Splatterpunk—a term coined in 1986 by David J. Schow at the Twelfth World Fantasy Convention in Providence, Rhode Island—refers to a movement within horror fiction distinguished by its graphic, often gory, depiction of violence and "hyperintensive horror with no limits." It is regarded as a revolt against the "traditional, meekly suggestive horror story". Splatterpunk has been defined as a "literary genre characterised by graphically described scenes of an extremely gory nature."
Splatterpunk provoked considerable controversy among horror writers. Robert Bloch criticised the movement, stating "there is a distinction to be made between that which inspires terror and that which inspires nausea". William F. Nolan and Charles L. Grant also censured the movement. However, critics R.S. Hadji and Philip Nutman praised the movement, the latter stating splatterpunk was a "survivalist" literature that "reflects the moral chaos of our times".
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prominence in the 1980s and 1990s, and, as a movement, attracted a cult following, the term "splatterpunk" has since been replaced by other synonymous terms for the genre. 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 was stating that interest in splatterpunk was declining, noting such interest "seemed to have reached a peak" in the mid-1990s. The term is still sometimes used for horror with a strong gruesome element, such as Philip Nutman's novel Cities of Night.
Writers known for writing in this genre include Clive Barker, Poppy Z. Brite, Jack Ketchum, Joe R. Lansdale, Richard Laymon, Richard Christian Matheson, Robert McCammon, David J. Schow (described as "the father of splatterpunk" by Richard Christian Matheson), John Skipp, Craig Spector, Edward Lee, Michael Boatman and A. M. Homes. Some commentators also regard Kathe Koja as a splatterpunk writer.
- "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.
- Carroll, David (1995). "Splatterpunk". Tabula Rasa #6. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
- 000407 - Splatterpunk
- "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. ).
- Tucker, Ken (1991-03-24). "The Splatterpunk Trend, And Welcome to It". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- Warren Clements, "A quick course in Euro-surgery". The Globe and Mail September 28, 1996.
- Robert A. Collins, Robert Latham, Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review Annual Meckler, 1989 ISBN 0887363695. (p.99)
- Paul Bail, John Saul: A Critical Companion Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996 ISBN 0313295751 (p. 26).
- 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
- Remy, J.E. (2007-07-24). "Types of Horror/All Sorts of Punk". Die Wachen. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
- Jane Sullivan, "Schlock Horror". Sunday Age July, 19th, 1998, (p. 15).
- Publisher's Weekly's review described Cities of Night as "seasoned with a dash of splatterpunk". Publishers' Weekly, May 22, 2010.
- Splatterpunks II: Over the Edge by Paul M Sammon