Art for Horror’s Sake

Recently, I was browsing on Amazon and stumbled across this 1988 anthology featuring a parody of American Gothic on its cover. I love the macabre makeover Grant Wood’s painting receives–in particular, the uncanny cameo the woman now wears and the witchy weather vane in lieu of a lightning rod. In choosing/adapting the iconic image for the cover of A Treasury of American Horror Stories, the bookmakers clearly recognize the dark undertones of Wood’s masterwork. Judging by the book cover art, Iowa is a field of nightmares and there is something unholy about the Bible Belt.

No less arresting than the grim image is the cover’s presentation of the anthology’s subtitle: 51 Spine-Chilling Tales from Every State in the Union plus Washington, D.C. (check out the table of contents here). The promise of comprehensive terror, a national archive of frightful narratives (which genre editor extraordinaire Martin H. Greenberg helped assemble), makes this belated discovery an instant addition to my must-read list.


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