Robin'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: kindle-drc, horror

Anyone who remembers (and read) horror novels from the 70s/80s will have a blast. I read the digital review copy but delayed my review until I could view the published book and it is freaking awesome.

Hendrix covers just about every horror book published during that period, writing about plots, authors, and the artists who created those lurid paperback covers. I was pleased to see many books I recognized but also a little embarrassed to realize how many I actually read (BURNING OFFERINGS, HOUSE NEXT DOOR, AMITYVILLE HORROR, 666, and of course, HAUNTING AT HILL HOUSE, ROSEMARY'S BABY, JAWS, and more). The backstories of classics and authors such as AMITYVILLE HORROR and V. C. Andrews were also fascinating. The chapter that gave me the most giggles consisted of horror novels featuring animals, including my favorite titles: KILLER CRABS, CRABS ON THE RAMPAGE, CRABS' MOON and CRABS: THE HUMAN SACRIFICE (The Sea Can't Hold Them. We Can't Stop Them. They're Here to Kill!).

But here's a surprising tidbit: Because of the librarian who guided this young reader from reading Nancy Drew to reading Victoria Holt, I instantly became hooked on gothic romances. Hendrix reports that when an editor started publishing gothic novels, he directed the art director to create covers with women fleeing dark castles with lights in the tower and to, "Make the tower tall and thick. Believe me, they'll get the phallic imagery." Huh? Really? As many of those novels I inhaled, it never dawned on me that what was what I was supposed to be seeing. Call me unobservant, I guess.

Anyway, this book is a hoot and librarians who back in the 70s and 80s stocked their shelves with these paperbacks (like I did for the Bookmobile) will totally enjoy thumbing through this well illustrated and written book.
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Reading Progress

August 10, 2017 – Shelved
August 10, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
August 10, 2017 – Shelved as: kindle-drc
Started Reading
August 25, 2017 – Finished Reading
May 28, 2018 – Shelved as: horror

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by BJ (new)

BJ You're not the only preteen to miss the symbolism, Robin. I had the same reading progression and the thought never entered my mind. Maybe it does for the grown women who read gothic novels but it sure didn't occur to me.


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