VOUS SEREZ NUE MERCREDI SOIR: FRENCH & BELGIAN GENRE PAPERBACK COVER ART

Collection Angoisse paperbacks are pulp horror novels published in the 1950s and 1960s by “Editions Fleuve Noir”. I never intended to start collecting them; I initially picked up a couple on eBay because of the skull logo, but before I knew it, I was hooked on the cover artwork. Then eBay prices started to go up (evidently I wasn’t the only one collecting them) so I started hunting for them in secondhand bookshops instead.

In fact, I didn’t find any Collection Angoisse in les librairies d’occasion (secondhand bookshops), but did find a number of Collection Anticipation – Fleuve Noir’s science fiction imprint, which had equally enticing covers. Then, at a brocante (a sort of glorified car boot sale) in Deux Sèvres, I picked up three Satanik photo-novels. I’m afraid I have always been a sucker for photo-novels, especially ones in which scantily-clad femmes fatales are tortured and murdered by a sadist in a skeleton suit (though please don’t imagine for a second that I approve of this sort of behaviour – the misogyny in these books is deplorable).

And so the rot set in. After spending half my life getting rid of books – because I move house so often and also because I yearn to live in minimalist Japanese-style surroundings – here I was, collecting them again. Nor were many of them books I was ever likely to find time to do more than skim, though lately I have picked up a few I do intend to read – some collections of Jean Ray, the Belgian writer of the fantastique (whose name was known to me principally because he wrote Malpertuis, which was filmed in 1971 by Harry Kümel) and stories by a French writer called Claude Seignolle, who I hadn’t heard of before, but since the cover art looked similar to that on the Ray books, and since words like “diaboliques”, “cruels” and “terrifiantes” figured prominently, I decided I liked the cut of his jib.

It was thanks to Ray and Seignolle that I stumbled across the Belgian imprint Bibliothèque Marabout Fantastique and have acquired tales of the fantastique by the likes of André de Richaud, Marcel Béalu, George Langelaan, Michel Treignier, Maurice Renard and Michel De Ghelderode. One day I will read them all. In the meantime, here’s some of the cover art.

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Here’s a list of all the Fleuve Noir “Collection Angoisse” paperbacks, with pictures of their covers…

and pictures of all the paperbacks in the Marabout Fantastique collection.

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