Splatterpunk is an often forgotten subgenre of horror fiction, but it’s starting to make a comeback in recent years. It is a subgenre that deals with graphic and extreme violence, often with a nihilistic tone.
There have been many Splatterpunk authors over the years, so if you’re looking at getting started or want to try out a different genre. Here are 10 Splatterpunk books to get you started:
The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum
This book is the perfect example of the genre, with its unflinching portrayal of violence and depravity. But what sets it apart is how it explores these horrors’ psychological and emotional impact.
The story is about a young girl who is tortured by neighbourhood kids. The Girl Next Door is a challenging and unsettling read. If you are looking to get into Splatterpunk, check out this classic.
The Rising by Brian Keene
If you are looking for a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies, Brian Keene could be what you are looking for. This gripping novel follows a father named Jim Thurmond as he travels across a zombie-infected wasteland to find his son. It’s one of the best-selling zombie novels of all time, making it a great place to start.
The Woods Are Dark by Richard Laymon
If you are looking for a book filled with creatures, college kids and California, The Woods Are Dark by Richard Laymon is definitely worth checking out. The book is gruesome and unsettling, leaving you on the edge of your seat. It’s not for the faint of heart, and the author even credited this book with destroying his publishing career.
The novel is about a group who are kidnapped, stripped of their belongings and left in the dark woods outside of a small town in California to be sacrificed to a group of creatures called the Krulls. This book will shock and horrify you.
Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica is one of the most recent releases on this list. Set in a world where a virus makes meat from animals no longer safe for consumption, to help with the lack of safe food options, the government legalizes cannibalism.
Through the book, we follow Marco Tejo, who works at a human processing plant, where human beings are raised for meat consumption. While this has a nihilistic worldview with graphic violence and extreme gore, there is also an interesting social critique of factory farming and the commodification of human bodies. If you’re looking for a great example of how splatterpunk can be used to critique society, this is a book worth reading.
The Cipher by Kathe Koja
This amazing horror novel tells the story of two people who find their lives filled with terror when they discover a hole in their apartment building. Soon they find themselves becoming obsessed with this mysterious hole. The Cipher is an unsettling and gripping novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat and keeps you guessing.
The Happy Man by Eric C Higgs
An insight into the 1980’s consumerist lifestyle, The Happy Man by Eric C Higgs, gives you an in-depth look at the American Dream of the 1980’s. We follow Charles Ripley, who has it all. He has a good job as an engineer, a pretty wife and an expensive house in the suburbs.
However, when his neighbour Ruskin Marsh moves in next door, a man who seemingly has more, Charles realises how utterly passionless his life is and finds himself drawn to his new neighbour. This nightmarish understanding of the American Dream is perfect if you are looking to dip your toes into the Splatterpunk genre.
The Summer I Died by Ryan C. Thomas
A tense read that echos The Girl Next Door comes The Summer I Died, a story about two friends captured by a psycho in the woods and tortured. Dubbed one of the most intense horror novels ever written, The Summer I Died is the first book in the Roger Huntington Saga.
A gripping, horrific and emotional novel of two friends trying to survive a sadistic killer, it’s safe to say this book isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you are willing to brave these pages, give it a go.
The Damnation Game by Clive Barker
Clive Barker has many different novels that you can use to start your Splatterpunk journey. The Hellbound Heart, The Books of Blood Series, and even Abarat. However, The Damnation Game will draw you into its world.
The story follows Marty Strauss, a gambling addict who was recently released from prison. He can’t believe his luck when one of the wealthiest men in the world, Joseph Whitehead, hires him as a personal bodyguard. The job looks easy at first, but soon after Marty realises that his employer made a Faustian deal with a supernatural entity.
Now he has to play the game to survive. Being one of Barker’s first novels, reviewers praise it as one of the most literate and disturbing novels ever.
Psychic Teenage Bloodbath by Carl John Lee
If you are looking for a more modern splatterpunk read, but want something with the feel of the 80’s, Carl John Lee has you covered. Psychic Teenage Bloodbath tells the story of Susan Ward, a teenager placed in a coma after an accident.
However, the coma means she can’t sleep, move or even close her eyes. A year in a coma has driven Susan Ward utterly insane. In her madness, she unlocks a deadly power from her hospital bed and decides it’s time to get her revenge.
Psychic Teenage Bloodbath is a nostalgic trip down memory lane for horror fans of the era. This book is perfect for anyone who loves horror movies of the early to mid-80s.
Anti-Social Housing by Tim Mendees
Anti-social Housing starts with a man being melted and sucked into his kitchen sink in a council estate in Devon. A plumber and two police officers were called to the scene. One to deal with whatever is backing up the plumbing, and the other to deal with the noise complaint. Unfortunately, they become trapped in the building and must try their best to survive whatever is going on.
A hilarious splatterpunk creature feature, this book has a lot of wit, a fast-paced plot and an ending that you will not see coming.
Each of these books offers a unique take on the splatterpunk genre, from extreme violence to supernatural horror to the creature feature. Have you read any splatterpunk books before? Feel like we’re missing a must-read? Let us know in the comments below!