Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the '70s and '80s by Grady Hendrix

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Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the '70s and '80s by Grady Hendrix

Category: Horror
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: An overview of 70's and 80's horror fiction, and packed full with images and commentary of the funny, campy, and sometimes truly horrific books that marked a new publishing genre and filled the shelves some years ago.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: September 2017
Publisher: Quirk Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1594749810

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Demonic possession, murderous babies, man-eating moths… for these books, no plot was too ludicrous, no cover art too appalling, no evil too despicable. Now horror author Grady Hendrix risks his soul and his sanity (not to mention the reader's!) to relate the true, untold story of a fascinating and often forgotten era in publishing.

Read the synapse-shattering story summaries!
See the horrific hand-painted cover imagery!
And learn the true-life tales of the writers, artists, and publishers who gleefully violated every literary law but one – never be boring.

Grady Hendrix is a huge horror fan, as anyone who has read his books can confirm. I read My Best Friend's Exorcism by the author last year, and it's a read packed full of nostalgia and references to the horror films that are clearly a passion for the author, and here he turns his expert eye to the horror novel – which are clearly something beloved by the author. As a child I was utterly terrified by novels like this – I recall seeing one with an image of an undead Abraham Lincoln on it that prevented me from getting to sleep for quite some time, certain of the fact that as soon as I closed my eyes, old Abe would appear from underneath the depths of my bed… Now, twenty five odd years on, I find them rather fun to look at and read about, relics of a publishing age that seems to have passed somewhat. Whilst I can't say I've read many of them – I feel a hell of a lot better informed know I've read this.

As a whole, this is a fun and fact filled book that balances image with text very well – there are hundreds of paperback covers featured and discussed here, and Grady does it with a touch that is as light as it is expert – this isn't a full on literary examination of the specific genre, more a casual chat over a few drinks that will leave the reader coming away enthused, excited, and more than a little disgusted. Hendrix is clearly an expert in this field, and his commentary is hilariously funny, packed full of insightful facts, biographies of authors and summaries of some of the more interesting books of the many featured. The lightness and irreverence that Grady applies to inform the reader is clearly one that comes from a place of real love and passion for this genre though, and that shines through the book on every single page.

If you recall reading about mystery magicians, devil dogs, haunted houses, plotting plants, virile vampires, scary skeletons and wicked witches, then this will be a must read for you – full of fun and nostalgia. If you never picked up a horror paperback but feel like reading a hilariously and well crafted guide to this genre, then you should give this a read too – you may, like me, find yourself scouring the shelves of your local second hand bookshop for a fair few of these pulpy paperbacks.

Many thanks to the publishers for the copy, and for further reading I recommend My Best Friend's Exorcism, another book where the author's true love for horror shines through, combined with pop culture references and a love for the teen dramas that filled the late 80's and 90's.

Buy Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the '70s and '80s by Grady Hendrix at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the '70s and '80s by Grady Hendrix at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the '70s and '80s by Grady Hendrix at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the '70s and '80s by Grady Hendrix at Amazon.com.


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