. The crew on the HMS Terror face scurvy and starvation during an expedition.

    7. Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter, A.E. Moorat. Queen Victoria is a killer of evil creatures.

    8. The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova.  A young lady discovers a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.

    9. Out of the House of Life, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. First of the stories of the Madelaine de Montalia.

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