Repellent Reptiles – Horror Paperbacks, vol. 1

Saurian creatures are a timeless character of terror dating back to the antediluvian days of scripture, a la the serpent in the Garden of Eden.  The inexplicably ominous stealth of snakes has had them revered in an array of primitive and sophisticated cultures throughout history. In the golden age of horror paperbacks, froth-dripping sharp tooth lizards, dragons, snakes, and other reptiles were as pervasive as any re-animated skeleton seen on covers. Let’s marvel at these primal delights…

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Published August 1st 1988 by St. Martin’s Press

Cover description: In a faustian ritual, the brawny man is somewhat startled by the summoning of this abominable creature (shaped like Slimer from ghostbusters) in a haze of green. He remains crouched in a dubious genuflect. Beside him lies a grimoire opened to a pentagram circle. Question: why so shirtless?

Plot: “He Is Hell-Born.Fear of war gripped the heart of young naval recruit Steven Russell. It gnawed at his innards, screamed at him from every New York newspaper, blasted at him from the radio. Poet, dreamer, visionary…he saw a future of blood and bombs…spattered bodies…severed limbs. no stranger to the occult, he took the ultimate survival measure, Steven Russell sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for the promise that he would live through World War II. Kissing his bride good-bye, he sailed off with a knowing smile…but the Devil had the last laugh.
He Is Arisen.For over forty years, Marjorie Russell has pined for her husband who fell in the thundering attack on pearl Harbor. Yet now, in haunting dreams, she can hear his voice…distant, eerie, beckoning. but Steven went down to the sea in death…or did he?
And He Will Not Be Stopped.Marjorie Russell is searching for the truth. And a numbing nightmare of diabolical terror is just beginning.
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 Published March 1st 1982 by Zebra

Cover description: With glowing eyes slit by thin pupils, the mammoth head of a draconic reptile snarls his set of pointy molars. Like a languishing slug, its cloven tongue drapes over the mouth. Take notice of the faint vapors disgorging from its mouth, for perhaps it’s indicative of pyro-breath. Finally, the height of those horns could rival the neck of a brachiosaurus.

Published April 1st 1992 by Penguin Adult Hc/Tr

Cover Description: Well, Vermin aren’t associated with reptiles. But damn, reptilian teeth gobbling through a tiled computer code grid mock-up looks too cool to ignore. Can’t abominate that.

Plot: Long-infected with the genes of the vyrmin–an evil, werewolf-type race–the townsfolk of Harpersville run wild when the Dark Time arrives, and the leadership of the menace will fall to one of the two Norris brothers.”

H.P. Lovecraft Jove books

Cover Description: It would be a solecism to horror literature to talk slithering creatures without featuring the fantastical H.P. Lovecraft. The ’70s depicted his magical characters with lurid artistry. Here a mishmash of reptiles form to vivid nightmare. Even the waistline is a tentacled skirt. Not to be ignored is the animal skeleton clasped in its hand. Freakishly majestic. 

 

 Penelope Banka Kreps, Zebra books 1993

Cover description: The massive head of a predatory gator voraciously craves its next meal on a black backdrop. Simple and fierce, there’s no ambiguity in its implication. 

Plot: “Terror stalks the Florida Everglades when a seismic event releases prehistoric creatures from a long sleep, and the monsters develop a taste for human flesh.”

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JBM

Literary Heathen

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