Splatterpunk was a movement within horror fiction in the 1980s, distinguished by its graphic, often gory, depiction of violence, countercultural alignment[1] and "hyperintensive horror with no limits."[2][3][4] The term was coined in 1986 by David J. Schow at the Twelfth World Fantasy Convention in Providence, Rhode Island. Splatterpunk is regarded as a revolt against the "traditional, meekly suggestive horror story".[5] Splatterpunk has been defined as a "literary genre characterised by graphically described scenes of an extremely gory nature."[6]

Michael Shea's short fiction "The Autopsy" (1975) has been described as a "proto-splatterpunk" story.[7]

Splatterpunk provoked considerable controversy among horror writers. Robert Bloch criticised the movement, arguing "there is a distinction to be made between that which inspires terror and that which inspires nausea".[8] William F. Nolan and Charles L. Grant also censured the movement.[9] However, critics R.S. Hadji and Philip Nutman praised the movement, the latter describing splatterpunk as a "survivalist" literature that "reflects the moral chaos of our times".[9]

Though the term gained some prominence in the 1980s and 1990s, and, as a movement, attracted a cult following, the term "splatterpunk" has since been replaced by other synonymous terms for the genre.[10] The last major commercial endeavor aimed at the Splatterpunk audience was 1995's Splatterpunks II: Over the Edge, an anthology of short stories which also included essays on horror cinema and an interview with Anton LaVey. By 1998, one commentator suggested interest in splatterpunk was declining, saying it "seemed to have reached a peak" in the mid-1990s.[11] The term is still sometimes used for horror with a strong gruesome element, such as Philip Nutman's novel Cities of Night.[12]

Writers known for writing in this genre include Clive Barker,[3][13] Poppy Z. Brite,[3] Jack Ketchum,[3] Richard Laymon,[3] J. F. Gonzalez, Joe Lansdale, Brian Keene, Monica J. O'Rourke, Matt Shaw, Bryan Smith, Richard Christian Matheson,[3] Robert McCammon,[3] Shane McKenzie, [3] Wrath James White, [3] David J. Schow (described as "the father of splatterpunk" by Richard Christian Matheson),[3][4] John Skipp,[3] Craig Spector,[3] Edward Lee, and Michael Boatman.[14] Some commentators also regard Kathe Koja as a splatterpunk writer.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Tucker, Ken Tucker; Ken; Weekly, the television critic for Entertainment; Voice, has written about horror fiction for The Village; Weekly, L. A. (1991-03-24). "The Splatterpunk Trend, And Welcome to It". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  2. ^ Carroll, David (1995). "Splatterpunk". Tabula Rasa #6. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "000407 - Splatterpunk". www.readersadvice.com. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Schow, David J." by Gary Westfahl in David Pringle, St. James guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers. London : St. James Press, 1998, ISBN 978-1-55862-206-7 (pp. 516–517. ).
  5. ^ Tucker, Ken (1991-03-24). "The Splatterpunk Trend, And Welcome to It". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  6. ^ Warren Clements, "A quick course in Euro-surgery". The Globe and Mail September 28, 1996.
  7. ^ Robert A. Collins, Robert Latham, Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review Annual Meckler, 1989 ISBN 0887363695. (p.99)
  8. ^ Paul Bail, John Saul: A Critical Companion Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996 ISBN 0313295751 (p. 26).
  9. ^ a b c Rob Latham, "The Urban Horror", in S. T. Joshi, ed., Icons of Horror and the Supernatural: an Encyclopedia of our Worst Nightmares (Greenwood, 2007), (p. 591-618) ISBN 0313337810
  10. ^ Remy, J.E. (2007-07-24). "Types of Horror/All Sorts of Punk". Die Wachen. Archived from the original on 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  11. ^ Jane Sullivan, "Schlock Horror". Sunday Age July, 19th, 1998, (p. 15).
  12. ^ The Publishers Weekly review described Cities of Night as "seasoned with a dash of splatterpunk". Publishers Weekly, May 22, 2010.
  13. ^ Splatterpunks II: Over the Edge by Paul M Sammon
  14. ^ Schulz-Elsing, Sharon E. "Book review: Michael Boatman's *God Laughs When You Die*". www.curledup.com. Retrieved 23 April 2018.

