Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fawcett Horror Paperbacks of the 1970s

Thanks to the incomparable bibliographic efforts of both The Paperback Fanatic and The Vault of Evil, I'm able to feature a mere morsel of the strangely tasteful yet effective paperback covers featured on horror/thriller novels published several decades ago by Fawcett, which includes Fawcett Crest and Fawcett Gold Medal imprints. So many skilled, eerie, beautifully specific paintings, evoking in us the ghostly chill of mere shadows and gloom... and making you realize how much most paperback horror covers today suck. Hauntings by Norah Lofts (1977) above, the creepy old crone, glaring owl, and robed figure make for a wonderfully gothic horror cover, even if it is all painted in gold.

American Gothic, Robert Bloch (1974). Ah, yes, By the author of Psycho, the ever-present quote. That dark figure following... looks a bit like Bloch's other fave psycho, that Saucy Jack!

Leviathan, John Gordon Davis (1977) Really really great cover in the style of Jaws.

The Dark Below, Michael Hinkemeyer (1975) Love the contrast between title and cream-colored cover art. Veeerrry menacing.
The Running of the Beasts, Bill Pronzini and Barry Malzberg (1976) I've heard good stuff about this thriller... gotta love the reflection of the woman in the knife. Well, I suppose you don't gotta, but I do.
The Night Creature, Brian Ball (1974) A perfectly reductive horror title, and such an evocative macabre piece of cover art, darkly unfocused except for that look of paralyzed fright.

12 comments:

Doug said...

Now these are what I call cool covers! Two thumbs up!

Doug

Jose said...

Excellent artwork, indeed. You know I'm a sucker for anything grim and Gothic. Looking at these, I can almost feel my fingers running over the creases in the covers and the soft flutter of the pages. These covers got the Right Stuff!

Rabid Fox said...

I especially like the American Gothic cover. Very evocative. Great stuff.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Great covers, true. A couple of these paperbacks look familiar though I can't say I have read them.

Phantom of Pulp said...

'The Dark Below' is utterly wonderful. I love the shadow over the girl. I'd like to read this one.

Mac Campbell said...

I want to read 'Leviathan.' It'll probably be terrible but I'm a sucker for those big monstah books.

Devil in the Flesh

Luis said...

Those covers are outstanding! I would pick up any one of them to read just for the covers alone. And indeed, posts like these make me realize how much today's paperback covers are just plain boring.

Doug Brunell said...

Today's covers are boring! These made me want to read the books. I haven't seen a cover that has done that in a while. For my "Nothing Men" book, I put in as much thought into the cover as I did in the story, and I went all over the place looking for just the right house. I wanted to evoke a certain feeling in the reader. I wanted a sense of dread. I have had people comment on the cover doing just that. I looked at what made up horror covers currently on the shelf at the time, and they were just blah. I long for these old covers.

Jamie Rosen said...

I've not read any of these, but Pronzini and Malzberg are both good authors in their own right, so their collaboration's probably pretty enjoyable too.

Will Errickson said...

Glad you guys dig 'em. Definitely a great era for the horror paperback, nary a cliche reference to THE EXORCIST, THE OTHER, SALEM'S LOT, or ROSEMARY'S BABY among them.

rolomo said...

Great stuff - I have 3 of these titles in my collection.

highwayknees said...

Considering that that period of the 70s was my prime used bookstore h(a)unting era- I wonder why I don't ever remember running across The Dark Below? I know I would have bought and read that one!
The hunt begins anew...