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20 WTF Horror Novels From The '70s And '80s

Updated July 16, 2018 1.5k votes 171 voters 9.6k views20 items

List RulesVote up the covers so absurd they make you want to read the books.

When you combine the growing nihilism of the '70s with the big boldness of the '80s, you get bizarre horror novel covers featuring equally bizarre premises. Influenced by the success of Rosemary's BabyPsycho, Jaws, and The Exorcist, horror went through a phase where it tried to scare audiences through any means necessary. This resulted in some of the weirdest book covers you will ever see, including killer crabs, Nazi leprechauns, and oddly placed skulls.

Many of these WTF horror book covers even made it into an anthology called Paperbacks From Hell, which delves into how these novels sprang from the burgeoning horror genre that was just discovering its potential. Now you may look them over yourself. Who knows, maybe you'll find yourself risking hellfire to grab a copy of one. Just don't put it anywhere guests can see it.

  • The Little People is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 20 WTF Horror Novels From The '70s And '80s
    Photo: John Christopher / Amazon

    Nazi experimentation led to evil leprechauns who wield whips. It doesn't get more horror than that.

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  • Bloodworm is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 20 WTF Horror Novels From The '70s And '80s
    Photo: John Halkin / Amazon

    London is under attack from hostile creatures that want more than just to infest your homes: They want your blood!

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  • Dark Companions is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 20 WTF Horror Novels From The '70s And '80s
    Photo: Ramsey Campbell / Amazon

    A horror anthology in which stories follow protagonists who believe they are alone. Plot twist: They are not.

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    Spawn is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 20 WTF Horror Novels From The '70s And '80s
    Photo: Shaun Hutson / Amazon

    One man accidentally kills his baby brother; another happens to be a psycho escaped from prison. Both of them are in for a rude awakening when a lightning storm brings some things back to life...

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