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Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction Paperback – September 19, 2017
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“Pure, demented delight.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Paperbacks from Hell is as funny as it is engaging.”—The Washington Post
“The book is a true appreciation of the genre.”—Los Angeles Times
“Paperbacks from Hell is as wild as its source material.”—AV Club
“A nostalgic treat.”—Playboy Online
“Grady Hendrix has written a hugely entertaining, lightning-paced and knowledgeable history. I love it!”—Mick Garris, creator of Showtime's Masters of Horror
“You may find yourself trying to stock up on old titles so you can get your fill of gloriously trashy scares.”—Bustle
“Perhaps the best thing about Paperbacks from Hell is the voice of its author... which is always entertaining and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny.”—Creative Loafing
“A reference tome so entertaining, so authoritative, and so brilliantly assembled it’s frightening.”—Merry Jane
“As important and essential to the genre as Stephen King's Danse Macabre and Kim Newman's Nightmare Movies. Required reading for all ages, and filled with nostalgic, loving wonder.”—Brian Keene, best-selling author of The Rising and The Complex
“Fans of horror fiction will love this funny and insightful history.”—Library Journal, starred review
“The very best horror novel reference material on the shelves right now, bar none.”—Dread Central
“As a reference book, as a celebration, and as an appreciation, it’s one of the best books about the horror genre that I’ve ever had the pleasure to read...This gets my highest possible recommendation.”—Blu Gilliand, Cemetery Dance
“Like some malevolent force in one of his beloved novels, Hendrix’s geeky enthusiasm is infectious.”—Publishers Weekly
“Get ready to have a traumatic flashback.”—Booklist
“It’s a gorgeous, lurid deep-dive into horror’s heyday and a must-read for any self-respecting horror fan.”—Tor.com
“[Hendrix] approaches 20th century genre fiction with a historian’s eye and a comic’s sense of humor and timing.”—The Oklahoman
“Horror fiction is alive and well, and Paperbacks from Hell is a grand, affectionate, and informative celebration of the genre.”—NY Journal of Books
“A hugely entertaining history.”—Foreword Reviews
“An absolute delight.”—Forces of Geek
“Hendrix’s humorous, informative, and insightful commentary will compel you to read Paperbacks from Hell from start to finish.”—Geeks of Doom
“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
“I just loved this book.”—Charles De Lint, Fantasy & Science Fiction
“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 Hammett Prize nominee 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
“An absolute delight...any fan or writer of horror will love this book.”—Chris Byrnes, Books on the Square
“Hendrix’s infectious zeal for killer creatures and the undead make Paperbacks from Hell truly enjoyable.”—Fine Books Magazine
Praise for Grady Hendrix's Previous Titles
“National treasure Grady Hendrix follows his classic account of a haunted IKEA-like furniture showroom, Horrorstцr (2014), with a nostalgia-soaked ghost story, My Best Friend’s Exorcism.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Take The Exorcist, add some hair spray and wine coolers, and enroll it in high school in 1988 — that'll give you My Best Friend's Exorcism… Campy. Heartfelt. Horrifying.”—Minnesota Public Radio
“It’s clever, heartfelt, and get-under-your-skin unnerving without succumbing to any of the more predictable exorcism story tropes — things happen in this book that you will not expect. It will leave you sleepless because you won’t want to put it down, and you’ll be too scared to.”—Fangoria
“A touching story of high school friendship and, well, demonic possession.”—Bloody Disgusting
“Sharply written...Hendrix has made strong progress as a novelist, and this book makes a convincing case for his powers as a sharp observer of human behavior, filtered through a fun genre conceit that doesn’t skimp on the spooky—or the bodily fluids.”—The A.V. Club
“Readers who thought Heathers wasn’t quite bleak enough will find this darkly humorous horror tale—filled with spot-on 80s pop-culture references—totally awesome.”—Booklist, starred review
“From the author of the acclaimed Horrorstor, this book packs all the magic of a summer horror flick.”—Bustle
