Monday, December 30, 2013

Paperback Horror: French Editions

Mon Dieu! Imagine my delight upon discovering these French editions of classic horror novels. French covers seem more likely to feature art that corresponds to the novel they adorn. J'ai Lu ("I read") is a French publisher, while "Épouvante" means "terror," so you can guess what's going on here.

At top is Joe Lansdale's blistering The Nightrunners (1987), and its French title translates nicely as "Children of the Razor."

Although this cover might look generic - snakes n' skulls! - both title (translating as "Scales") and image are relevant to the story John Farris tells in 1977's All Heads Turn As the Hunt Goes By.

"Mindless" - a perfect translation of Bad Brains, Kathe Koja's second novel from Dell/Abyss, published in '92, about a failed artist whose vision and imagination are being assaulted by a silvery nightmare.

1980's Firestarter's title was simply changed to Charlie, the little girl's name, which I like a lot as it links up with Carrie, Cujo, and Christine.

The black-and-white photos here of blank-eyed men make me think of the various kinds of WWII survivors, which Clive Barker touches upon in his first novel The Damnation Game, from 1985.

I haven't read Ramsey Campbell's 1986 novel The Hungry Moon, but I love how this cover evokes his gloomy, opaque, quiet style of horror.

This is kinda-sorta what's going on in Brian Hodge's third novel Nightlife (another Dell/Abyss title, from 1991); while it does involve some creature transformation, I don't remember any boobs.

Sometimes the French covers aren't so accurate; Nightwalkers, from '79, is a somber, ambiguous "werewolf" novel, and the subtle prose of Thomas Tessier is rarely if ever used for this kind of graphic monster shock.

A severed head adorning this cover for Song of Kali, Dan Simmons's seminal 1985 work of exotic horror? Mais oui.

And androgynous punk vampires, no doubt about it - this has got to be Poppy Z. Brite's classic first novel from 1992, Lost Souls (the French title is a literal translation this time).

More, as they say, to come!

3 comments:

Luis said...

Love these covers, and I admire how the French publishers aren't afraid to forego the literal translation in favour of a more literate translation that better evokes the novel. I'm reminded to their translation for the novel and movie JAWS which they translated as Les dents de la Mer (The Teeth from the Sea). I myself speak some French but have yet to read a novel in that language.

Ethelred said...

The Brian Hodge cover is by Jim Burns and was originally done for Philip Jose Farmer's Image of the Beast (where it makes more sense). The image has been flipped but otherwise looks the same to me. Great blog by the way!

Will Errickson said...

Luis, yes, I love that JAWS is translated as LES DENTS DE LA MER too!

Ethelred, seems that many of the more generic-looking covers were used over and over again. Glad you dig the blog!