Further reading

  • "Inside the New Horror" — Philip Nutman, The Twilight Zone, October 1988
  • "The Splatterpunks: The Young Turks at Horror's Cutting Edge" — Lawrence Person, Nova Express, Summer 1988
  • Paul M. Sammon (1990). Splatter-Punks: The Definitive Anthology. St Martins Press. ISBN 978-0-312-04581-4.
  • Paul M. Sammon (1995-04-01). Splatterpunks II: Over the Edge. Tor Books. ISBN 978-0-312-85786-8.
Book of the Dead (anthology)

Book of the Dead is an anthology of horror stories first published in 1989, edited by John Skipp and Craig Spector and featuring a foreword written by George A. Romero (erroneously credited as George R. Romero in first print editions of the book). All the stories in the anthology are united by the same premise seen in Romero's apocalyptic films, depicting a worldwide outbreak of zombies and various reactions to it. The first book was followed three years later by a follow-up, Still Dead: Book of the Dead 2, with a new group of writers tackling the same premise, though the second book put the stories in order according to their imagined chronology of the zombie takeover.

The Book of the Dead compilations are regarded as classic anthologies in the horror and splatterpunk genres, featuring a great number of famous names including Stephen King, Joe R. Lansdale, Robert R. McCammon and foreworded by George A. Romero and Tom Savini. They are likely the first anthologies of zombie-themed tales ever printed, and have been cited as perhaps the first true "zombie literature" as such.According to author Ian McDowell, a third anthology was planned back in 1991. However, bad luck led to it going "through many permutations and publishers over the years. I've been paid for my story by two different publishers and I've proofed two different sets of galleys." Cemetery Dance finally released it under the title Mondo Zombie in 2006.

Books of Blood

Books of Blood are a series of horror fiction collections written by the British author Clive Barker.

There are six books in total, each simply subtitled Volume 1 through to Volume 6, and were subsequently re-published in two omnibus editions containing three volumes each. Each volume contains four or five stories. The volume 1–3 omnibus was published with a foreword by Barker's fellow Liverpudlian horror writer Ramsey Campbell.

They were published between 1984 and 1985. With the publication of the first volume, Barker became an overnight sensation and was hailed by Stephen King as "the future of horror". The book won both the British and World Fantasy Awards.

Although undoubtedly horror stories, like most of Barker's work they mix fantasy themes in as well. The unrelentingly bleak tales invariably take place in a contemporary setting, usually featuring everyday people who become embroiled in terrifying or mysterious events. Barker has stated in Faces of Fear that an inspiration for the Books of Blood was when he read Dark Forces in the early 1980s and realised that a horror story collection need not have any narrow themes, consistent tone or restrictions. The stories could range from the humorous to the truly horrific.

For some editions, each book's cover was illustrated by Clive Barker himself.

Eighteen of the stories in the Books of Blood were adapted by Eclipse Books in the comic series Tapping the Vein as well as other titled adaptations.

Several of the stories have been adapted into films, "Rawhead Rex" (1986); "The Forbidden" (filmed in 1992 as Candyman); "The Last Illusion" (filmed in 1995 as Lord of Illusions); "The Body Politic" (filmed in 1997 as Quicksilver Highway); "The Midnight Meat Train" (2008); "The Book of Blood" and "On Jerusalem Street (a postscript)" (combined and filmed in 2008 as Book of Blood), and "Dread" (2009). "The Yattering and Jack" was adapted by Barker himself in 1986 for the US series Tales from the Darkside.

Clive Barker

Clive Barker (born 5 October 1952) is an English writer, film director, and visual artist. Barker came to prominence in the mid-1980s with a series of short stories, the Books of Blood, which established him as a leading horror writer. He has since written many novels and other works, and his fiction has been adapted into films, notably the Hellraiser and Candyman series. He was also the executive producer of the film Gods and Monsters.

Barker's paintings and illustrations have been featured in galleries in the United States as well as within his own books. He has created original characters and series for comic books, and some of his more popular horror stories have been adapted to comics.

David J. Schow

David J. Schow (born July 13, 1955) is an American author of horror novels, short stories, and screenplays.

His credits include films such as The Crow and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. Most of Schow's work falls into the subgenre splatterpunk, a term he is sometimes credited with coining. In the 1990s, Schow wrote Raving & Drooling, a regular column for Fangoria magazine. All 41 installments were collected in the book Wild Hairs (2000), winning the International Horror Guild's award for best non-fiction in 2001.

