Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction is a 2017 American book by Grady Hendrix, published by Quirk Books.
“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 Grady Hendrix offers killer commentary and witty insight on these trashy thrillers that tried so hard to be the next Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby.
It’s an affectionate, nostalgic, and unflinchingly funny celebration of the horror fiction boom of two iconic decades, complete with story summaries and artist and author profiles.
You’ll find familiar authors, like V.C. Andrews and R.L. Stine, and many more who’ve faded into obscurity. Plus recommendations for which of these forgotten treasures are well worth your reading time and which should stay buried.”
“Hendrix pokes fun at the outrageous premises, but he also champions the diamonds in the rough, like Ken Greenhall’s Elizabeth (written under the pseudonym Jessica Hamilton) and Michael McDowell’s Blackwater series. It’s that genuine passion and admiration for the subject matter that elevates Paperbacks from Hell beyond a mere fun read and into must-own territory.” Alex DiVincenzo, Broke Horror Fan
“Grady Hendrix has written a hugely entertaining, lightning-paced and knowledgeable history. I love it!” Mick Garris, creator of Masters of Horror
“Get ready to have a traumatic flashback.” Booklist
“Like Hendrix’s fiction, this nonfiction book has the snarky humor, but you can also not deny his true, undead love for these books … Anyone who has ever read a horror paperback will find something here to enjoy.”RA for All
“Paperbacks From Hell is my all-time favorite book. I grew up reading these crazy things, and Grady Hendrix gleefully excavates this rich yet overlooked vein in the horror genre. It’s smart, it’s hilarious, and you have skeletons driving cars and dressed up like cheerleaders. What more could you want? This will soon become your all-time favorite book, too.” Duane Swierczynski, author of Revolver
“A ferociously entertaining spook-ride through yesterday’s horror fiction and their glossy, often perverse covers. My God, there are even Nazi leprechauns! This is a helluva lot of fun!!!” Frank Henenlotter, director of Basket Case
Image credits: Timothy O’Donnell