When someone brings up classic horror films like Rosemary’s Baby or The Exorcist, do you point out that those films started out as novels? If so, Recycled Books has the event for you! Saturday, March 17, at 6:00 PM, Recycled Books will be hosting celebrated author Grady Hendrix. Hendrix has recently published Paperbacks from Hell, a history of the evolution of mid-20th-century horror novels, including a discussion of some of those novels’ most notorious covers and the artists who created them.
Horror has often been marginalized, both in books and in film. In fact, Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby in 1967 was the first horror novel since 1940 to reach the bestseller lists. However, the success of that book and the subsequent film adaptation kicked off an explosion of horror novels such as The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty and The Other by Thomas Tryon, both published in 1971. Both of those novels were also adapted into successful films, as were many other popular horror novels throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Many of the conventions that people associate with horror paperbacks come from this time period, which ended after the popularity of the film adaptation of The Silence of the Lambs pushed the genre in a different direction.
Paperbacks from Hell celebrates the supernatural, larger-than-life, and sometimes even humorous elements of horror novels from the 1970s and 1980s. The book is made for fans of books featuring “Nazi leprechauns, skeleton doctors, killer crabs, killer jellyfish, killer babies, pretty much killer everything.” Although it is less common to find newer horror novels written in this style, the books of that era maintain a devoted following today. The book has received high praise in many high-profile outlets. The New York Times Book Review described Paperbacks from Hell as “pure, demented delight,” while The Washington Post dubbed it “as funny as it is engaging.”
Grady Hendrix clearly counts himself among those devotees, having written two horror novels himself, as well as collaborating on the screenplay of Mohawk, a horror movie set during the War of 1812. Hendrix has also written for such diverse publications as Slate, Film Comment, Playboy, Chinese television, academic journals, and television schedules.
Saturday’s event will feature Hendrix presenting material from Paperbacks from Hell, as well as signing books. The event starts at 6:00 PM on the 17th at Recycled Books. For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page.