Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History Of '70s And '80s Horror Fiction by Grady HendrixPaperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History Of '70s And '80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix

Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History Of '70s And '80s Horror Fiction

byGrady Hendrix

Paperback | September 19, 2017

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An affectionate, nostalgic, and unflinchingly funny celebration of the horror fiction boom of the 1970s and ’80s
Take a tour through the horror paperback novels of two iconic decades . . . if you dare. Page through dozens and dozens of amazing book covers featuring well-dressed skeletons, evil dolls, and knife-wielding killer crabs! Read shocking plot summaries that invoke devil worship, satanic children, and haunted real estate! Horror author and vintage paperback book collector Grady Hendrix offers killer commentary and witty insight on these trashy thrillers that tried so hard to be the next Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby. Complete with story summaries and artist and author profiles, this unforgettable volume dishes on familiar authors like V. C. Andrews and R. L. Stine, plus many more who’ve faded into obscurity. Also included are recommendations for which of these forgotten treasures are well worth your reading time and which should stay buried.
Grady Hendrix is a novelist and screenwriter based in New York City. His novels include Horrorstör, named one of the best books of 2014 by National Public Radio, and My Best Friend’s Exorcism, for which the Wall Street Journal dubbed him “a national treasure.” The Bram Stoker Award-winning Paperbacks from Hell, his survey of outrageous...
Title:Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History Of '70s And '80s Horror FictionFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:256 pages, 10 × 7.04 × 0.89 inShipping dimensions:10 × 7.04 × 0.89 inPublished:September 19, 2017Publisher:Quirk BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1594749817

ISBN - 13:9781594749810


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delightful! This is a cool retrospective look at the horror paperback craze that dominated bookshelves and supermarket checkout stands from the 1970's until the early 1990's. Amazing artwork of some of the most shocking book covers that lured readers in to tales of fear. Loved it!
Date published: 2019-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this book!! I bought this book and fell in love. What a great book for those who love horror paperbacks. This book is pretty complete and full of cover art that is a fantastic reference.
Date published: 2018-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Going Down Memory Lane Such a fun book, full of insights and photos of book covers from the boom of the horror book era between 1970 and 1990. Brought back some great books that I read in my younger years and some names that I didn't know about but well soon read:) Very insightful and full of humour, a must read for anyone that loves horror and for those that are considering venturing into this gruesome genre!
Date published: 2017-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really fun and interesting! This book is fascinating. Well written and laid out, it ties in trends in horror fiction with the events of that decade. The book is also packed full of book covers, which are beautiful, disgusting and creepy all at once. I would recommend Paperbacks From Hell to anyone who has enjoyed the genre.
Date published: 2017-11-11

Read from the Book

IntroductionYears ago at a science-fiction convention, I was flipping through the dollar boxes at a dealer’s table when this Hector Garrido cover for The Little People brought my eyeballs to a screeching halt. I wasn’t a book collector— I didn’t even know who Hector Garrido was—but I knew what this was: the Mona Lisa of paperback covers. I bought it so fast my fingers blistered. I never expected to actually read the book . . . but three months later, I fished it out of my “To Be Read” pile and cracked it open.     I knew John Christopher’s name from his Tripods science-fiction series, which had been serialized as a comic strip in the back of Boys’ Life magazine. But this 1966 Avon novel was stronger stuff. In it, a gorgeous secretary inherits an Irish castle from a distant relative and converts it into a B&B to show her patronizing lawyer/fianc. that she can stand on her own. On opening weekend, the house is full of guests: an Irish dreamboat alcoholic, two bickering Americans with a hot-to-trot teenage daughter, and a married couple who met in a concentration camp, where he was a guard and she was a prisoner.     But some uninvited guests are lurking in the basement: the Gestapochauns.     The Gestapochauns live in the dark, battling their ancient rat enemies with teeny bullwhips. Shortly after we meet them, the author lets us know that these are not just any Nazi leprechauns. These are psychic Nazi leprechauns who enjoy S&M, are covered with scars from pleasure/pain sessions with their creator, were trained as sex slaves for full-sized human men, and are actually stunted fetuses taken from Jewish concentration camp victims. And one of them is named Adolph.     While all this information is being hosed into the reader’s eyes like a geyser of crazy, this book rockets from 0 to 60 on the loony meter and overdelivers on practically every level. From the moment the Gestapochauns play a mean practical joke on the old Irish washerwoman who works in the kitchen to the moment that the lawyer/fianc. realizes exactly what the Nazi leprechaun named Greta is up to in his pants, it’s one fifty-page freakout that’s firing on every cylinder.     Sadly, the Gestapochauns are completely absent from the last thirty pages of the book. The author devoted the remaining pages to a discrete psychic battle that takes place in the dreams of the non-psychic, non-Nazi, non-leprechaun members of the cast. In other words, the Boring People. Yet Christopher and his Gestapochauns fly so high and so far in those middle passages that they practically touch the sun.     No matter what book I read next, the Gestaopchauns clung to my gray folds, whispering to me in my sleep: What else has been forgotten? After some latenight googling brought me to Will Errickson’s Too Much Horror Fiction blog, I blacked out. One year later, I woke up squatting in the middle of an aisle at Sullivan’s Trade-a-Book in the heart of South Carolina, surrounded by piles of musty horror paperbacks. Apparently I was buying them. Apparently I was reading them. Apparently I was addicted.     The books I love were published during the horror paperback boom that started in the late ’60s, after Rosemary’s Baby hit the big time. Their reign of terror ended in the early ’90s, after the success of Silence of the Lambs convinced marketing departments to scrape the word horror off spines and glue on the word thriller instead. Like The Little People, these books had their flaws, but they offered such wonders. When’s the last time you read about Jewish monster brides, sex witches from the fourth dimension, flesh-eating moths, homicidal mimes, or golems stalking Long Island? Divorced from current trends in publishing, these out-of-print paperbacks feel like a breath of fresh air. Get ready to meet some of my new favorite writers: Elizabeth Engstrom. Joan Samson. Bari Wood. The Lovecraftian apocalypse of Brian McNaughton. The deeply strange alternate universe of William W. Johnstone. Brenda Brown Canary, whose The Voice of the Clown is one of the few books to actually make my jaw drop. You’ll hear the dark whisperings of Ken Greenhall, the gothic Southern twang of Michael McDowell, the clipped British accent of James Herbert, the visionary chants of Kathe Koja, and the clinical drone of Michael Blumlein.     The book you’re holding is a road map to the horror Narnia I found hidden in the darkest recesses of remote bookstores—a weird, wild, wonderful world that feels totally alien today, and not just because of the trainloads of killer clowns. In these books from the ’70s and ’80s, doctors swap smokes with patients while going over their ultrasounds, housewives are diagnosed as having “too much imagination,” African Americans are sometimes called “negroes,” and parents swoon in terror at the suggestion that they have a “test tube baby.”     These books, written to be sold in drugstores and supermarkets, weren’t worried about causing offense and possess a jocular, straightforward, “let’s get it on” attitude toward sex. Many were published before the AIDS epidemic, at the height of the Swinging ’70s, and they’re unapologetic about the idea that adults don’t need much of an excuse to take off their clothes and hop into bed.     Though they may be consigned to dusty dollar boxes, these stories are timeless in the way that truly matters: they will not bore you. Thrown into the rough-andtumble marketplace, the writers learned they had to earn every reader’s attention. And so they delivered books that move, hit hard, take risks, go for broke. It’s not just the covers that hook your eyeballs. It’s the writing, which respects no rules except one: always be interesting.     So grab a flashlight and come wander down these dark aisles. The shelves are dusty, the lighting is dim, and there’s no guarantee you’ll come back unchanged or come back at all. All you need is a map and you’re ready to take a tour of the paperbacks from hell.

