As I mentioned when I wrote about Paperbacks From Hell and The Nest, my latest obsession is paperback horror from the 70s, 80s and 90s. After reading the former book and getting the reprint of the latter from the fantastic Valancourt Books, I made my way over to ThriftBooks armed with the list of titles I wanted to check out from PFH and ordered about a half dozen novels. Honestly, I couldn’t remember what most of them were about or what about the initial writing made me want to check them out, but I figured I could trust myself. With a stack of books featuring titles like The Glow, Heads and Obelisk, I found myself initially drawn to T.M. Wright’s 1984 book A Manhattan Ghost Story. It was a great choice, I must say!
Earlier this week, I wrote about how reading the excellent Paperbacks From Hell lead me to the delightfully gnarly Valancourt reprint of The Nest by Gregory A. McDonald (actually Eli Cantor). During the time it took me to actually read the book, I stumbled across the fact that a film was made of the 1980 book in 1988. I was admittedly skeptical as the novel features large, but not movie-humongous insects systematically attacking, killing and stripping humans for parts. I haven’t seen a lot of killer bug films, but the ones I had usually relied on forced perspective to make the diminutive members of Club Earth gigantic. How would director Terence H. Winkless deal with that in a film adaptation?
I’m not sure about anyone else out there, but I’ve always found myself drawn to certain characters in comics and repelled by others based on nothing more than their designs. I’ve read very few Creeper comics, but can say that he’s absolutely one of my favorite characters based solely on design and aesthetics. As a kid coming up in comics fandom in the 90s, I saw a lot of darker themed characters that I did not want anything to do with. One of those characters was Venom. Back then, the large-tongued symbiote muscle man was the king of of the edgy miniseries and I was admittedly a bit nervous about his whole deal (which, as a die-hard DC fan, I only really knew about from looking at covers and reading Wizard). The great thing about being a human, though, is that we can grow past our early thoughts and evolve into new people who are ready, willing and able to read Venom comics (that’s what evolution’s all about, right?).
Do you ever keep hearing about an author so many times that reading their books just seems like a delightful inevitability. That was kind of the case with Grady Hendrix. I remember his early fiction books getting talked about on my favorite horror podcast, Shock Waves, and then he went on to appear on the show a few times (a bonus ep from May 2017 and episode 115 if you’re looking for specifics). Between those appearances and the time he showed up on Teen Creeps (episode 150), Hendrix quickly jumped way up on my radar of authors to keep an eye out for. Luckily, several of his books, including Horrorstor and Paperbacks From Hell soon showed up on the cheap digitally and I grabbed them both. I briefly wrote about the former in my 2019 year end list, but now it’s time to talk about Paperbacks…and what it’s lead to.
I love that feeling when you just click with a director’s work. You see a film or two and then find yourself obsessed with tracking down all of their flicks (preferably on pristine Blu-rays chockablock full of features) and putting them in your eyeballs. I’ve had that with Larry Cohen, but it took a bit longer to reach full-on “gotta watch them all” mode. It turns out that Original Gangstas (his last feature) was the first one I saw back in 2009. A few years later, I checked out The Stuff and really liked it, but it was Q that hooked me! Since then, I’ve been slowly keeping an eye out for his films from the various boutique Blu-ray companies. Recently, I was able to pick up two from Olive Films through a DeepDiscount sale which were both rad in their own ways.