All things spooky are in season right now, yet for some reason, Hollywood has abandoned the October horror movie this year: Aside from the remake of Carrie, fans of scary stories told in the dark are going to have little call to leave their homes and venture into movie theaters in the lead-up to Halloween.
That’s okay, though, because–as these gorgeous new editions from Penguin Horror beautifully illustrate–there’ve always been plenty of scares to find in literature. The series, which was curated by Pan’s Labyrinth (and Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror” intro) horror master Guillermo Del Toro, puts strikingly illustrated covers by designer Paul Buckley on new editions of Frankenstein, The Raven, The Haunting of Hill House, Haunted Castles, the American Supernatural Tales anthology, and H.P. Lovecraft’s The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories. Each cover does a pretty spectacular job of evoking the mood of the title in bold, screenprint-style iconography.
Buckley says that one of the guiding principles for the imagery was, “If it’s in the book, why can’t it be in the cover?” and that led the artist to make some gruesome choices–American Supernatural Tales features a hand clutching a human heart over a bright red backdrop–that he says the editorial team at Penguin embraced wholeheartedly.
Those bold choices make the series stand out in compelling ways–we’ve seen a lot of moody imagery associated with horror stories, but there’s a loud, colorful strain in all of the stories that Buckley captured with the series. “I definitely wanted them to have a look that, for me, was a take on things I read and saw as a kid,” he says. “But with a modern twist. I think the style of illustration, the choice of subject matter, the bold colors, and the heavy black ink coverage achieves that.”