Where are the metasatirical horror novels?
November 30, 2012 3:44 AM   Subscribe

I've been tasked to find metasatirical horror novels: horror novels (or short stories, I suppose) that explore, criticize and parody their own genre tropes. What are the prose equivalents of The Cabin in the Woods and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon?
posted by Faint of Butt to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Adam Roberts' I Am Scrooge is a parody of the horror/classic novel mashup (e.g., Pride and Prejudice and Zombies).

If you want to go back really, really far, Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, William Beckford's Modern Novel Writing, and Eaton Stannard Barrett's The Heroine are all send-ups of late 18th/early 19th c. Gothic. (They're all in print.)
posted by thomas j wise at 4:59 AM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

John Dies at the End
posted by Oktober at 5:20 AM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Laundry series by Charlie Stross fits the bill, as does "Monster" and "Gil's All Fright Diner" by A. Lee Martinez.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:46 AM on November 30, 2012

I'd say a pretty fair amount of Joe R. Lansdale's shorter works do this to one extent or another. (For example, the novella that Bubba Ho-Tep was based on.)

Christopher Moore's novels are openly comic, with not much in the way of actual horror or suspense, but he's clearly well versed in horror and SF tropes.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:57 AM on November 30, 2012

Stephen Graham Jones's The Last Final Girl is exactly the sort of thing you're looking for.
posted by fryman at 6:02 AM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

American Psycho
posted by mkultra at 7:18 AM on November 30, 2012

Would Word Processor of the Gods by Stephen King fit this? He tends to get a bit meta in an authorly viewpoint/tools sort of way in some of his short stories and that's the first one that comes to mind. I guess what I'm saying is that its not completely uncommon for his characters to verbalize/internalize thoughs like,

"This is like a horror short story. If I was a in a story like this the next thing that would happen would be a crash at the front door. *pause* *crash* THIS IS CRAZY!!"

Umney's Last Case might be a fit as well.

SK also makes a guest showing, as himself, in one of the Dark Tower books. In a sense he, the person, Stephen King in our world, here, not a "I'm going to write about a character named Stephen King who isn't really me", is the deus ex machina for that story to a certain degree in a way I hadn't seen elsewhere.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:31 AM on November 30, 2012

"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" is Tom Stoppard's excellent inversion of "Hamlet" in which the two minor characters experience the passage of time in between scenes of Hamlet, or witness its events from locations that're traditionally offstage. Furthermore, they become a second play within the play, or maybe they're the play without the play. R&G are also vaguely aware that they don't exist in a normal universe but seem to exist in relation to others, and that their lives are weirdly episodic in nature for reasons not quite clear. When they work out that fact, though, that's when the pirates attack. (They sailed to England with Prince Hamlet, you may recall.)

And as for the horror, well, Hamlet is a supernatural story featuring a dead king giving advice to his son and unveiling the plot of his own murder by his brother. Characters drop dead throughout as two crazy people (one of whom is only pretending) slay various characters by accident or intentionally or by mistaken identity...Everybody dies at the end except the man who lives to tell the tale. Rather formulaic, really.
posted by Sunburnt at 7:56 AM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Most of Kim Newman's work does this. The Anno Dracula series is a good place to start but also check out his short stories like 'Famous Monsters' which is about a stranded alien from War Of The Worlds that ends up working in Hollywood.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:47 AM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Demon Theory, also by Stephen Graham Jones.
posted by jlibera at 10:28 AM on November 30, 2012

I am partial to Fat White Vampire Blues by Andrew Fox, which parodies both Anne Rice's vampire novels and A Confederacy of Dunces.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:08 AM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing Kim Newman's entire body of work.
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on November 30, 2012

Steve Aylett's Bigot Hall is an absolutely delightful example of this. It's basically The Addams Family by way of Mark Leyner.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:56 PM on November 30, 2012

House of Leaves
posted by empath at 3:36 PM on November 30, 2012

HP Lovecraft's The Unnamable.
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

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