I love ‘80s horror paperbacks! To cover all my favorites would require a massive list, but today we’re just talking Paperbacks from Hell. From Mad Slasher vibes to artwork so dope it reminds me of old VHS covers. So here it is, my friends, take a good look at these beauties!
1. THE LITTLE PEOPLE by John Christopher
"Just look at this craziness.... Nazi Leprechauns!"
An engaged couple, British, become the owners of a castle in Ireland and turn it into a hotel. They find their love for one another disturbed, nearly shattered, by the guests they have taken in and in whose lives they become entangled. But more disturbing, more shattering, are the haunting suggestions of an intrinsic evil in the castle, of a presence that is hostile and mysterious.
by Jane Parkhurst
"Just beautiful! And very rare!"
Radiant, innocent, her perfect oval face crowned by a glory of red-gold curls, Isobel left the Inverness convent a devout servant of God. Then - ravaged a shocked by a brutal marriage - she learned a new kind of devotion - to evil! And a sensuous devotion to the mysterious Frenchman who brought her ecstasy.
By day she was a model village wife. On moonlit nights - when the coven people called and her lover summoned - she rode in wild abandon to do demonic mischief. And even murder!
3. DARK ADVENT
by Brian Hodge
It arrives without warning: a devastating plague, the medieval Black Death weaponized for the age of global terrorism.
Like a biblical pestilence, this plague sweeps through modern civilization almost overnight, destroying good and evil alike, leaving only a handful of survivors to make their way through an empty landscape and face the unknown horrors awaiting them in a savage new world.
Soon, all that stands between the reborn world and a reign of insanity is this unlikely fortress of humanity, armed with what can be found on a department store shelf and what courage they can muster to battle a monstrous, merciless scourge...
by Henry W. Hocherman
"This cover is so gnarly. What a beautiful bride!"
Karen Gordon is young and beautiful as only a bride can be. But before she can say I do, a hideous evil takes possession of her. For within the once-radiant bride lives a grotesque evil--spawned in the hellish crucible of war and come of age to demand a hideous and ungodly justice!
5. THE PACK
by William Essex
Fueled by an insatiable hunger, driven by a consuming madness, the pack ravaged the countrtside, killing for sport - killing for food.
Possessed of an unnatural intelligence, skilled at stalking and attacking, they chased and devoured their human prey with the icy, snarling efficiency of the perfect killing machine.
Once they had been pets, now they were man's worst enemy - and their numbers were swelling.
BEWARE THEIR SLAVERING JAWS OF DEATH!
6. THE FARM
by Richard Haigh
Mad killer pigs?! Say no more. This cover stole my heart and my stomach.
by John Halkin
"A cover with a killer earthworm doesn’t get better than this. Makes me look at worms a little different now!"
The strange new beetles look like exquisite jewels--covered with emerald and yellow markings--but are utterly murderous! And now, gigantic worms are accompanying them--worms that turn pink after feasting on human blood. No one can escape their horrendous onslaught!
8. STAGE FRIGHT by Garrett Boatman
"Give me any '80s horror with a Bad-to-the-bone rocker on it!"
Out of the darkness of the fetid Hudson River, the undead rose to eat their victims alive...
Horror-movie monsters burst from late-night TV screens - to turn their viewers into victims.
Biker gangs of decomposing corpses rode the highways of America, on the hunt for unsuspecting motorists....
Take a front seat in the baddest nightmare in town. Superstar Izzy Stark has the power to make your dreams - and nightmares - come true. He's the master of disaster, the guru of gore, the doctor of doom, the duke of death and destruction - and you can't escape this command performance.
9. DYING BREATH BY Robert Walker
He felt most alive when he watched them die--writing, breathless, gasping for oxygen that wasn't there. But he could only draw out the pleasure for so long before his victims expired. And then it was time to choose another...
AN AIRTIGHT CASE
Death by asphyxiation. That's what Chicago medical examiner Dr. Dean Grant was forced to conclude by the gruesome evidence before him. Recognizing the work of a serial killer, Grant knew he'd have to move fast. The Windy City was in a panic, waiting for him to crack his most bizarre case yet... a case he vowed to solve even if it was with his dying breath...
10. RAZORS EDGE by Robert Walker
There seemed to be no rhyme nor reason to the series of grisly murders plaguing Orlando. The victims were old and young, men and women, well-off and destitute. Only two shocking similarities connected the unfortunate deceased: before dying, each one had been horribly brutalized... and they were all found with large portions of their scalps removed with surgical precision!
Medical examiner Dr. Dean Grant had had considerable success helping police hunt down serial killers in his native Chicago. And with Central Florida's best investigative minds baffled by an elusive trophy-hunting murderer--or murderers--the "Windy City" coroner flies down to the southern vacation capital to lend a hand...and a scalpel. But a maniac is lurking in the shadows, secretly studying the m.e.'s every move. And if Grant doesn't crack the gruesome case very soon, he could end up losing his hair prematurely...and his life as well!
Hope this list helps start your journey into the Hells of horror paperbacks!
I’m from a small town in northeast Ohio and a true lover all things horror related. I especially love going to book sales, flea markets, and used book stores to find rare paperbacks and retro vhs tapes! My perfect day is waking up early, getting strong coffee and going book hunting for some horror gold, then finishing the day off with a night of pizza, craft beer, and horror movies! So consider me your guide to ‘80s horror and follow me for more great suggestions. I promise I play nice <3