The first book I want to talk about is Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, it was first published in 1962. Ray Bradbury was the first author that I ever took an interest in. Though he is thought of mainly as a Science Fiction author, much of his work can easily fit into the horror genre as well. The story follows two 13 year old boys named Jim Nightshade and William Holloway who have just discovered that a traveling carnival has come to town. They sneak into the carnival late at night and find that it isn’t a normal carnival. It’s run by a Mr. Dark who offers people their wildest dreams in exchange for their souls. This isn’t a particularly scary book but it has a great story about good versus evil and being careful what you wish for. There was also a movie based on the novel made in 1983.
The other books from the sixties that I found are all from Corgi Books in the United Kingdom. I couldn’t find a lot of information on this company but I did read that they were a division of Random House and published horror novels in the UK in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. One thing that drew me to the horror novels from this company was their cover art which looks amazing. Looking at the covers for the books for the 60’s, I immediately wanted to start collecting them. Not sure how easy they are to find but they would be a nice addition to any horror lover’s collection. If you would like to see some pictures of Corgi’s 1960’s horror novels check out vaultofevil.proboards.com and see for yourself.
The the first Corgi book I want to mention was written 1n 1964, called The Coming of Strangers by John Lymington. This one is about giant crabs that come out of the sea late in the evening and tears off the heads of their helpless victims. I couldn’t find much more detail on this one, but the idea of crabs snapping heads off of innocent beach goers had me sold.
Another horror novel written in 1962 is Terror by Robert Bloch. This book was published by Corgi in the UK and by Belmont in the US . The story follows a young orphan who gets involved with an East Indian death cult in order to find out why his aunt’s murder ties in with a stolen statue. This book combines mystery and horror and is very well researched.
If your going to mention Robert Bloch you have to mention Psycho which was written in 1959 and was turned into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock in 1960. The movie follows the book pretty closely but the book has a lot more dialog between Norman and his mother and does a lot more character development on Norman’s victims. Its been several years since I read Psycho but I do remember thinking it was better then the movie which was also great.
Though Robert Bloch only wrote one horror novel in the sixties it is worth mentioning that he came out with several short horror story collections in the sixties. Among them are Horror 7 (1963), The Skull of Marquis De Sade (1965), Chamber of Horrors (1966) and one collection with Ray Bradbury written in 1969 called Whispers From Beyond.