Thursday, August 8, 2019

Who’s Got Crabs?

Above: Night of the Crabs, by Guy N. Smith (Grafton, 1989).

This might put you off shellfish for a while!

Beginning in 1976, English horror writer Guy N. Smith penned a succession of pulpy novels that imagined colossal, intelligent, man-eating crabs invading the British coastline. A far-fetched idea, yes, but evidently also a popular one. The blog DLS Reviews describes the series’ first installment, Night of the Crabs (1976), as offering “as much juicy blood spillage as possible” within an “outrageously over-the-top storyline” that was nonetheless satisfying: “An enjoyable read is most definitely the understatement of the century!” DLS Reviews further notes that Night of the Crabs has spawned “five sequels, one insightful prequel, a number of related short stories and a graphic novel …” The most recent of those books, The Charnel Caves, was published just this summer by Sinister Horror Company.

Here’s the lineup of “Crabs” novels, most of which have been reviewed by Thomas McNulty in Dispatches from the Last Outlaw:

Night of the Crabs (1976)
Killer Crabs (1978)
Origin of the Crabs (1979)
Crabs on the Rampage (1981)
Crabs’ Moon (1984)
Crabs: The Human Sacrifice (1988)
Killer Crabs: The Return (2012)
Crabs Omnibus (short-story collection, 2015)
The Charnal Caves (2019)

I can’t say I have read any books by Smith (who has also produced many other works of horror fiction and soft-core porn), but I’ve certainly spotted a few of the “Crabs” offerings in used book stores through the years. I have always enjoyed their deliberately outrageous covers, three of which I am embedding in this post.

Above: Killer Crabs (Dell, 1959) and Origin of the Crabs (Dell, 1988), both by Guy N. Smith.

READ MORE:R.I.P., Guy N. Smith (1939-2020),” by Will Errickson (Too Much Horror Fiction).

1 comment:

Will Errickson said...

I've only read the second book, KILLER CRABS (I believe the first one to be published in the States, by Signet in 1979). Like a lot of pulp fiction, it was decidedly mediocre. A couple groaner lines and regressive sex attitudes, but nothing so terrible as to be actually fun. The spookiest scene in the book isn't anything to do with crabs, either--it's a swim through an underwater cavern filled with venomous sea snakes!

But the original editions are all highly collectible, particularly the Dell reprints from the late '80s. The cover for CRABS: HUMAN SACRIFICE is especially ludicrous! Really wish I could find out the cover artist responsible...