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Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,434 Ratings  ·  573 Reviews
Take a tour through the horror paperback novels of the 1970s and ’80s . . . 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 Gra ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 19th 2017 by Quirk Books
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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
This book is freaking awesome! There are tons of books in the book that I own or have owned. I have some that I will show. I didn't get all of them out but I will show a few and I will show a few pages of the book. I forgot to add my edition of Carrion Comfort! It's the same edition and it's laying over there and I forgot to get a picture of it. Lol.

The book tells about the different books and there are sections on different kinds of horror books. There are some that I want to find! Oh well.

oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for best nonfiction! what will happen?

i love this book more than anything. review to come.


actually, i'm going to pause on my chicken-pecking of this book and read it for real during spooktober. but it's great. fantastic. and i want more volumes of this to be published annually. if you don't have the book, you can look at this for now and get very excited:

A book about the period of time when the horror genre ruled the paperback racks at the bookstore? A book about the period of time in my life, (about Carrie's age, in fact), when I felt like an outsider, and horror made me feel included? Sign me up! Luckily, Quirk books and NetGalley did just that, and here we are.

This book is a reference book, a guide to life and times in the United States in the 70's and 80's. Things going on in the world and in society always affect our fiction and those times
Dan Schwent
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, 2018-books
Paperbacks from Hell covers the horror boom that started in the early 70's until its bitter end with the dawn of the 1990s and horror's displacement by serial killer fiction.

Aside from reading a ton of Stephen King in my late teens/early 20s, I'm a latecomer to the horror genre. Paperbacks from Hell was an education for me.

Paperbacks from Hell is a gorgeous book, full of cover images from the more notable books from the period. It's like a catalog of obscure horror novels.

Starting with the Satan
Jeffrey Keeten
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
”Between April 1967 and December 1973, everything changed.

In a little more than five years, horror fiction became fit for adults, thanks to three books. Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby, Thomas Tryon’s The Other, and William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist were the first horror novels to grace Publisher’s Weekly’s annual best-seller list since Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca in 1938. And except for three books by Peter ‘Jaws’ Benchley, they’d be the only horror titles on that list until Stephen King’s The De
Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix is a 2017 Quirk Books publication.

While most teenage girls my age were reading Harlequin romances or sneaking peeks inside their mother’s bodice rippers, I was glued to Gothic Romance/Horror/Mystery novels, which morphed into a full -fledged obsession with horror novels, which continued until my late teens, slowly fizzling out, as the horror genre went into a different direction, I didn't feel compelled to follow.

I wish I had had the presence of mind to ke
mark monday
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
A delightful coffee table book for my kind of living room. Hendrix has a sharp wit and a satirical voice, but his love for the genre is clear. Although he's a connoisseur, there's not a whiff of pretension to be found and this guidebook is crammed with plenty of context, history, and especially humor. I did not expect to laugh so much! In particular during his section on how to cope with deadly children, where he also quotes both Alain Robbe-Grillet and Erma Bombeck within the space of two sente ...more
Posted at Shelf Inflicted

This book was fantastic!

It covers horror fiction from the 70’s through the 80’s, with a little glimpse of the early 90’s.

Eight easy-to-read chapters with clever titles like “Hail, Satan,” “When Animals Attack,” “Creepy Kids,” and “Real Estate Nightmares,” explore different themes within the horror genre and the cultural anxieties prevalent at the time these books were written.

The writing was light, humorous, informative and imbued with a deep love for the horror genr
Jack Tripper

As a lifelong fan and collector of horror fiction, I've been waiting for a book like this to come along for years. There have been several books of literary criticism focusing on horror boom-era works, but nothing really that included the trashier side of the genre, and definitely nothing with the wealth of gloriously gaudy cover art (much of it contributed by Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction) featured here.

