Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix | Book Review

February 25th – 26th

What a wild ride this book is.

At this point it’s really no secret that I’ve fallen in love with the horror genre, and that the author who reintroduced me to it is Grady Hendrix. I’ve loved all of the fiction that I’ve read from Hendrix, but he’s probably just as well known for this non-fiction retrospective about horror from the ’70s and ’80s.

This book is full of crazy covers, convoluted plots, and horrific monsters. Hendrix breaks the era down by type of book, talking about demons, animal-related books, gothic horror, and more. He then further breaks those categories down, giving clear examples and excerpts of plot from some of his favorites.

One of the best parts of this book is actually the legacy that it left. In partnership with Valancourt Books, there’s now a run of Paperbacks from Hell favorites, reprinted with forwards by Grady Hendrix and Will Erriickson (author of Too Much Horror Fiction).

This book is a really great manual for people who are interested in horror fiction, and touches on books which got the genre started, as well as weird, out there books about evil babies and giant bugs. Luckily for me, there was no section on spiders in this book.

I really enjoyed reading about all of these books, and I loved seeing Hendrix insert his humor into his descriptions of the plots. I found it a quick and fascinating read, and it’s definitely one I’ll go back to if I want to check out older horror fiction. As with anything Hendrix writes, I’ll check it out as soon as possible, including his newest fiction title The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, which came out April 7th.


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