Alfred Hitchcock and Me…

Early influences on all the horror in my head

During my early teens I discovered the brilliant horror and suspense anthologies by Alfred Hitchcock. The series I read was produced in the 1960s and 1970s and they were among the first books I borrowed when I received my adult library card. I loved them so much. They were filled with wonderful creepy stories that I would later learn were considered, then and now as, The Classics of horror fiction.

The cover artwork, the drawings, and paintings inside would stick with me my entire life and color my perception of literature, art, and the world. To this very day they remain some of my most memorable dark and spooky literary influences.

I borrowed them over and over, and read them on crisp autumn evenings and late at night when I was supposed to be sleeping. They filled my head with images of monsters, mutants, and ghost filled mansions by authors like, Walter Brooks, A. M. Burrage, Robert Arthur, Ray Bradbury, Margaret St. Clair, and H. G. Wells, to name just a few.

At the time I imagined good old Alfred Hitchcock siting at his desk surrounded by piles of manuscripts and illustrations, reading story after story trying to find the most terrifying tales to include in his next book. I was of course quite mistaken. In reality Mr. Hitchcock had licensed his name to a publisher, in the case of my books it was Random House, who’s editors in turn compiled the stories and would “ghost write” the introductions on behalf of Mr. Hitchcock.

Looking back with my high powered “Nostalgia Goggles” firmly in place, I feel I was a very lucky young man who was born at just the right time.

Below are some pictures from my personal collection of the Alfred Hitchcock horror and suspense anthology books.

Some of the books contained beautiful, dark, atmospheric illustrations by Fred Banbery. These images fired my imagination with a delightful sense of strangeness and the bizarre.

This wonderful two-page spread illustrated with Alfred Hitchcock’s looming likeness and a host of other bizarre images is one of my favorites. For me it still invokes a scene of fun, fear and the macabre.

Depicted below, we see a powerful illustration from the famous horror short story, “The Waxwork” by A. M. Burrage. The man in the chair has been hypnotized by the sound of the villains voice in the dark and now sits paralyzed waiting to be murdered. Its stark, bold shadows give it the perfect sense of impending danger and an unavoidable doom that will soon befall the helpless protagonist. In a later blog post I’ll be talking about a wonderful book series from the same time period called Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators.

Yup, that’s yours truly, visiting Alfred Hitchcock’s star at the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.