Editorial Reviews

“Pure, demented delight.”—The New York Times Book Review“Paperbacks from Hell is as funny as it is engaging.”—The Washington Post“The book is a true appreciation of the genre.”—Los Angeles Times“Just thumbing through these pages will bring back your youth—and terrify you all over again.”—Newsday“A loving examination of lurid pulp book covers from the 1970s and ’80s.”—Atlas Obscura“Paperbacks from Hell is as wild as its source material.”—The A.V. Club“[Paperbacks from Hell] will delight anyone with an interest in horror, design illustration, or the macabre.”—Print Magazine “A nostalgic treat.”—Playboy Online“You may find yourself trying to stock up on old titles so you can get your fill of gloriously trashy scares.”—Bustle“Terrific...Written with wit and affection, lavishly illustrated with a wide selection of the era’s cover art, Paperbacks from Hell was an attempt to reckon with the tidal wave of horror narratives that filled the bookshelves for two decades.”—Locus“The ultimate resource for paperback horror novels from the ’70s and ’80s.”—Bloody Disgusting “The very best horror novel reference material on the shelves right now, bar none.”—Dread Central“As a reference book, as a celebration, and as an appreciation, it’s one of the best books about the horror genre that I’ve ever had the pleasure to read...This gets my highest possible recommendation.”—Blu Gilliand, Cemetery Dance“[A] literary house of horrors.”—Houston Chronicle“[Hendrix] approaches 20th century genre fiction with a historian’s eye and a comic’s sense of humor and timing.”—The Oklahoman“Really fun to flip through if you love kitschy ’70s and ’80s book culture.”—CNETPraise for We Sold Our Souls:An NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour PickAn io9 2018 Fall Preview Pick“Kickass, horrifying, and smart as hell. It certainly earns my two horns up.”—Dread Central “Wild and fun, genuinely terrifying in places, and also somehow heartfelt.”—“A fast-paced ride, firmly rooted in the pulp horror tradition…Hendrix’s darkest novel yet will leave readers begging for an encore.”—Booklist, starred review“Hendrix's pulpy love letter to heavy metal music is a gloriously over-the-top scare fest that has hidden depths. Readers will root for Kris all the way to the explosive, poignant finale.”—Publishers Weekly“Horror and humor play off each other in a delicate dance.”—Nightmare Magazine Praise for My Best Friend’s Exorcism:“National treasure Grady Hendrix follows his classic account of a haunted IKEA-like furniture showroom, Horrorstor (2014), with a nostalgia-soaked ghost story, My Best Friend’s Exorcism.”—The Wall Street Journal“Take The Exorcist, add some hair spray and wine coolers, and enroll it in high school in 1988 — that’ll give you My Best Friend’s Exorcism...Campy. Heartfelt. Horrifying.”—Minnesota Public Radio “Clever, heartfelt, and get-under-your-skin unnerving.”—Fangoria “A touching story of high school friendship and, well, demonic possession.”—Bloody Disgusting “Terrific...Sharply written...[My Best Friend’s Exorcism] makes a convincing case for [Hendrix’s] powers as a sharp observer of human behavior, filtered through a fun genre conceit that doesn’t skimp on the spooky—or the bodily fluids.”—The A.V. Club Praise for Horrorstor:“Horrorstör delivers a crisp terror-tale...[and] Hendrix strikes a nice balance between comedy and horror.”—The Washington Post“Disarming.”—The Wall Street Journal“Hendrix conjures up some wonderfully gruesome imagery.”—Nerdist“An inventive, hilarious haunted house tale.”—Bustle “If you’ve ever been frustrated trying to put together furniture from IKEA, you’ll get a laugh out of Hendrix’s spoof mystery.”—New York Post