Because it covers such a wide range, Hendrix only goes fully in-depth on a handf
Kealan Burke
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fantastic. Like a slighter DANSE MACABRE, PAPERBACKS FROM HELL zeroes in on the rise of horror paperbacks in the 70s and 80s through to its decline in the 90s. I especially appreciated the attention given to the cover artists responsible for some of the truly masterful and evocative covers that had me grabbing these books in my formative years.

Well worth a look, but be warned, you'll immediately want to go on a book-buying spree after reading it.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you have any affinity to those old " horror"paperbacks published from the 1960's to the early 1990's then this book is a must have for you. And what a perfect time of the year to spend some time dwelling through these pages featuring some covers and plot synopsis of these spine tingling books.

With "Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the '70s and '80s" Grady Hendrix makes the trip down horrible publishing lane a joy and a treat. There are also a few laughs, something every
Cameron Chaney
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Imagine you are in a used bookshop. It’s dimly lit, obviously, with dusty tomes creating houses on the floor perfect for guests of the smaller variety. Rats? Possibly. Evil Nazi leprechauns? That’s crazy talk! But do watch your step… just to be safe. As you venture further, you say to yourself “I should turn back. All the new releases are in the shop’s front window, baking in the sun. I have no business with these musty old things. Yuck!” But you continue anyway, pulled by the essence of some un ...more
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I never realized how bat-shit crazy the 70's/80's paperback boom and then bust was. Now I do. And Grady is funny, doesn't pull any punches, nor does he hold back on praise when he deems it warranted, which generally went toward many of the cover artists. It was wonderful hearing their stories as well as the books' stories.

Loved, loved, loved this book.
Glenn Sumi
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read a library copy of this book about the rise of cheesy horror paperbacks in the 70s and 80s, but now, gosh darnit, I wish I owned a copy.

It would make the perfect coffee table book, something to occasionally leaf through, chuckle over and think on. And it would be a great conversation starter for guests (Nazi leprechauns! Man-eating crabs!) Plus: the physical quality of the book is outstanding: gorgeous full-colour illustrations, nice size and weight, thick stock, sturdy spine.

I actually r
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror

Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the '70s and '80s by Grady Hendrix is the history of the paperback horror novel. Hendrix is the author of the novels Horrorstör, the only book you'll ever need about a haunted Scandinavian furniture superstore, and My Best Friend's Exorcism.

In the mid-1970s I would go to the corner store, a Lawson, and raided the book rack. There was always a carousel of books near the front counter. Horror books took up most of the shelf space with everythi
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Every horror imaginable and the first thought I have to share is WHAT A BEAUTIFUL BOOK....inside and out!

Review on the way.....

Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

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Given my love for vintage novels of all kinds, you can imagine my reaction when I saw that vintage font peeping at me on Netgalley with its classic Gothic serifs, and red-black contrast. It looked exactly like a horror novel from the late 70s/early 80s. "What on Earth is that?" my inner book goblin cried. "I must have the precious!"

It turned out to be a meta-book published by Grady Hendrix, the author of Horrorstör. PAPERBACKS FROM HELL is
Jeff Strand
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book filled me with an urgent need to read every '80s horror paperback in existence, so I guess it did its job. As a reader, I was a bit late to the game, getting really into the non-King/Koontz stuff around the Dell Abyss era, so though I have a solid working knowledge of the horror paperback boom, this book covered plenty of books I'd never heard of. A thoroughly entertaining look back at an era most horror fans wish had never ended.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Horror book fans
PAPERBACKS FROM HELL: The Twisted History of '70's and '80's Horror Fiction, by Grady Hendrix was one of the most FUN books I've read in a while! A fantastic "reference guide" to some of those old paperbacks that many of us grew up on, Hendrix includes many facts about the horror industry, publishers, cover art, and even the "type" of horror that was in style during certain periods.

Along with the factual information, there are many humor laced commentaries that had me grinning from ear to ear. F
Jennifer ☼
This book is astonishing.