“[Hendrix proves his] own black-magic mettle by conjuring up an era where ill-informed paranoia (and just plain ding-dongness) turned some of the quietest corners of America into fear factories, full of deep-rooted distrust and misspent rage. Too bad Satan never actually did show up back then. He woulda loved it.”—Wired.com
“If The Exorcist had been authored by Tina Fey instead of William Peter Blatty, it might have borne an uncanny resemblance to what Grady Hendrix has accomplished with My Best Friend’s Exorcism...Fans of satire, nostalgia, dark comedy and, well, demons should read this book.”—BookPage
“Horrorstör delivers a crisp terror-tale...[and] Hendrix strikes a nice balance between comedy and horror.”—Washington Post
“...disarming...”—Wall Street Journal
“...wildly fun and outrageously inventive...”—Shelf Awareness for Readers, starred review
“...Hendrix conjures up some wonderfully gruesome imagery...”—Nerdist
“If you’ve ever been frustrated trying to put together furniture from IKEA, you’ll get a laugh out of Hendrix’s spoof mystery.”—New York Post
About the Author
Grady Hendrix is a novelist and screenwriter based in New York City. His novels include Horrorstör, named one of the best books of 2014 by National Public Radio, and My Best Friend’s Exorcism, for which the Wall Street Journal dubbed him “a national treasure.” Paperbacks from Hell, his survey of outrageous horror novels of the 1970s and 80s, was called “pure, demented delight” by the New York Times Book Review. He’s contributed to Playboy, The Village Voice, and Variety.
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I really like this book. I recommend it highly. It fills a void and it's interesting to see some of these titles going from give-aways to upwards of $2000 for heretofore unknown masterpieces such as The Voice of the Clown.
If you're at all intrigued, you'll enjoy this.
Along with the factual information, there are many humor laced commentaries that had me grinning from ear to ear. For example, there is a section on "PARENTING THE HOMICIDAL CHILD". After determining the type of "homicidal child" you have, Hendrix gives the reader some great advice stemming from the pages of these old paperbacks.
"Adopted or chemically altered children should be destroyed immediately because they can not be reformed. No matter how hard you try, they probably will, at some point, go on a rampage and murder all your other children . . . "
There are also precautions to take to make sure you are not dating the devil. If, however, you still give birth to the spawn of Satan, "all is not lost. Look on the bright side: deadly children are the best-dressed children. . . . A coat and tie says either "tiny funeral director" or "psychopath". . . "
This book had me scouring my TBR piles for these "golden relics"--and soon to be camping out at any used book store I can find. Personally, I found the uniformity in covers during certain periods to be shocking. When reading all of those books by Patricia Wallace or Ruby Jean Jensen, it never occurred to me at the time that nearly all of the cover art depicted skeletons, in some form or other. Of course, a wise word of warning was included by Hendrix: "Skeleton doctors are the worst doctors."
". . . To be honest, I'm not even sure their licenses to practice medicine are legal. . . "
Overall, a fantastic addition to any horror enthusiast's bookshelves, and a great reference on which "forgotten gems" you should run out and spend more money on!
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 were no different. Paperbacks from Hell puts it all into perspective in an easy to read and humorous way. All the while vividly punctuated with those freaking AWESOME horror book covers of that time!
I bet you remember those covers too. The Sentinel with the priest looking out at you; Flowers in the Attic with those children looking out at you...and ALL those children from the John Saul books, (though at least one was blind and was NOT looking at you.) I had a mad grin on my face the entire time I was reading this, and with its funny chapter titles like "What to Expect When You're Expecting (a Hell Baby)," and its funny observations about life back then, how could I not? I'd wager that you'll have a mad grin on your face too.
Contributing a great deal to this book was Will Errickson and his blog, Too Much Horror Fiction.
Paperbacks From Hell gets my highest recommendation! Period.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Quirk books for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it. *