The Golden Age of Horror Fiction

I would suggest that the "Golden Age" decade was the 1970s. It survived into the late 80s before eventually dying off. The slow demise of horror fiction began when the author's name became more prominent on the cover than the title of the book. The rich variety of titles, ideas and authors was lost to three main heavyweights. Stephen King, James Herbert and Dean Koontz took over and consequently the horror section shrank to a couple of shelves in the corner of the store.

New English Library was the cornucopia publishing house when it came to horror titles with Hamlyn, Sphere and Futura providing competitive support. It seemed that ever week the horror section at W. H. Smiths had an array of irresistible new volumes. Some, it must be said, were almost unreadable but even barrel-scraping trash such as Pierce Nace's Eat Them Alive (1977) and Etienne Aubin's Dracula and the Virgins of the Undead (1974) retain a tacky charm that has long been lost and will never return. Some may argue this is a good thing but I think not.

Monday, 2 August 2010

The Yellow Peril - MacDonald's Horror Series 1983

In 1983 MacDonald publishing released a series of horror titles in hardback. They all had a uniform yellow dust jacket and a blood-dripping dagger logo. Some had been previously published in paperback. The cover price was £7.95 and £8.95 which seems rather expensive for the early 80s!

The cover art work was the same as the previously published paperback versions. The format of the dust jackets and their rather lurid yellow colour scheme gives them the appearance of video cassettes. Perhaps that was the thinking behind the design as renting VHS tapes was becoming more popular than buying books at this time.

Here are the titles that I’m aware of.

The Birthday Girl & The Birthday Treat - Robert Rush

The Medusa Horror & The Snake Orchards - Drew Lamark (Andre Launay)

The Innocents - Jack Godwin

Claw - Jay Ramsay (Ramsey Campbell)

Demon - Ivor Watkins

The Scurrying - Wes Whitehouse

Omen 4: Armageddon 2000 by Gordon McGill and Possessed by Alan Radnor are both listed on the back of some of the jackets as “also available in Macdonald Horror”. However, I’ve never come across either of these titles with the yellow dust jacket that matches this series. Does anyone know any different?

No comments:

Post a Comment