First of all, Paperbacks from Hell is a gorgeous book. All of the pages are in full color, and every aspect of this book is high quality. You could call it a coffee table book, but there's a lot more to Paperbacks from Hell than just the stunning paperback images.

Paperbacks from Hell is divided up into the major categories of horror fiction that were prevalent in the 70's and 80's. Topics like 'Hail, Satan', 'Creepy Kids', 'When Animals Attack', and 'Real Estate Nightmar
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-reads
This is such a beautiful and well put together book. I loved everything about it. Grady definitely did his research along with Will Errickson from Too Much Horror Fiction and their collective love of the genre and time period shines through.

Thanks, Grady.
You just cost me a bunch of dough.
I want these books.
All of them.
Thanks a lot.

Horace Derwent
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have a faith, faith in those old paperback horrors, now I'm reading a Bible of this faith :D

Thank you, Mr., no, Dr. Hendrix!!
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating look into the the resurgence of horror literature in the 70s and 80s, the trends of the genre and how world events shaped the state of horror at this time. 
Grady Hendrix has a wonderful flow to his writing, it's a congenial and easy to read style that is well suited to something like this. I often find non-fiction can be dry and stuffy but the tone of this remains light and relaxed, I read through the book in no time at all.
What I also loved about this book was that the st
Glenn Rolfe
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very fun and informative trip through the days of horror paperbacks. Hendrix doesn't look very old, so he must have done a ton of research for this project. Kudos to him for braving the massive pile of mostly horrible books so that we could experience it without regret.
I did note all of the books I haven't read that sounded great.
Now I have an even crazier To Be Read pile.
Thanks, Mr. Hendrix.

It was great to learn about the history of horror lit! And to see so many old covers! Also, my TBR is now much larger than when I started this book.
Bob Milne
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, reference
As the cover blurb says, take a tour through the horror paperback novels of the 1970s and ’80s with Grady Hendrix . . . if you dare! Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction is a gloriously grotesque trip down nostalgia lane that works on multiple levels.

First off, let's talk about the visuals. Browsing through all those bold, garish, blood-soaked covers is worth the price of admission alone. There are so many covers here that I recognized from my younger years,
Jim Lay
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not kidding when I say I've been waiting for this book for most of my life. My love for horror fiction started when I was 13 and read Gary Brandner's "The Howling". For a lonely ADHD kid, it was a revelation to me and launched a lifetime hobby of reading and collecting horror novels.
Hendrix awed me with his novels "Horrorstor" and "My Best Friend's Exorcism" and his love for the genre, along with his smart and snarky sense of humor, make this a must read.
I would love to see a volume 2. There
Book Riot Community
Okay, so this one is for a very select audience, but if horror books and/or cover art are in your wheelhouse, you’re going to love it! Hendrix, author of My Best Friend’s Exorcism and Horrorstör, presents the most outlandish, ghoulish, and creepy covers from old horror paperbacks he can find, complete with wonderfully witty commentary. A perfect gift for the horror lover in your life!

Backlist bump: The Amulet by Michael McDowell

Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All
Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin*
This was such a fun book. I really enjoyed all the vintage covers and the author's distilled (and hilarious) plot descriptions. The writing was funny and engaging, with some factual information sprinkled in for context.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Review to follow...I had no idea how much I needed this book!
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Grady Hendrix is the author of the novels Horrorstör, the only book you'll ever need about a haunted Scandinavian furniture superstore, and My Best Friend's Exorcism, which is like Beaches meets The Exorcist, only it's set in the Eighties.

His fiction has appeared in Lightspeed MagazineStrange Horizons, Pseudopod, and The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination. He is one of the founders of the
“Of course, every mother thinks her baby is perfect, but at some point, as her home fills with dead bodies, she has to face facts and admit that the fruit of her womb is a face-eating beast spawned from the deepest recesses of hell.” 0 likes
“writer Alain Robbe-Grillet said, “What do little girls dream about? Knives and blood.” 0 likes
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