Nenia ☠️ Hecka Wicked ☠️ Campbell's Reviews > Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction

Paperbacks From Hell by Grady Hendrix
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it was amazing
bookshelves: pop-goes-the-culture, nonfiction, netgalley

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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 a celebration of horror from its early days to the 90s. It contains bite-sized reviews from his favorites - or at least the most memorable - discusses the game-changers and front-runners in the various sub-genres of horror (e.g. Gothic romance, vampire novels, splatterpunk, serial killer books, haunted houses, etc.), has beautiful, high-quality pictures of some of the cover art (and even goes into some of the more notable arists themselves), and is basically a celebration of the creepy and the wyrd.

I expected it to be good, since it was published by Quirk Books and I've liked 90% of everything of theirs I've read, but I wasn't expecting this book to be this good. Some of these meta-books can be pretentious, but PAPERBACKS FROM HELL was just pure fun. Finally, someone who gets the ironic, self-indulgent pleasure of indulging in the ridiculously dated and ridiculously fun books of yesteryear! He even gives a nod to bodice rippers, when discussing Gothic romances.

OBVIOUSLY my favorite sections were the Gothic/vampire romance sections and the sections on teen horror, because those two niches are my jam and I will spread them as thickly on toast as I can until the bread tears (or until I run out of shelf space). Crummy metaphor (ha - toast, get it?); let's just say that there's a genre of horror that I like and there's genres of horror that I don't like.

HOWEVER, even though not all of these horror novels are my cups of tea, Hendrix made me want to revisit the genre. I used to read exclusively horror when I was a teen - Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz - THE DARKER THE BETTER, I thought! Until I started having nightmares all the time...and at fourteen became briefly too traumatized to stand too near the shower drain (or the sink) after reading IT. After that, I started to tone it down.

His enthusiasm and the amazing cover art would make this a must-read on their own, but the content is also great and I feel like he brings fresh insight and humor to the genre that is just extra. If you're a fan of horror at all, you should pick this up. It might bulk up your to-read list, but that's ok, right?

Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!

4.5 to 5 stars
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Reading Progress

August 2, 2017 – Started Reading
August 2, 2017 – Shelved
August 2, 2017 – Shelved as: pop-goes-the-culture
August 2, 2017 –
page 1
0.39% "So, real talk: I may have actually done a happy little victory dance when I found out I'd been approved for this.

Expect a flood of silly-looking horror novels to fill your feeds as I immediately mark all of these gems as to-read."
August 2, 2017 –
page 11
4.33% ""Women Running from Houses"

OMG, he nailed 90% of 70s Gothic Romance covers. LOL"
August 2, 2017 –
page 77
30.31% "This book is so good! It's making me want to buy a whole bunch of vintage horror novels."
August 3, 2017 –
page 158
62.2% "OMG, I've added soooo many books to my to-read list.

Obviously my favorite chapter so far is the one devoted to Gothic Romance novels and Vampires. Because...well, OBVIOUSLY. ;)"
August 3, 2017 –
page 161
63.39% " The most expressive parts of [a heroine's] body are her nipples. They noticeably harden, when she is aroused, surprised, confused, or meeting new people. They are practically prehensile tentacles capable of lengthening, thickening, unfurling, budding, flaring, and swelling.


I guess you could say the author nipped that metaphor in the bud."
August 3, 2017 – Finished Reading
August 4, 2017 – Shelved as: nonfiction
August 4, 2017 – Shelved as: netgalley

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Nenia ☠️ Hecka Wicked ☠️ Campbell karen wrote: "AAAAAAHHHHHHH"

:D :D :D

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