Dreadpunk is devoted to the horror and mystery of a bygone age, as well as newer works that continue those traditions. It’s the “costume drama” of the macabre, if you will.
I coined the term “dreadpunk” in early 2015. At the time, there appeared to be a resurgence of interest in the Gothic; most notably, Penny Dreadful was on Showtime and Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak was scheduled for release later that year.
I’ve noticed that horror fandom tends to gravitate towards two poles — classic and modern. That’s a generalization, of course, as many fans like both styles. But if you look at conventions, websites, and magazines, the axis is usually tilted one way or the other.
Roughly speaking, I tend to use George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead as the dividing line between “classic” and “modern” horror. A lot of horror prior to Romero’s film drew directly from Gothic literature and classic monsters. Post-NOTLD, horror became increasingly visceral, modern, and closer to home.
What can get a little lost in the shuffle are the Gothic works that have emerged since the advent of the Living Dead. A lot of the newer Gothic media was too traditional for the new breed of horror enthusiast, while not being traditional enough for the older fans.
As someone who came of age during the late ’80’s/early ’90’s, though, I loved stuff like Coppola’s Dracula and even Branagh’s Frankenstein. This was also the era of Barry Sonnenfeld’s Addams Family movies and Tim Burton at his best; while these films often used contemporary settings, they still showed unmistakable Gothic influences. Later on, I was one of about five people who loved the Wolfman remake.
It’s not that I think that people have forgotten these things, but they rarely have sustained fanbases. Tim Burton is an obvious exception, but the majority of his work exists on the periphery of horror. Vampires may be perennially popular, but they are routinely updated to reflect the changing times.
Which leads me back to dreadpunk. I created the term as a bit of a goof, to help spotlight modern (and modern-ish) expressions of Gothic horror and unite fans. I figured that eventually, some jerk was going to take the things I liked and slap “punk” on them. I figured, I can be that jerk. “Gothic-Punk” was trademarked by White Wolf back in the ’90’s, so that was out. I liked “shudderpunk” until people thought I was saying “shutter-punk.” Eventually I settled on “dreadpunk,” and we were off to the races.
While this site focuses primarily on horror, I have recently developed an interest in Victorian/Edwardian mysteries and even some true crime as well. So whether you see dreadpunk as the name of this website, the fandom, or you just love this material, I hope you enjoy my writings.
Derek “The Dreadpope” Tatum