When the holidays roll around, book lovers are always the easiest people to buy for because there are always new books (or new releases of old books) that they want. As a book person myself, I speak with absolute authority. This year, there is no shortage of genre releases that are sure to please the horror fans among you. Yes, there are new books by Stephen King and Clive Barker, but let's face it – if they're true fans, they got those the day they were released. With this I've tried to dig a little deeper for ideas, and have thrown in a couple of non-book but book-related ideas to round it out. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section below.
These "vault"-style books have been all the rage the past couple of years, with everybody from comic book publishers to college football powerhouses releasing their own versions of the oversized, overstuffed coffee table collections. This year Hammer Films jumps into the fray with a vault of their own, and it's sure to be a gigantic hit with horror fans.
Titan Books is publishing The Hammer Vault, which is compiled and written by official Hammer historian Marcus Hearn. Hearn and Titan have worked together in the past bringing us titles like The Art of Hammer, The Hammer Story, and Hammer Glamour. So, the Vault's pedigree is a solid one. And with Hammer's history stretching back to 1934, there's a wealth of material to draw from.
The Hammer Vault is set to begin with reproductions of the company's original incorporation documents, and will wrap up with promotional material from the 2011 film The Resident, making it the most comprehensive overview of the studio to date. In between, Titan promises material ranging from premiere tickets and pre-production artwork to scrapbook pages from Peter Cushing, production designs and hundreds of rare stills running the full gamut of Hammer movies. It's set for release in the U.S. in early December.
You've heard of limited edition books before, but limited edition slipcases? There is such a thing, and the latest one available is custom-made to showcase your U.S. trade first edition of Stephen King's The Shining, but only 52 are available.
Handcrafted out of maple, these hinged cases feature art by Erin Wells engraved into the cover. For the interior, artists Erin Wells and Glenn Chadbourne have produced original color art pieces based on scenes from the book, each of which is signed and lettered by Chadbourne or Wells and affixed inside. Chadbourne has done work for a number of King projects, most notably the Secretary of Dreams books from Cemetery Dance, and his moody pieces really capture the flavor of King's early masterpiece. You can preview the art and order the slipcases at the link above.
The Bernie Wrightson-illustrated version of this horror classic was originally released in 1983, where it was immediately hailed as a definitive edition of the oft-reprinted Shelley novel. Wrightson's startling, intricately-detailed black-and-white artwork was the perfect companion for the story, and it quickly became a much-sought-after, if difficult to find, collector's item.
Dark Horse Comics made it accessible again a few years ago when they re-released the book in an oversized hardcover edition. The 9"x12" size really gives Wrightson's stunning work room to breathe – all forty-seven full-size pages of it. The full text of Shelley's work is contained within, as is a new introduction written by Stephen King.
Locke & Key, the epic comic series written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez for IDW Publications, is one of the best ongoing series in comics right now. In a nutshell, it's a story of a family who has fled to an old estate on the coast, trying to put their lives together after tragedy ripped them apart. The mansion they've taken refuge in, a rambling old Victorian known as Keyhouse, is rife with secrets and ghosts – both of which are proving to be extremely dangerous.
Keys play an integral role in the series, and Skelton Crew Studios has begun producing reproductions of some of the more important keys in the series. The keys are cast in antique pewter and are exact matches of Rodriguez's original designs. They are also much more affordable than you'd expect. No, they're not books, but any book lover familiar with the series is going to love ‘em. And if you know someone who's not yet experienced Locke & Key, do them a favor and grab the collections from IDW. After all, good stories always make for great gifts.
Blu Gilliand is a freelance writer of fiction and nonfiction. He covers horror fiction at his blog, October Country, and contributes interviews to the Horror World website. Follow him on Twitter at @BluGilliand.