There was no shortage of evil hell-spawn babies during the horror paperback boom. The genesis of these nascent fiends sprouted from the immensely popular devilish horror “Rosemary’s Baby,” which sold over 4 million copies in the 1960s. The wave of this sub-genre carried on through the 1980s. Here’s five of the most notable books from it.
Cover description: The illustration couldn’t be more lurid, as veins spider in streaks of intimidating red. The clawing man jarred in terror evokes imagery of ’50s horror / sci-fi comics. Check out that diabolical stare given by the baby!
Plot: “An ex-mental patient, working as a hospital porter is reminded of his accidental killing of his baby brother years before, and he and an escaped convict, both disturbed, unleash a terror beyond belief.”
Cover Description: Of course Zebra couldn’t resist propping up a loathly skeleton, donning a nurse’s hat over auburn hair, to caress the damnable duo of these villainous twins in Patricia Wallace’s Twice Blessed. Think of it as Zebra’s stork doing its thing.
Plot: “From the day she brought her babies home, Morgan sensed they were closer to each other than to her. As they grew, their strange games began to disturb her, their whispered secrets to unnerve her, their malicious pranks to anger her. But it wasn’t until their innocent eyes became twin mirrors of evil that she knew she had been tricked. Her two sweet babies had become one in their dark powers of destruction and death…”
Cover Description: I mean, most babies don’t have eye brows let alone whet fangs that overtly crave blood. He’s also got huge pointy elf ears. Now that’s an adorable baby. Just his glowing red eyes would alert the doctors enough to shuffle him along to the government to groom it for weaponization.
Plot: “Each year in a different city, a seemingly healthy mother dies at the hands of her newborn baby–and the babies are coincidentally cared for by nannies from the same agency.”
Cover Description: Most noticeable is the baby so unspooked while being held by a cloaked skeleton with laser red eyes. He’s fully nude and undisturbed by the chill, too. Stranger still, this isn’t even a Zebra publishing, although it bears all the hallmarks. Lastly, the skeleton’s hood is more mussed and puffed than a king-size bed display at sears.
Plot: “SHHHH THE BABY IS ASLEEP…Right from the beginning, Joni Lawrence and her baby had a strange and wonderful connection her husband could not understand and could not share. Somehow she could speak to six- month old Stephen without words…without sounds. But Joni couldn’t shake the feeling of dread, of waiting, & then suddenly one night, inexplicably, a mother’s worst fear came alive in the lifeless body of her child.
The doctor’s explanations gave no comfort. At night, Stephen’s cries haunt her pleading for help. The doctors call it imagination, hysteria. But Joni knows it’s something else, something more. And then the shocking glimpse of her baby’s crying face in the back seat of another woman’s car…Stephen is alive. Stephen is in need. Stephen is calling. And a mother must answer… “
Cover description: A horned embryo smirks at the audience as if to say, “yeah, you know I am about to f*ck sh*t up.” The way the font curls around the amniotic sac adds an artistic touch worthy of glory.
Plot: “Commissioned to paint a portrait at the Woolvercombe House, painter Tom Rigsby is drawn into the secluded mansion’s maze of horror and mystery.”