In 1987, Schow's novella Pamela's Get was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for best long fiction. His short story Red Light won the 1987 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction. And in 2015, The Outer Limits at 50 won the Rondo Award for Book of the Year in a tie with The Creature Chronicles by Tom Weaver, of which Schow was a contributor.As an editor, Schow's work includes three volumes of writings by Robert Bloch and a book of short stories by John Farris.

Schow has also been a past contributor to liner notes for cult film distributors Grindhouse Releasing/Box Office Spectaculars, notably on the North American DVD release of Italian filmmaker Lucio Fulci's horror film, Cat in the Brain. He has also written text supplements for the DVDs of Reservoir Dogs and From Hell, and has done DVD commentaries for The Dirty Dozen, The Green Mile, Incubus, Thriller and Creature from the Black Lagoon. An upcoming Blu Ray and DVD edition of season one of The Outer Limits features commentary by Schow on several episodes as well as a booklet essay written by him.

Edward Bryant

Edward Winslow Bryant Jr. (August 27, 1945 – February 10, 2017) was an American science fiction and horror writer sometimes associated with the Dangerous Visions series of anthologies that bolstered The New Wave. At the time of his death, he resided in North Denver.

Exquisite Corpse (novel)

Exquisite Corpse is a horror novel by American writer Poppy Z. Brite. The protagonist of the story is Andrew Compton, an English convicted homosexual serial killer, cannibal and necrophiliac. Brite has described it as "a necrophilic, cannibalistic, serial killer love story that explores the seamy politics of victimhood and disease."

Jack Ketchum

Dallas William Mayr (November 10, 1946 – January 24, 2018), better known by his pen name Jack Ketchum, was an American horror fiction author. He was the recipient of four Bram Stoker Awards and three further nominations. His novels included Off Season, Offspring, and Red, which were adapted to film. In 2011, Ketchum received the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award for outstanding contribution to the horror genre.

Joe R. Lansdale

Joe Richard Lansdale (born October 28, 1951) is an American writer, author, martial arts expert, and martial arts instructor.

John Shirley

John Shirley (born 10 February 1953) is an American writer, primarily of fantasy, science fiction,dark street fiction, and songwriting. He has also written one historical novel, a western about Wyatt Earp, Wyatt in Wichita, and one non-fiction book, Gurdjieff: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas. Shirley has written novels, short stories, TV scripts and screenplays--including The Crow and has published over 40 books and 8 short-story collections. As a musician, Shirley has fronted his own bands and written lyrics for Blue Öyster Cult and others. An extensive compilation of songs by John Shirley, "Broken Mirror Glass" was released by Black October Records. His most recent album is "Spaceship Landing in a Cemetery", a collaboration with prog rocker Jerry King, aided by a host of musicians. He has written about spirituality for Parabola Magazine and Quest Magazine.

John Skipp

John Skipp is a splatterpunk horror and fantasy author and anthology editor, as well as a songwriter, screenwriter, film director, and film producer. He collaborated with Craig Spector on multiple novels, and has also collaborated with Marc Levinthal and Cody Goodfellow. He worked as editor-in-chief of both Fungasm Press and Ravenous Shadows.

Skipp has also been a past contributor to liner notes for cult film distributors Grindhouse Releasing/Box Office Spectaculars on the North American Blu-ray/DVD release of An American Hippie in Israel.

Kathe Koja

Kathe Koja (born 1960) is an American writer. She was initially known for her intense speculative fiction for adults, but has written young adult novels, the historical fiction Under the Poppy trilogy, and a fictional biography of Christopher Marlowe.Koja is also a prolific author of short stories, including many in collaboration with Barry N. Malzberg. Koja has also collaborated with Carter Scholz. Most of her short fiction remains uncollected. Koja's novels and short stories frequently concern characters who have been in some way marginalized by society, often focusing on the transcendence and/or disintegration which proceeds from this social isolation (as in The Cipher, Bad Brains, "Teratisms," The Blue Mirror, etc.). Koja won the Bram Stoker Award and the Locus Award for her first novel The Cipher, and a Deathrealm Award for Strange Angels. Her prose has been described as "stunning".Koja was born in Detroit, Michigan, the second of two sisters. She began writing when very young, but only became serious about it after attending a Clarion workshop.Koja lives near Detroit, Michigan, and is married to the illustrator Rick Lieder, who often does her book jackets. They have one son.Koja's literary works have been recognized and highlighted at Michigan State University in their Michigan Writers Series.Koja is founding director of nerve, a Detroit-based immersive theatre company.

