Carlton Mellick III is the author of Satan Burger, Cannibals of Candyland, Zombies and Shit, Armadillo Fists, The Haunted Vagina and many others. He is one of the leading practitioners of the bizarro fiction genre and can speak 23 fake languages. Please visit Carlton Mellick’s website.
What first attracted you to horror writing?
I would call myself more of a horror junkie than a horror writer. I’ve been obsessed with horror since seeing Evil Dead in the fifth grade. I made backyard horror movies with my friends. And had a large collection of books by horror authors (my favourites: McCammon, Barker, Koja, Skipp & Spectre, Lansdale, King). But once I started writing I preferred work on the stranger more humorous side. I write bizarro fiction, which is more about the weird and absurd elements than the horrific ones. But as a horror fan, I can’t help but sneak horror elements into everything I write. A lot of it is dark and gory. If the bizarro genre didn’t exist my work would probably be labelled ‘horror comedy’. There’s always at least a touch of horror and humour in everything I write.
Not sure. I like Armadillo Fists best at the moment. But Satan Burger launched my career, Haunted Vagina is the best-selling, and Warrior Wolf Women of the Wasteland won the Wonderland Book Award.
For horror readers, though, I’d say Apeshit is the most notable. It is the one that attracted the horror audience to my work for the first time. This book is basically just dumb fun, I’ll admit. It was a parody of the Friday the 13th/cabin in the woods/slasher B-movies. Basically, what sets it apart is its characters. While they start out as the typical 2-dimensional jock/cheerleader slasher victims, you slowly learn that they are all far more disturbed than mutant freak killer outside. It’s gory and funny and over the top. I’d say fans of Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste would like it best.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing a novel called Tumor Fruit, which is kind of like a bizarro island survival story. Think of the television series Lost but a lot darker and stranger, with more focus on survival in a very harsh and unfamiliar terrain. The title is in reference to the flower-shaped tumor-like moles that cover one character’s body. With no other food source on the island, they are forced to eat the fast-growing tumors in order to survive.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
Kathe Koja was probably the most influential horror writer early on. Her strange style-driven punk horror novels were like nothing I’d ever seen before. She doesn’t write horror anymore and her older books are hard to find, but she’ll always be a hero to me.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
I’m not picky. I just like good writing. Though what attracts me as a reader and writer would be weird concepts, oddball characters, intense plotting, a lot of humour, and overall just a fun story that doesn’t take itself too seriously (even if it’s damn smart). I’d say gore over psychological chills. I’m not all about the gore, but I’m not interested in anything that shies away from it.
Some people read my work because they’re looking for something different, some read it for a little campy pulp trash between heavy reads, some people like it for the over-the-top (almost comical) sex and violence. But I hope people would read them for the ideas and characters. I try to make my books as imaginative and unique as possible.
Recommend a book.
Night of the Assholes by Kevin L. Donihe. It’s a direct parody of Night of the Living Dead, but instead of a plague of zombies spreading across the countryside it’s a horde of rude annoying condescending pricks. A very funny satire.
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