I grew up in the Horror Boom of the 1980s when places like Waldenbooks and Barnes & Nobles were stacked with horror paperbacks, each displayed on the shelves trying to out-grue and out-dazzle the competition. Demonic children, haunted dolls, perverted clowns, bloodied crucifixes, toxic mutations, killer insects, cross-eyed maniacs, snake-tongued devils, and fanged women looking more like Penthouse starlets than the spawn of Satan. The writing inside the covers was a mixed-bag – at times the writing was hideous shit, most likely pumped out in under a month full of Benzedrine and rotgut whiskey. But with the covers so delicious to an adolescent boy, the questionable writing was worth it. Years later, knocking on the door of middle age, I’m aching to relive those glory days all over again. So in order to reminisce Halloweens past, and the crude glossy pulp of yesteryear, each day I’ll post a memorable book cover from the years 1978-1992. So here we go….
#1: Night Train – Thomas F. Monteleone (Pocket Books, 1984, cover art: Linda Falkenstern)
This one throws the kitchen-sink at the reader. We have haunted subway stations, killer dwarfs, mad professors, slime-sucking worms, and a Jack-the-Ripper from the Bronx. Toss in some Lovecraft, some Edgar Rice Burroughs, and a handsome grizzled cop and an oh-so-beautiful reporter, and there you have it, NIGHT TRAIN.
Sadly, that big cauliflower-brained ghoul on the cover does not make an appearance.
Lastly, Horror fans, check one of the biggest archives of horror paperback art at Too Much Horror Fiction. A maverick site that is essential to classic and retro-pulp horror and dark fantasy.