Koja is a Democrat.Koja is a supporter of Mercy for Animals, PETA, and the Michigan Anti-Cruelty society

Michael Boatman

Michael Patrick Boatman (born October 25, 1964) is an American actor and writer. He is known for his roles as New York City mayoral aide Carter Heywood in the ABC sitcom Spin City, as U.S. Army Specialist Samuel Beckett in the ABC drama series China Beach, as 101st Airborne soldier Motown in the Vietnam War movie Hamburger Hill, and as sports agent Stanley Babson in the HBO sitcom Arli$$.


Paracinema is an academic term to refer to a wide variety of film genres out of the mainstream, bearing the same relationship to 'legitimate' film as paraliterature like comic books and pulp fiction bears to literature. Sconce describes this as 'an extremely elastic textual category'.

In addition to art film, horror, and science fiction films, "paracinema" catalogues "include entries from such seemingly disparate genres" as badfilm, splatterpunk, mondo films, sword-and-sandal epics, Elvis flicks, government hygiene films, Japanese monster movies, beach party musicals, and "just about every other historical manifestation of exploitation cinema from juvenile delinquency documentaries to ... pornography (Sconce, 372).

The term "paracinema" is also used in the context of avant-garde or experimental film studies to denote works identified by their makers as films but that lack one or more material/mechanical elements of the film medium. Such works began to appear in the 1960s in the wake of Conceptual art's rejection of standard artistic media like painting and embrace of much more ephemeral, transient materials and forms (including concepts themselves, independent of realization in any concrete material form). In exploring the fundamental nature and purpose of their medium, experimental filmmakers in the 1960s and 1970s began to question the necessity of film technology for the creation of cinema, and began making works without film that were nonetheless still considered part of the avant-garde film tradition.

Such works include Ken Jacobs's "Nervous System" works and live shadowplays, the latter made with no film, camera, or projectors, only shadows cast by flickering lights onto a screen. Anthony McCall's "solid light" films, such as Line Describing a Cone (1973) and Long Film for Ambient Light (1975), are other examples; Long Film for Ambient Light, despite its title, employed no film at all. It consisted simply of an empty artists' space lit over a 24-hour period by sunlight during the day and electric light at night. Tony Conrad's Yellow Movies (1972–1975), rectangular pieces of paper coated with house paint and allowed to turn yellow from exposure over many years, are yet another example of film makers' investigation of the fundamental properties and effects of cinema outside the physical boundaries of the film medium. In many cases, "paracinematic" works came out of a sense among radical filmmakers that the film medium posed overly restrictive and unnecessary constraints (e.g. material and economic limitations) on their search for new kinds of cinematic experience. "Cinema", in this context, is understood as a much more varied art form than among most other kinds of filmmakers, who assume that "film" cannot be disconnected from the film medium.

Rex Miller

Rex Miller Spangberg (April 25, 1939 – May 21, 2004) was an American novelist. He wrote a series of novels detailing the investigations of Jack Eichord, a fictional homicide detective who specialized in tracking down serial killers. Slob, the first novel in the series, introduced the character of Daniel Bunkowski, a half-ton killing-machine. In 1987, Miller was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel for writing Slob.

Miller resurrected Daniel Bunkowski for three novels, Chaingang, Savant, and Butcher, that take place outside of the continuity of the Eichord series. Miller also wrote Profane Men, a novel set during the Vietnam War, in addition to the limited-edition novel St. Louis Blues.

Miller was also a popular disc jockey in the 1960s, and was considered an expert in the field of juvenile-related collectibles, particularly old time radio premiums.

Miller died in Sikeston, Missouri, on May 21, 2004 at the age of 65.

Richard Christian Matheson

Richard Christian Matheson (born October 14, 1953) is an American writer of horror fiction and screenplays. He is the author of over 100 short stories of psychological horror and magic realism which are gathered in over 150 major anthologies and in his critically hailed hardcover short story collections Scars and Other Distinguishing Marks, Amazon #1 bestseller Dystopia and Zoopraxis. He is the author of the suspense novel Created By and Hollywood novella of magic realism The Ritual of Illusion, and was the editor of the commemorative book Stephen King's Emmy Winning BATTLEGROUND Matheson also adapted the short story which was made into an iconic episode of the TNT

series "Nightmares & Dreamscapes" and won two Emmys.

He wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for Three O'Clock High, Full Eclipse, It Takes Two, Loose Cannons Shifter, Midvale The Nature of Evil(co-written with his father Richard Matheson, Paradise, It Waits, Happy Face Killer, Voices of Midway, "Red Sleep", "Hooky", Dean Koontz's Soul Survivor as a 4-hour mini series, three Masters of Horror episodes, Stephen King's Big Driver, and 'NIGHTMARE CINEMA". He wrote for Amazing Stories, the miniseries Nightmares & Dreamscapes and adapted as four-hour miniseries HG Well's "THE TIME MACHINE", Roger Zelazny's "The Chronicles of Amber" and Whitley Strieber's "Majestic". Matheson also wrote

twenty comedy and drama pilots for major studios and networks. He co-created, co-executive produced and co-wrote all thirteen episodes of the highly-rated HBO/Cinemax half-hour comedy series CHEMISTRY. He has been executive story consultant, supervising producer and executive producer for network television series. He is also the co-executive producer of the films Cub, It Waits, Paradise, Full Eclipse and Big Driver.

Richard Laymon

Richard Carl Laymon (January 14, 1947 – February 14, 2001) was an American author of suspense and horror fiction, particularly within the splatterpunk subgenre.

Roberta Lannes

Roberta Lannes (born December 1948) is an American writer of literary, mystery and horror fiction as well as articles, essays, reviews and poetry.

Lannes was born in Los Angeles, California where her father did financial management for small production companies formed by actors in the entertainment industry. Her early horror fiction often explored family relationships and abuse, and its frequently graphic nature led to Lannes's early involvement in the Splatterpunk movement. Her story "Goodbye Dark Love" is considered a classic in the genre, and her work also paved the way for later female writers of horror fiction. Her later work tends toward the mysterious and the psychological.

Lannes has published more than fifty short stories, often in anthologies edited by British editor Stephen Jones. Her stories have been reprinted in both Year's Best Horror and Fantasy, edited by Ellen Datlow, and Best New Horror, edited by Jones. An up-to-date listing can be found on her official website (see below). South African filmmaker Ian Kerkhof used Lannes's work (as well as that of J.G. Ballard, Henry Rollins, and Charles Manson) in his 1994 movie Ten Monologues From the Lives of Serial Killers.

In 1995, Silver Salamander Press released her first collection, The Mirror of Night. She has also contributed non-fiction essays to such books as Another 100 Best Horror Novels, edited by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman, and she appeared in the 1996 Horror Writers Calendar”.

She is also an accomplished digital artist and photographer who has exhibited in galleries and designed iPhone App splash screens, CD covers for independent and alternative record labels, calendars and greeting cards. Her photography has been published in various magazines, most lately Issue 22 of "JPG Magazine".

Roberta taught secondary school journalism, English, photography, fine and digital art in the William S. Hart Union High School District from 1972 to 2009. Now retired, she is at work on numerous writing projects, graphic design and illustration.

She currently resides in Southern California with her British husband Mark Sealey, a journalist, poet, music critic, and retired senior software engineer for the Getty Museum.

The Cellar (novel)

The Cellar is a 1980 horror novel by American author Richard Laymon. It was Laymon's first published novel, and together with sequels The Beast House, The Midnight Tour, and the novella Friday Night in Beast House, forms the series known by fans of Laymon as "The Beast House Chronicles." The Cellar is an example of a splatterpunk novel, containing lots of extreme violence, gore, and adult themes including rape, incest, paedophilia, and serial murder. Laymon is often associated with this genre.

Weird West

Weird West is a subgenre that combines elements of the Western with another genre, usually horror, occult, fantasy, or science fiction.

DC's Weird Western Tales appeared in the early 1970s and the weird Western was further popularized by Joe R. Lansdale who is perhaps best known for his tales of the 'weird west,' a genre mixing splatterpunk with alternate history Western.

Examples of these cross-genres include Deadlands (Western/horror), The Wild Wild West and its later film adaptation (Western/steampunk), Jonah Hex (Western/supernatural), BraveStarr (Western/science fiction), The Goodbye Family (Western/macabre comedy), and many others.

Derivative genres

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