Ah, '80s horror anthologies! These were really my favorites back in the day when I was working in a used bookstore and reading horror fiction with an all-consuming appetite. I ordered these titles like crazy, waiting impatiently for the UPS guy to arrive with boxes of new books ordered from Ingram and Baker & Taylor, ready with the boxcutter to slice 'em open and get at the goodies inside. First up? Why, it's Hot Blood (1990) from Pocket Books! Stories of horror and sex and their twining, by Harlan Ellison, Ramsey Campbell, Robert Bloch, Theodore Sturgeon, Graham Masterton, Ray Garton, David J. Schow, Skipp & Spector - oh my cup it do runneth over! I didn't know who Jeff Gelb was, but my days as a teenage Jersey metalhead had made me familiar with Lonn Friend, who edited the essential metal mag RIP.
Of course the Hot Blood series turned into quite a long-running one as the 1990s wore on; there were myriad ways to make sex and horror mix and mingle...
The Night Visions series, originally published in hardcover by specialty horror press Dark Harvest, were reprinted in paperback by Berkley. Lots of great names here, although I really only read a very few.
This series also continued into the '90s. Night Visions 3 from '86 was the first appearance of a little novella by Clive Barker called The Hellbound Heart; I think it was the basis for some movie or other.
Now we reach the Borderlands, and here there be dragons. I will always remember this great series for introducing me to Poppy Z. Brite, Karl Edward Wagner, and Joe R. Lansdale, so as you might imagine, it holds a special place in my own hellbound heart! (Oh look, it was originally published in October 1990 - no matter, it was the '80s up till at least Nevermind, if not Pulp Fiction, hope you don't mind me mixing my pop cultural metaphors.) The Borderlands went on for another four or five books, and were even reprinted by specialty gaming publishers White Wolf, and editor Thomas Monteleone started his own Borderlands Press. I simply must replace my long-gone copies for a reread.
As a young burgeoning liberal dude with female friends who all wanted to be writers (Anais Nin, to a one!) I consciously branched out with Women of Darkness (1988), and recall the bizarre delights of tales by Nancy Holder, Kit Reed, and Elizabeth Massie. Indeed there was a sequel to this as well, but I don't think I ever read it.
Whispers began as Stuart David Schiff's labor of love magazine, then in the late '70s became paperback anthologies, which were reprinted in the '80s by Jove Books, as you see here. Love the tormented silvery faces (predicting the covers of the Dell/Abyss series to come; the artist is Marshall Arisman). The stories herein seem to be much more quiet horror, and names like Charles L. Grant, Robert Aickman, Fritz Leiber, William F. Nolan, Alan Ryan, Manly Wade Wellman, Dennis Etchison, Campbell, Wagner, and the like predominate. Pretty sure I read some of this stuff well before I read even any King, but damn that was a long time ago.
Of course Texas born-and-bred Joe Lansdale his ownself edited an anthology of western-themed horror stories! Nicely titled too: Razored Saddles (1989). This one was labeled as "cowpunk" on its spine, a jokey nod to splatterpunk. Now honestly I've never really cared about westerns at all - something about all that brown dust, brown sand, brown storefronts, and brown horses bores me to impatience (the brown liquor's okay though) - so I've never read this one at all. Surely one of you folks out there has.
Other '80s horror anthologies that I've already reviewed: Cutting Edge (1986), Prime Evil (1988), and Silver Scream (1988). Which ones did I miss?
Underrated Westerns - Zachary Kelley
1 hour ago