1980s Horror Paperbacks

31 Days of Horror Book Covers: #26


#26 – Dead White – Alan Ryan (Tor, 1983)

An underrated novel that seeps under the skin with its deceptively simple prose. Evil, floating clowns arrive in a ghost caravan to get revenge on a small upstate town.

Check review here.


31 Days of Horror Book Covers: #24


#24: The Nebulon Horror – Hugh B. Cave (Dell, 1980)

Back in the 1980s Horror Boom, every child was possessed, pissed, or eating the souls of their elders.


Soul Eater – K.W. Jeter (Tor, 1983)

31 Days of Horror Book Covers: #19


#19: Floating Dragon – Peter Straub (Berkley, 1982)

I remember reading passages of this novel back in 1982. I remember the metallic blue cover, the tight font on a crowded page, and the complicated prose that went beyond my 10-year-old level of reading comprehension. Diving into this years later, I can say that Floating Dragon is one of my favorite horror novels. It’s a door-stopper, a New England epic of the supernatural, and while not perfect, contains so many wonderful tropes of the genre and re-imaginings of suburban dread and nuclear panic that marked the late 1970s, early 1980s. It’s truly a marvel in its scope, and doesn’t shy away from the gruesome. Classic Straub worthy of reading again and again.

Let the terror begin again.

31 Days of Horror Book Covers: #15


#15: Dark Forces – edited by Kirby McCauley (Bantam, 1981)

Arguably, one of the most important collections of modern horror. Stephen King’s The Mist, Joyce Carol Oates’ The Bingo Master, Karl Edward Wagner’s Where the Summer Ends, Ramsey Campbell’s The Brood, and so many more.

31 Days of Horror Book Covers: #14


#14: Dark Gods – T.E.D. Klein (Bantam, 1986)

A paramount collection that is a necessity to the horror reader’s top shelves. I remember finding this paperback at the bottom of a dusty column of old paperbacks in a local pharmacy. Hands down, the best $1.99 I’ve ever spent.

31 Days of Horror Book Covers: #9


#9: Night Shift – Stephen King (Signet, 1979 – cover art by Don Brautigam)

At seven years old, this paperback mystified me with its step-back/peek-a-boo cover art. Above is the inner-cover, and the bottom is how it was displayed on the bookshelves.

The cover is inspired by the tale I Am the Doorway