Sunday, September 3, 2017
Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction, by Grady Hendrix
Probably my most-anticipated book of the year.
I usually rate books on a scale of 1-10, and the only book that I gave a perfect 10 to last year was MY BEST FRIEND'S EXORCISM, by Grady Hendrix. I am clearly not alone in counting the days until his next book, PAPERBACKS FROM HELL: THE TWISTED HISTORY OF '70S AND '80S HORROR FICTION, hits the stands, if this website is any indication: Paperbacks From Hell Countdown Clock.
I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of this gorgeous trade paperback from publisher Quirk, and I can say, without a doubt, that this book was worth both the wait and the hype.
I'm a pretty fast reader, but I made this book last, and stretched out the pleasure of reading it over a period of weeks. This was the fabled "I couldn't put it down!" book that we've all heard about. I savored every page, and I hated for it to end.
This is a beautiful production, with page after page of stunning paperback covers from the glory days of the Horror book of the 1970's and 1980's. I have quite a few of these books in my collection already, but be warned: You're going to spend a lot of time and money acquiring more; I had a small list that I kept as I read, and it rapidly grew longer and longer. Buy fast, before sellers wise up and jack the prices up.
I was expecting a coffee-table book, with occasional comments from Hendrix, but this is an honest-to-goodness history of the genre during the boom years, covering artists, authors, and publishers, taking you from boom to bust. Best of all, Hendrix writes about his subject with love, for both the books and those that made them. You can tell that this was a labor of love of his part, and his affection for these books shows through, no matter how bad a novel or author may be.
The book is divided into eight sections (Hail, Satan, Creepy Kids, When Animals Attack, Read Estate Nightmares, Weird Science, Gothic and Romantic, Inhumanoids, and Splatterpunks, Serial Killers, and Super Creeps) , and I was hard-pressed to think of any paperback from my childhood that Hendrix had overlooked. He even included two of my childhood favorites, SURROGATE, by Nick Sharman, and LUPE, by Gene Thompson.
Whether you were around for these classics and clunkers originally, or if they're all new to you, if you're a Horror fan, this is a book that you will treasure. Grady Hendrix has done it again, and I can't recommend this book highly enough.
PAPERBACKS FROM HELL: THE TWISTED HISTORY OF '70S AND '80S HORROR FICTION earns Hendrix another perfect score: Ten accursed tomes: 📕📕📕📕📕📕📕📕📕📕
Quirk provided a review copy.