Splatterpunk is a sub-genre of horror fiction that most don’t know about. There’s a reason for that. Splatterpunk is one of those genres that the average reader simply couldn’t read. It’s like taking your worst nightmares, rolling them into the cream of of the goriest crop of horror movies, and penning it as fiction. As its name would imply, filled with the juice and gore of death. Splatterpunk is often over the top, under the bottom, and through the middle. So why should you care? Let’s find out.
Splatter punk was coined in 1986 by David J. Schow at the Twelfth World Fantasy Convention. The term refers to the genres graphic, often gory, depiction of violence and “hyperintensive horror with no limits.” The heyday of Splatterpunk was in the ’80s. Thankfully, however, it never went away. Popular early writers in this genre were:
- Poppy Z. Brite
- Jack Ketchum
- Richard Christian Matheson
- David J. Schow
- Edward Lee
Edward Lee is one of the few of the above authors still holding court in the Splatterpunk kingdom. Lee is actually one of the masters of the genre and does a fine job of stretching beyond just gore and shock to create fascinating stories of duplicity and twisted renditions of good versus evil.
Lee also co-authored the one book in my life that I simply couldn’t finish. That’s right. There exists a book out there so vile that even a life-long fan of horror and the macabre couldn’t complete. That book is the Teratologist. I dare you to try to read it. I just dare you.
There are plenty of films out there that could be considered within the realm of Splatterpunk — but generally the genre is confined between the covers of books.
Ultimately, the appeal of splatterpunk is like a car wreck on the side of the road. You don’t want to look, but you simply can’t help yourself. There’s some twisted core deep inside you that wants to know if you can get a glimpse of death or gore — while remaining in the safety of your own vehicle. Thing is — how many other lives have been sent to ruins while they were searching through the rubble of someone else’s wreckage? Dare you change reading something you might not ever be able to scrape from the palate of your mind?
It’s my plan, in the near future, to release a book that will be listed in the un-hallowed halls of the splatterpunk gang. It’ll be one of those books that people will read just to say they’ve read it. Like The Human Centipede — dare you try to watch?
What do you think? Is splatterpunk a genre worth visiting? Or is it so vile and disrespectful to the human condition that no one, no matter how depraved, should bother?