Monday, December 5, 2011

Paperback Horror!

Anyone who knows me knows just how much I love ‘70s and ‘80s horror movie posters and VHS covers (my next comics project, after my current one, will likely involve them). Similarly, I also have a deep affection for trashy horror paperbacks of the same period. Their pulpy, painted covers and foreboding descriptions used to fire my imagination, years before I would be brave enough to actually read any of the darn things. I’m always on the lookout for a few key additions to my collection, and this past weekend, on a quick overnight trip to Summerside, PEI, I was able to scratch a few off my want list courtesy of a games store that carried used books as well.

First up was Whitley Streiber’s The Wolfen. I’ve written before about my love for Michael Wadleigh’s 1981 film adaptation, but I’ve never read the book it was based on. However, for some reason, my grandmother had a copy of the hardcover, and she kept it on a bookshelf in the room I used to stay in when my family visited her. The cover painting for the hardcover edition was graced with this creepy painting…

…but unfortunately, this was not the version I found. I scored a copy of the movie tie-in paperback instead, which for some reason doesn’t use the theatrical one-sheet OR the original hardcover illustration, but an entirely new image that kind of looks more like a pig or something.

I’m a big fan of the made-up adjective “superchilling”, as well as the copy on the back of the book that informs the reader that The Wolfen is “Now A Startling Film”. It kinda sounds like “Startling” is the name of the production company that made it. They didn’t want to quite commit to “Terrifying” or “Horrifying”, and they already used “superchilling” on the front, so…”Startling” it is.

Next up was another novel that was made into a movie I’ve previously written about—The Manitou, by Graham Masterton. This cover employs one of my favourite tricks of this period of publishing—you have your simple, slightly off-kilter cover painting of a beautiful lady, framed in a die-cut iris cameo…

…but then, you open it up, and BAM! Crazy lurking reincarnated medicine man!

Ah, the Seventies. I can’t wait to dig into both of these. I will write about them when I do.