A Book that Changed My Life - 9 muses photo
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I found this book when I was 11 years old looking through the "Horror" section of the local bookstore. I had already been tearing through R.L. Stine's children and young adult collections for about 4 years and was in the middle of a Stephen King novel at the time. The book stuck out on the shelves, with it's silver cover and neon orange splatters. I picked it up and the title was so amazing and provocative to me, "Splatterpunks: Extreme Horror". I could still remember how enchanted I felt reading the reviews and synopsis written on the back. Words like "explicit", "gory", "repulse" made my brain tingle and made me feel nervous. I was able to purchase the book with my mother's blessing. She really had no clue what she was buying for me, but honestly neither did I. I just knew that the King novel I was forcing myself to finish wasn't enough and was boring me to tears. "Splatterpunks" was going to be my "fun" reading while I tried to finish my other, slower novel.

I opened the book as soon as I sat down in the car. I flipped open to the dedication page, and it simply read, "To bad taste". As I read the introduction I found that "Splatterpunk" was more than just a title, it was a sub genre of horror that was coined in 1986. The movement consisted of writers that had a "there are no limits" attitude and dared to push (if not completely crumble and wipe their asses with) the envelope while bestselling novelists were playing it "safe". This was a book of short stories collected from the works of already established writers. These tales were penned too explicit for their regular work or mainstream horror and were pushed aside until Paul Sammon put together this anthology dedicated to the bastard children of horror.

The first story was only 17 pages long and I had already felt disturbed. After each vignette, I started to notice that this wasn't just about just about shock and disgust for the sake of shock and disgust. Every feature exposed a taboo and displayed it in a way for me to question everything about my morals and sexuality. Morals and sexuality that, at that point, were not of my own but more a stew of my surroundings that I never really felt a connection to. I just knew that when I found that book, everything clicked. I didn't feel so awkward or guilty of my thoughts anymore. I felt like I was all of a sudden able to navigate around the world better having read it. I loved the challenge of having to tough through graphic sections that made me feel new levels of uncomfortable, and also dealing with my reactions that came along with it (as a Catholic-raised, awkward pre-teen).

"Splatterpunks" isn't for everyone. I am pretty sure I have never recommended it to anyone. I don't care if you like it, I don't care if you ever read it or even look it up. All I know is that this book served as a catalyst for all the filth and unapologetic aesthetics that I hold dear to my being. "To bad taste" now and forever!