Paperbacks from Hell – Grady Hendrix #BookReview

Title: Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the ’70s and ’80s | Author: Grady Hendrix | Publisher: Quirk Books | Pub. Date: 09/19/2017 | Pages: 256 | ISBN13: 9781594749810 | Genre: Non-Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Self-Purchased

Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the ’70s and ’80s

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.

Paperbacks from Hell Review

I have to admit it. When I ordered Paperbacks from Hell I wasn’t really expecting too much. In fact, I thought at first that it was a bit over-priced. I figured it would be a bunch of pretty pictures of book covers with some light captioning but that was about it. I was very, very wrong. The book itself is well put together, inside and out. I would definitely recommend getting the paperback copy. The e-book might be just as pretty but I can’t see it having the same lay-out or feel to it. The pages are thick and the pictures reproduced are gorgeous.

The text that goes along with the pictures is funny and informative. If I had to compare it to something then Stephen King’s Danse Macabre would be the closest comparison. But while Danse Macabre got bogged down occasionally in dryness Paperbacks from Hell never does. 

With headings like ‘Parenting the Homicidal Child’ (first make sure you’re not dating Satan) and phrases like “Before Anne Rice, vampires killed humans. Now they got in touch with their sensitive sides while muffin-spelunking inside of them.” (page 153) this book left me actually laughing out loud. That’s no easy trick, I haven’t laughed at a book (in a good way) in quite a while.

I sincerely hope that Grady Hendrix follows up his book with a journey through the nineties and on. While some plots may not be quite so creatively insane there are some out there and some cover art that deserves showcasing. I was also very pleased to see some ‘forgotten’ favorites of mine in there.

If you’re looking for a quick, funny overview of the crazy days of the horror industry then I can’t recommend this book enough. I wanted to rip through Paperbacks from Hell but also take my time enjoying the crazy, beautiful covers of the ’70s and ’80s.

Paperbacks from Hell is a funny romp through the craziness that defined two decades and never leaves you bored. The commentary from Grady Hendrix (Horrorstor) will never leave you bored.

Check it out on Amazon

5 out of 5 Skulls


8 thoughts on “Paperbacks from Hell – Grady Hendrix #BookReview

  1. I had seen this book in my local independent book store, and been tempted, but . . . I glanced at my reading pile. Then I read this review. Then I bought the book. I just finished reading it about an hour ago.

    The book is loaded with cover art and snark. Given the subject, the two work well together. Like GracieKat, I found a number of entertaining lines to liven up this kaleidoscopic journey through the horror fiction industry in the 1970s and 80s. Not to mention the fun of recalling which of these covers I recalled, or even owned. While a few covers were missing, hey, I can always search for them on the Internet and find them.

    Overall, a fun read, quite entertaining and mildly educational.

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