Twisted Cover Designs: A Horror Book Spotlight
By Laura Wallace, Juliette Tulloch, Abbie Wright and Tessa Thejas Thomas
There is something spooky about this time of year. Halloween has been celebrated and the nights have started drawing in. We thought it fitting to choose a few of our favourite horror cover designs, both classics and recently published this year. Keep reading to check out these creepy covers!
The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
The Book Eaters is an exciting and distinctive fantasy horror written by Sunyi Dean. The Book Eaters are six families that live on the edges of society and survive on a diet of stories and legends. When one child is born a Mind Eater, who feeds off people’s minds and souls, his mother runs. It is a story about a mother’s love and escape.
The cover design is unique. The designer has used only a couple of shades of colour in the overall design. The use of brown and cream gives the impression of an old book, yellowing over time. The designer has added lighter ragged sections, imitating pages with text at the edges. The result: a book that appears to have been half-eaten by The Book Eaters. The title is written in blocky ink script, and is a predominant feature of the cover. The ink stain in the centre of the cover depicts an eery looking house of a classic horror story. The cover and the title of the book are distinctive and we love its haunting appearance.
Brainwyrms by Alison Rumfitt
Alison Rumfitt’s debut Tell me I’m Worthless entered the horror genre with a storm and now the publication of Brainwyrms leaves just as much horror to sink your teeth into! Compared to the likes of Shirley Jackson and Clive Barker, Rumfitt creates transgressive queer horror that is shocking yet addictive to read. Brainwyrms follows main protagonist Frankie’s spiralling life after her workplace is bombed by a TERF, and the new relationships, struggling friendships and binge drinking that follows. A sinister conspiracy eventually takes hold at the centre of Frankie’s life, which is both grotesque and painful.
The cover design by Tor Nightfire is courtesy of freelance illustrator David Palumbo, who focuses largely on fantasy and horror in their artwork. You can read more about their work on their website. The sliminess of the worms, the stark light in the background and the illuminated horror in the glistening eyes of the woman all add to the haunting nature of the novel. It's clear that Rumfitt’s story is full of body horror and does not hold back in the grotesque. The neon typography adds to the novel’s confidence to take a modern storyline and infuse it with classic horror tropes. For anyone looking to add this to their list, all trigger warnings apply.
Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth
Motherthing can only be described as part-ghost story, part-psychological thriller and is the perfect cure for the post-Halloween blues. Hogarth’s novel follows Abby as she deals with the death of her mother-in-law. The novel draws on a number of classic horror elements, while also maintaining a comedic tone throughout – although this story may not be for the faint hearted. In regards to the book’s cover, the styling and use of images fits the narrative perfectly.
The central image shows a woman covering her face in fear, not dissimilar to a number of actresses in classic horror movies. As well as this, the focus on the ring in the top right picture highlights a key plot point in the novel. Most interestingly, while the bottom right image at first glance highlights Abby’s love of cooking (seen throughout the book), after reading the story all the way through, this image becomes far more sinister.
Another feature that makes this cover stand out is the font and style of the text. The bright red text and the chosen font gives the cover an old movie poster feel to it and ultimately makes the book as a whole feel exciting and unique. Overall, Hogarth’s horror novel is made all the more theatrical and powerful due to the book’s incredible cover. This particular cover art is the work of Mark Abrams and you can find more of his work here.
Delicious Monsters by Liselle Sambury
Liselle Sambury’s Delicious Monsters is a new release which follows Daisy and Brittney as their lives intertwine throughout time with one common thread: a secluded mansion in Ontario. Daisy has the ability to see dead people, which is only further aggravated when her mother inherits an old mansion. Ten years later, Brittney decides to investigate the mansion and uncover the truth about what happened to Daisy all those years ago.
The eerie secluded atmosphere of the mansion is portrayed using soft blues and greens within the cover. The mansion can be seen in the background amongst a forest of trees. The blues emphasise the fog which falls around the forest. The focal point of the cover is Daisy, with one half of her face seemingly normal despite branches and thorns growing from her fingers. The other half of her face is distorted to portray a disturbing effect, mimicking the supernatural elements of the story.
The cover of Delicious Monsters leaves the reader with the feeling of uneasiness and seclusion, thus making it the perfect spooky read.