Weird menace  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Weird menace is the name given to a sub-genre of horror fiction that was popular in the pulp magazines of the 1940s and 1950s. The weird menace pulps, also known as "shudder pulps", generally featured stories in which the hero was pitted against evil or sadistic villains, with graphic scenes of torture and brutal murder.

The first weird menace title was Dime Mystery, which started out as a straight crime fiction magazine but began to develop the new genre in 1933 under the influence of Grand Guignol theatre. (The Classic Era of American Pulp Magazines by Peter Haining ) Other "shudder pulp" titles were Horror Stories, Terror Tales, Spicy Mystery and Thrilling Mystery. Despite the prevalent use of the word "mystery", the shudder pulps stretched far beyond the mystery genre as it is normally understood, often encompassing supernatural threats and mad scientist villains.

Many of the leading pulp authors of the time wrote for the shudder pulps, including Wyatt Blassingame, Ray Cummings, Paul Chadwick, Norvell W. Page, E. Hoffmann Price and, possibly most successfully of all, Hugh B. Cave. In addition to the numerous anthology titles, there were a few short-lived single-character pulps in the weird menace genre, including Doctor Death, The Mysterious Wu Fang, Dr. Yen Sin, The Octopus and The Scorpion.

One of the most striking features of weird menace pulps, and perhaps their best-remembered feature today, is the use of lurid bondage covers by artists such as Norman Saunders.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Weird menace" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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