Shock After Shock with Robert Bloch!
What can I say about this guy? Apart from the fact that his work spanned both genres and decades, and that he influenced modern culture as only a handful of other horror writers have... not too much i guess. His autograph (seen below) is one of my most prized "mojo" objects.... let's put it that way.
Apart from his well known creation Norman Bates (which means that while old Normie is his own mother, Bob's his father.... weird, huh?) .....anyway - he worked in Hollywood after the success of PSYCHO, scripting for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Thriller, Star Trek ("What Are Little Girls Made Of?", "Catspaw" & "Wolf In The Fold"), Night Gallery as well as film work ("The Night Walker", "Straightjacket", "Torture Garden", "House That Dripped Blood" & "Asylum"). My tips: "Waxworks" & "Weird Tailor" from THRILLER & "The Dead Don't Die", a 1970's made-for-TV movie.
After Poe and Lovecraft, Bloch is, to my mind, the most important and influential horror writer in American literature. Sure, King and Rice do good work (on occasion)... but Bloch dragged the genre kicking and screaming into the post-industrial age, leaving a wake of corpses behind him. Read some of his stuff, and then argue with me...OK?
Smart? You bet - he had the human psyche dialed more that most anthropologists and sociologists... take this quote for example - "Violence has become not only a cop-out terms of being presented as self-explanatory - 'this is human nature, that's the way it is, folks' - but it is also a drug. When you dose yourself with it, you find that you need increasingly bigger fixes."
More information than I can distill and/or provide on Robert Bloch may be found here, here, here, here, here and here.
PS. Believe it or not, i'm still kinda pressed for time , so i'll try and fix any dead links, bad HTML and the like after the weekend..... next, believe it or not - even MORE paperback covers (hey, when you find a riff that rocks, grind it into the ground, I always say...)