In my late teens that only books I would read were from the horror section, much like the only music I would listen to was heavy metal. One friend introduced me to the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, and another friend introduced me to the band Half Man Half Biscuit. Within a few years I was reading and listening to a wide spectrum of books and music.
This got me think about how authors become pigeon-holed in a specific genre, and that many authors definitely don’t stick with that initial genre. Dean Koontz has written many out and out horror books, for example Phantoms or Watchers, but he’s also written some out and out thrillers, for example Dark Rivers of the Heart or the Jane Hawk Series.
Continuing my thought process, what actually is ‘horror’? At the classic level you might suggest good old fashioned monsters, with Vampires and Werewolves. What about Cujo? One of Stephen King’s early novels with a large rabid dog. There isn’t anything supernatural. It is just a large dog that’s gone crazy. I would still suggest that the book would be classed as ‘horror’. I stopped reading Patricia Cornwell mostly because how horrible the situations her main character would find herself in. The books might be thriller or crime thriller, but they were had far more ‘horror’ than many horror books out there. See also books by Tess Gerritsen, specifically The Surgeon.
Richard Laymon is always classed as a horror writer, even though it is very rare for anything in his books to be supernatural. I would class him in the Splatterpunk genre, along with Shaun Hutson, although some of Shaun’s books have plenty of supernatural elements. What is Splatterpunk? I watched one of the Hostel films and again one of the Saw films. I didn’t particularly enjoy them and haven’t watched any of the many many sequels. These type of films have been dubbed Torture Porn, which is fairly apt and possibly a way to describe Splatterpunk. However, not all Splatterpunk books are the same. I will read reviews and if the book is simply trying to be as gross and nasty as possible with very little reason or plot, I will give it a pass.
One final thought. Do you buy or read books solely based on Genre? I definitely look at the list of books in the Post Apocalypse and Dystopian genres, but I don’t for Horror or Splatterpunk.
I think what I’m trying to say, is that the boundaries between genres is very fluid, with plenty of crossover, and that I don’t believe in sticking to one genre, as anyone who has read some of my book reviews can attest.