John Skipp and Craig Spector stormed the horror fiction field in 1986 with this paperback original about vampires in the New York subway system, The Light at the End. "Unique, funky, masterful," states the back cover, always the place to go for truth in advertising, "It's a guitar riff fingered by Satan, bizarre graffiti splashed in blood." Uh, what? This is the kind of novel that wants to impress you with its attitude, casual and swaggering, and it might work if you were a teenager (like me) when you first read it.
But it's still kind of a fast fun read today, even if it tries too hard to be cool with lots of smart-ass, ironic knowing humor, its bike-messenger protagonist and tough cops and gothy streetwise ladies - so, maybe Taxi Driver meets Quicksilver meets The Craft meets Fright Night (woah, S&S wrote the novelization for that)? Yeah, cool. Silvery-red cover with graffiti-style font, but who's that vampire dude think he is? Dean Stockwell?!
Skipp and Spector put out a handful of pretty cool collaborations and edited the essential zombie anthology Book of the Dead in 1989 before splitting up to pursue solo projects. They spear-headed that whole splatterpunk movement which ruled horror for a red-hot minute (the "splat pack"), pissed off the old guard like Robert Bloch and Charles L. Grant, and then disappeared for quite a few years (although I'd swear someone like Chuck Palahnuik owes a debt to it, and definitely Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho). I've still got a fondness for these guys, obviously, so more on 'em is coming, particularly Book of the Dead and its sequel, 1992's Still Dead. Irony-free, I promise.
House of 1000 Corpses
1 hour ago