Saturday, October 1, 2011

Frights, Night Chills, and Beyond Midnight: The '70s Anthologies of Kirby McCauley

Loving these paperback covers from the horror anthologies that Kirby McCauley edited in the 1970s. McCauley wasn't a horror writer himself; he's a literary agent, and one of his early clients was Stephen King himself (among plenty others). The art on these books is a terrific example of the creepy and the surreal from that wonderful era.

Frights (Warner Books, 1977), with cover art from George Ziel, contains stories by Bloch, Etchison, Campbell, and Robert Aickman (gotta get around to covering Aickman here!), as well as SF&F authors - for whom McCauley worked - Joe Haldeman, David Drake, and Poul Anderson. Love the noseless woman; horrifying. The little hunchbacked figure makes me think of du Maurier's "Don't Look Now." Cool to see the "No more vampires, werewolves, or crumbling castles" too - now it's time for horror to get modern. This UK edition of part of Frights looks more like a vintage 1980s Iron Maiden album cover!

Night Chills (Avon, 1975) Could that be the one and only Abdul Alhazred gracing this cover?! Might be; there are stories from Lovecraft and Derleth, plus you got Manley Wade Wellman, Joseph Payne Brennan, and Carl Jacobi. Night Chills even features the first paperback appearance of Karl Edward Wagner's rural classic "Sticks." Cover artist is unknown; he probably disappeared not long after daring to depict the unholy visage of that mad, mad, mad Arab. Tough luck, guy!

Beyond Midnight (Berkley Medallion, 1976) More HPL, and also classic writers like Ambrose Bierce and M.R. James, as well as Weird Tales brethren like Bradbury, Robert E. Howard, and A. Merritt. The "Twilight Zone"-style cover art's by Vincent DiFate.

Of course in 1980, McCauley would edit Dark Forces, the seminal and genre-busting anthology that inspired new horror writers for the new decade...


highwayknees said...

I have that "FRIGHTS" pb. And of course DARK FORCES. I bought the HB copy when it came out! It has that wonderful novella by T.E.D. Klein .Gotta dig that out to read again.

And YES! You are finally going to give my man Aickman his due eh? I've been waiting patiently...I have the rare 2 volume Tartarus ed. of his collected stories. One of the best 50.00 investments I ever made ! That thing is worth a fortune now I see!
Now if I could only get that collected works of Reggie Oliver I've been drooling over. It's already in the astronomical range though!

Will Errickson said...

I have PAINTED DEVILS, which was never issued in paperback apparently. Read it *years* ago and recall the stories' quiet, whispery oddness. Love to find a vintage pb of COLD HAND IN MINE to review!