splatterpunk n. 1

a subgenre of horror fiction characterized by the frequent and graphic description of grisly violence, bloody deaths, and extreme sexual situations; (in later use also) a similar genre of movies, video games, etc.

[apparently coined by the horror writer David J. Schow during the Twelfth World Fantasy Convention held in Providence, Rhode Island in 1986]


SF Criticism



  • 1987 D. W. Taylor in Horrorstruck Sept.—Oct. 5/1

    Student reaction was as varied as our story types. Some reveled in rock horror and splatter-punk, finding the quiet literary horror tale boring.

  • 1988 Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone Magazine Oct. 29/1

    As a style, Splatterpunk is often gross, usually extreme, and always visceral.

  • 1988 Nova Express Summer 18/2

    The second attribute found in a typical splatterpunk story is the use of grotesque and extremely imaginative images, images that are both fascinating and repulsive at the same time.

  • 1988 Nova Express Summer 18/1

    The second splatterpunk progenitor was the novel Vampire Junction, written by science fiction writer Somtow Sucharitkul under the pseudonym S. P. Somtow.

  • 1992 Locus June 26/3

    What she does do is devote chapters to…satanism…, Robert Bloch, splatterpunk, and Stephen King.

  • 1993 SFRA Rev. Jan. 97

    Frightening with the same flair as Block/Hitchcock’s Psycho, and without the disgusting splatterpunk horror twists so common.

  • 1994 Interzone Jan. 62/3

    What it most definitely is not is of the splatterpunk school of blood'n'guts'n’sex'n'drugs'n'rock'n'roll which in the late 80s clawed its way to the centre of attention in the horror genre.

  • 1997 Interzone May 59/2

    The grand old days of all-encompassing sf have now given way to an even greater degree of specialization than could have been dreamed of when the New Worlds crew were deemed to be new wave : now we have cyberpunk, splatterpunk, hard sf, space opera, space fantasy…and so on.

  • 2001 Locus June 70/3

    Even with more than a reasonable quota of graphic violence and kinky sex, it can’t be dismissed as simply a chunk of splatterpunk arrived late on the scene.

Research requirements

antedating 1987

Earliest cite

D.W. Taylor in Horrorstruck

Research History
Lawrence Person submitted a 1988 cite from his own article in Nova Express. This article itself cites three other critical articles on Splatterpunk, but not in sufficient detail to fully identify the relevant sources. The article references the October 1988 issue of Twilight Zone magazine, the premier issue of Midnight Graffiti, and an unspecified issue of Penthouse. Jeff Prucher located and submitted the cite from Twilight Zone, which was from Philip Nutman's "Inside the New Horror". Lawrence Person identified the Penthouse issue as Sept. 1988.

Jeff Prucher submitted a 1987 cite from an article by D.W. Taylor in "Horrorstruck".

Added to the OED in March 2002. Earliest cite in the OED: 1988.

Last modified 2021-09-21 13:41:13
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.